Shane Carruth is an idiosyncratic of a transit level that only a few directors, producers and writers reach only in the entirety of their lives. Shane Carruth is that director, producer and writer who has breached the threshold and asserted his differentiated right in the world of Cinema. There was no stopping ex-software-engineer after his first production, Primer, won accolades at the international level. Upstream Color is his successive hit.
Upstream Color draws its cinematic flavor from the likes of Terrence Malick and David Lynch. The quality of film-making resonates with Malick’s style of unconventionality, but resembles more with David Lynch’s surrealism infused with reality.
The movie requires skills as receptive as a synapse-spark to understand the plot in its essence. Amy Seimetz’s abducted by a “Thief” who implants her a bioengineered worm that conforms her to trance-induced state of being. Seimetz is explored in a world of hypnosis that renders her incapable of sense, touch and feel for she is soon associated with a resuscitating pig and mysteriously shares attributes experienced by the pig. At a particular juncture, Amy contributes to an intimate relationship with a trader, played by Shane Carruth, who shares her inexplicable paranoia.
What soon follows, with the progression of the “worm-pig-orchid life cycle”, is the generation of a new parasite from each different stage. As the “Thief” looks to gaining benefits, he inflicts Amy with stage I, i.e. brainwashing with worms. Enter stage II, when Andrew Sensenig reproduces worms of same characteristics, taking them from the victims and ingesting them into their corresponding pigs. This signifies the link between the victim and the pig, leading to “sampling” of experiences. The third and the final, stage III, follows up on the pigs which leaches out fresh worms and creates blue orchids.
As their affinity blooms, both Amy and the trader(Carruth) speak of similar muddy details and present each other with a story that matches. The romantic subplot soon combines with the elliptical horror of the movie as voodoo-effect to respective human-pig pairings prompts them to delineate the details. The movie ends with Carruth cradling a newborn pig, an epitome of how sequences are utilitarian than perfect.