Shane Caruth wrote, directed and acted in his debut movie Primer, which is quite an intriguing film. Upstream Color is his second movie, nine years later, which he again wrote, directed and stars in.
The first hour or so the movie goes down various tracks whilst nothing is obvious, nothing is explained, and not a lot is clear as to what is going on and why. This initially makes for an interesting and somewhat suspenseful enigma: it keeps you trying to figure out how things connect and where this might lead.
But it is a slow watch, with uninspired cinematography and a soundtrack which gets increasingly annoying. So after an hour or so you are ready for a tip of the veil of vaguery to be lifted and for an indication that things will start making some sense soon. But if anything it then goes in the opposite direction.
In the end it feels like a collection of semi-connected scenes that provide puzzle pieces, but at best solving the puzzle results in 1+1=2 -definitely not to any grand insights- and at worst it just falls apart altogether into an abstract mess without any conclusion. Some people will say that’s the point. But by the end the annoying soundtrack just makes you want the pretentiousness to end.
Not an enjoyable movie, and very disappointing after Primer.