Trending
MOST READ
Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
Brendan Gleeson Carries Pitch-black ‘Calvary,’ Weighed Down by the Rest

Brendan Gleeson Carries Pitch-black ‘Calvary,’ Weighed Down by the Rest

Screens: Father James (Brendan Gleeson) sits in a confessional, waiting. An unseen man enters the box and says, “The first time I tasted semen, I was seven... By David Riedel 8/20/2014
15 Types of Commonly Encountered College Students

15 Types of Commonly Encountered College Students

College Issue 2014: Usually a freshman, this student tries to absorb everything the teacher says and immediately after class rushes to... By Alex Deleon 8/18/2014
Free Will Astrology

Free Will Astrology

Astrology: ARIES (March 21-April 19): An American named Kevin Shelley accomplished a feat worthy of inclusion in the... By Rob Brezsny 8/20/2014
What to Know Before You Go On A Cleanse

What to Know Before You Go On A Cleanse

Food & Drink: It’s been a year since I’ve taken up this gig of eating and drinking across San Antonio. Since then, no fewer than seven juice shops have opened in the area... By Jessica Elizarraras 8/20/2014
Calendar

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Screens & Tech

'Upside Down' defies its own physics

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo

Gravity sucks: Jim Sturgess and Kirsten Dunst in Upside Down


When I was a kid, I used to take my mom’s compact mirror and walk around the house staring down into it, pretending I was actually walking on the ceiling. I’m pretty sure a lot of kids do this, but as far as I know, Juan Solanas’ Upside Down marks the first attempt to adapt that game into a major motion picture. The results are pretty much the same — kind of interesting till you remember there’s way cooler stuff you could be doing.

Upside Down tells the story of Adam (Jim Sturgess) and Eden (Kirsten Dunst), two lovers screwed over by physics in “the only known solar system with double gravity.” That’s two planets sharing one atmosphere and opposing gravitational pulls — one man’s floor is another woman’s ceiling. All of this is explained in Adam’s voice-over narration, which also lays out many ground rules that might be worth reiterating here if they weren’t so quickly discarded, forgotten about, or openly violated without consequence whenever the hell any of the characters feel like it. Though the film’s introduction seems to set up a poorly constructed sci-fi thought experiment, Upside Down is actually a romantic fairytale — Cinderella with a quirky (and, to be fair, pretty cool looking) visual hook and 200 percent more deus ex machina.

Adam is a poor orphan boy from the rough streets of Down Below, where overworked oil field roughnecks die due to gross corporate negligence, and youths risk jail time to steal inverse matter from the rich folks up top (don’t ask; you don’t care) to keep their dilapidated family homes heated. His life is flipped all ass over tea kettle when he, for seemingly no good reason, climbs to the tip top of the tallest mountain he can find, and meets Eden, a right-side-up debutante who just so happens to also have climbed to the top of a super tall mountain on her world at the exact same time! It goes without saying that the two are forbidden by law from ever being in love with each other, but then, get this, they totally do fall in love anyways. Eventually Eden falls back to her world and hits her head on some rocks and Adam’s all like, “No!” And then he gets arrested and goes to prison for a while and he thinks Eden’s dead but then it turns out she’s not. Also, bees make magic pink pollen that can make things (pancakes, mostly) float, but only Adam knows about it.

Both Up There and Down Below are populated with the kind of stock characters who don’t even need names (Helpful Old Black Guy, Heartless Cigar-Chomping Bureaucrat), the kind of crap you should expect from a $100 million fairy tale about class conflict. After spending all of 15 minutes depicting a society where poverty is as difficult to overcome as gravity, Upside Down spends the rest of its runtime trivializing its protagonist’s struggles against both.

“What if love was stronger than gravity?” Adam ponders in the film’s opening moments, and if this kind of talk makes you feel all giddy inside (and you need a decent excuse to ask out Jenny from eighth grade math), then catch a matinee, so you have plenty of time to practice upside-down kissing till your parents pick you up. For the kind of cynical a-holes who go to movies expecting more than a dark place to feel each other up, however, the topsy-turvy thing might not be enough to distract from the film’s almost aggressive indifference to its own storyline. If you can’t decide whether the joys of watching some stuff be upside down while other stuff is right side up is worth watching a thoughtless, mediocre movie, let me save you $12.

[Read while standing on your head.]
ADAM: I’m totally not supposed to love you, but I do anyway! Gravity can suck it!
EDEN: I love you but then I forgot I love you, but now I remember I love you or something! All the blood is rushing to my head and I’m incredibly disoriented. (Passes out.)

 

Upside Down

Writ. and dir. Juan Solanas; feat. Jim Sturgess, Kirsten Dunst, Timothy Spall (PG-13)
Opening Friday at the Bijou.

Recently in Screens & Tech
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus