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Pick of the week: The year’s most divisive wannabe cult hit

It’s definitely possible that Shane Carruth’s slo-mo science fiction allegory “Upstream Color” is total hokum, and there’s no doubt that many viewers will experience it that way. My own feeling after one viewing of this disorienting and fragmented fable of thwarted love and obscure interconnection, which caused a sensation at the Sundance and Berlin festivals, is divided and perhaps paradoxical. I was immediately drawn in by the mysterious, meticulous world of vision, sound and sensation Carruth creates, with its blown-out digital color scheme and intimate focus, which simultaneously seems to be contemporary America and also an alien zone of disconnection and isolation. Yet I emerged from that hypnotic dream state, 90 or so minutes later, feeling as if the story Carruth tells in that magical space doesn’t quite carry the transcendent resonance he intends.

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