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Shane Carruth, 2013
With his second feature, Shane Carruth has managed to free himself from the constraints of conventional narrative storytelling – unfortunately he has freed himself from coherence and emotional engagement as well.
Upstream Colour adopts a jagged experimental mode to deliver dreamlike fragments of random episodes including a woman’s infestation by a parasitic worm, the subsequent burglary of her apartment, a sound collector’s attempts at rearing pigs and a psychologically unsettled woman’s love affair with a disgraced stock trader.
Often adopting a video art aesthetic, some of it is visually striking but too often it lapses into visual cliché – underwater swimming, hands being run over surfaces, papers fluttering in the air. It is all very calculated, remote and po-faced, with none of the absurdist chutzpah of David Lynch.