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“Upside Down” Review: Should’ve Been Right-Side Up

Wesley Emblidge

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"Upside Down"

Remember that scene from “Inception,” where Leonardo DiCaprio is in a dream and Paris starts folding in on itself, until there’s a city upside down above the city he’s in? Well, that lasted for only a few seconds in “Inception,” but writer/director Juan Solanas has essentially taken that scene and expanded it with “Upside Down,” a very ambitious but ultimately really silly and confusing sci-fi film.

Adam (Jim Sturgess) lives on one of two planets which are only a few miles apart from each other and are bridged together by office buildings, oil drills and power lines. Adam lives on the “below” planet, which already doesn’t make much sense. Adam quickly explains the two scientific laws of the opposing planets; you’re controlled by the gravity of the planet you come from, you can switch to the gravity of the other planet by wearing material from the other world, however, if you wear it for too long the object will, for no apparent reason, burst into flames. It makes about as much sense as it sounds. The “top” world is more wealthy for some reason, and the bottom is much more working class (oooh, parallels to real issues!).

So as a result, it’s illegal to go in between worlds. One day Adam, while on top of a really tall mountain, meets Eden (Kirsten Dunst) who happens to also be on top of a really tall mountain that is by chance in the same place as Adam’s, but on the other planet. They fall in love and all that, but one day the police catch them together, and in the struggle Eden hits her head and loses her memory.

Ten years later, while he is working for a company that operates in both worlds, Adam finds out Eden is an executive for the company in the top world. Adam then attempts to sneak onto the other world and find his one true love, and from there it gets about as silly and nonsensical as it possibly could.

Not only do Sturgess and Dunst have zero chemistry, not only does their romance have nothing to back it up, and not only do the science fiction elements barely make any sense, but the film is also jam-packed with political or biblical allegories that director Solanas beats you over the head with until you pass out. I mean, the main characters are named Adam and Eden. Come on.

The visual style is also weird, everything looks a lot like a video game, with added lens flares and kind of distorted colors. It’s a challenge to figure out what look he’s even really going for in the first place. The movie tries to do so many things, but falls flat on its face with almost all of them. “Upside Down” is never really terrible and unpleasant, more of an ambitious, boring and uninvolving failure.

 

2/5 Stars

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