Upstream Color

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Shane Carruth’s second effort is light years away from pulling off the trick of his debut, Primer, which was both somewhat baffling but left you getting (and admiring) the gist. Even its studio-supplied description is a head-scratcher, referring to its main characters as being “entangled in the life cycle of an ageless organism.” The story involves a drug pusher/scammer called Thief (Thiago Martins), who kidnaps and dopes up Kris (Amy Seimetz), a put-together businesswoman. When the drug’s effects wear off, a pig farmer called the Sampler (Andrew Sensenig) removes the worms crawling under Kris’ skin, then puts the worms in his pigs. Kris wakes up in a car and loses her job, from now on living in a daze. She does manage to start dating Jeff (Carruth), but when he says he likes her, you have no clue why, because Kris is nothing but solemn and borderline mute. There’s very little dialogue in the film, and the action from one bizarre scene to the next doesn’t seem connected to anything: the pigs, collecting rocks from an indoor pool, arguing over whose memory is whose, and copying passages from Walden are involved. The gist? Elusive. (TO)