Upstream Color Reviews

Top Critic
Wesley Morris
Grantland
January 3, 2014
What the movie points to is worth following until you're left with an enormous map that you spend the rest of the drive trying to refold.
Top Critic
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
December 17, 2013
Carruth's visual approach, saved from abstraction by his own rapid, forward-leaping editing, is extremely assured. Seimetz is a fine and expressively haunted actress. I look forward to the enigmas in Carruth's next picture.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Melissa Maerz
Entertainment Weekly
December 17, 2013
If the movie is a bit of a mystery, so is Carruth.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Top Critic
Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post
December 17, 2013
Should you see Upstream Color? A better question may be: How many times should you see it?
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Trevor Johnston
Time Out
August 27, 2013
The most visually imaginative American film since David Lynch's Eraserhead.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
May 9, 2013
A cerebral, mournful mystery that resonates like a tuning fork struck on a far-off star.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Tirdad Derakhshani
Philadelphia Inquirer
May 3, 2013
It presents us with a glimpse of the vastness of existence, of our inner nature, and of nature without that is as equally dreadful, enveloping, and terrifying as it is beautiful.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
April 26, 2013
"Upstream Color" is splendid, transcendent weirdness.
Full Review | Original Score: A
Top Critic
Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
April 25, 2013
I loved it.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
Top Critic
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
April 19, 2013
Sci-fi might have been too familiar a word, for what may induce a kind of hallucinatory melancholy in its viewers.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
John Anderson
Newsday
April 18, 2013
Elliptical and utterly fascinating adventure in cinema, one that defies simple explanations, but worms its way into the brain.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Cary Darling
Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com
April 18, 2013
Taken as a whole, it's an impressive piece of filmmaking that shows Carruth's talents as director, actor, cinematographer and composer.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Ian Buckwalter
The Atlantic
April 12, 2013
Carruth may be something that the movies haven't yet seen, perhaps the first great realization of the democratization of filmmaking that digital technology and the Internet promised.
Full Review | Original Score: 9/10
Top Critic
Geoff Pevere
Globe and Mail
April 12, 2013
Upstream Color is a deliberate exercise in swooning obscurity. You either go with its considerable sensory powers or you scratch a groove on your head.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
April 11, 2013
Being completely understood at first glance is not on creator Shane Carruth's agenda, but while this may sound upsetting, it turns out to be quite the opposite.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Jeff Shannon
Seattle Times
April 11, 2013
Visually and sonically hypnotic, it's an intensely sensory blend of internal monologue and unsettling mystery, draped over a thin skeleton of plot approached so obliquely that it seems almost inconsequential.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
April 11, 2013
No one else today approaches the genre in quite this way; the only precedent I can think of is Nicolas Roeg's The Man Who Fell to Earth.
Top Critic
Peter Keough
Boston Globe
April 11, 2013
While I feel compelled to see it again, I don't have high hopes that it will make any more sense.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
April 11, 2013
Meanings are multiple, debatable and ultimately pointless. What really impresses about Upstream Color is Carruth's confident navigation of this fast river of ideas ...
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Farran Smith Nehme
New York Post
April 5, 2013
This enigma-delivery system from a sharp mind has enthralling moments but becomes a bit enervating in its self-seriousness. By the end, the whole thing feels more academic than mind-bending.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
April 5, 2013
"Upstream Color" lacks both a clear point and, more crucially, a point of view.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
April 4, 2013
What I discern here is the work of a unique visual stylist and collage artist who's creating obsessive-compulsive allegorical puzzles, whose underlying philosophy is deliberately unclear.
Top Critic
Manohla Dargis
New York Times
April 4, 2013
A deeply sincere, elliptical movie about being and nature, men and women, self and other, worms and pigs ...
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
April 4, 2013
"Upstream Color" is weird, but it's worth the time.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Scott Tobias
AV Club
April 4, 2013
Upstream Color is one of the greatest realizations of the digital dream, which was supposed to allow filmmakers to express a full, idiosyncratic vision from outside the system.
Full Review | Original Score: A
Top Critic
Simon Abrams
Chicago Sun-Times
April 4, 2013
A romance, a thriller, and a science-fiction drama, "Upstream Color" tantalizes viewers with an open-ended narrative about overcoming personal loss.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out
April 3, 2013
No one is going to explain any of this for you-and the slightly snobby implication of Upstream Color is that explanations are for suckers.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Stephanie Zacharek
Village Voice
April 3, 2013
It's a bloodless movie, and its ideas aren't as tricky or complex as Carruth's arch, mannered approach might suggest.
Top Critic
Christy Lemire
Associated Press
April 1, 2013
The artistry on display is indisputable, and thrilling.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Richard Brody
New Yorker
April 1, 2013
A vision as vast and as natural as it is reflexively cinematic and fiercely compassionate.
Top Critic
David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
April 1, 2013
I've seen Upstream Color twice and liked it enormously while never being certain of anything.
Top Critic
Michael Nordine
L.A. Weekly
February 26, 2013
One eventually grows so weary of discerning the signal from the noise that it all blurs together.
Top Critic
William Goss
Film.com
January 28, 2013
A relatively straightforward story steeped in abstract concepts upon which Carruth hangs themes of love, hope, fear, fate, free will, memory, identity, creativity, spirituality, the control of nature and the nature of control like so many paper chains.
Top Critic
Justin Chang
Variety
January 22, 2013
Upstream Color is a stimulating and hypnotic piece of experimental filmmaking.
Top Critic
Todd McCarthy
Hollywood Reporter
January 21, 2013
A dramatically obscure, technically brilliant experiment in speculative fiction from Shane Carruth.