So far we’ve seen two teaser trailers for Shane Carruth’s Upstream Color, the long-awaited follow-up to his mind-bending 2004 time travel film, Primer, and we still have no idea what the hell the movie is all about. I regret to inform you that, after watching this new theatrical trailer, you still won’t know what the hell is going on. On the up side, few trailers in recent memory have made me want to watch a movie more.
Following the same path as the first two trailers, this longer look is moody, beautiful, and more than a little frustrating. Seriously, I have no clue what Upstream Color is about other than there are two people who appear to be some sort of couple, and a bunch of pigs running around. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to find out, because I like everything I see, it’s stunning.
The story may be reserved, some might even call it subdued, but the threat of violence lingers in nearly every frame of this video. When you see those pigs run down the stainless-steel chute, you know their short, simple lives will end soon, and brutally. There’s that quick glimpse of a gun that only lasts a few frames, the male lead has obviously been hit in the face recently, and, taken on its own, the tone is enough to clue you in that something sinister is afoot. Is there maybe a cult involved in this story somehow? At least aesthetically and tonally, this is reminiscent Sound of My Voice.
Here’s all the concrete knowledge that we have of Upstream Color, via the official, and very brief, summary:
A man and woman are drawn together, entangled in the life cycle of an ageless organism. Identity becomes an illusion as they struggle to assemble the loose fragments of wrecked lives.
The line, “You can force your story’s shape but the color will always bloom,” from the trailer, seems to offer a hint, but it’s a vague, confusing hint that doesn’t really do anything but tease us. You can’t help but think this movie is going to make many of us feel stupid.
Upstream Color premieres this week at Sundance. The rest of us will have to wait until April for Carruth to confuse us. Check out the website to see where and when the film is playing.