Fashion photographer Patrick (Kentucker Audley) tells his friends/colleagues Sam (AJ Bowen) and Jake (Joe Swanberg), correspondents for media giant Vice, about the strange letter he receives from his estranged sister Caroline (Amy Seimetz) and it sets in motion events that will change the lives of all of them. The trio decide her story, and the story of the “sober commune” she is living at, would be a great subject for a documentary. Patrick reunites with his serene, former wild child, sister while Sam and Jake investigate why members of the isolated community have followed their mysterious leader known simply as “Father” off American soil. Extremely skeptical at first, the guys slowly come around to the at least respect group’s utopian claims, until the cracks below the surface reveal a different picture all together.
As we have come to expect from Ti West, The Sacrament starts off with a fiercely methodical pace, building his characters and setting before adding in the many layers of creeping dread. The film kicks into gear, and does not let up until the end, with the first introduction of Father (a brilliantly menacing Gene Jones). Jones dominates the screen from the first second he appears, His Father is consciously measuring every twitch and calculating every body movement as the answers he gives and speeches he delivers are all meant to dissuade any truth while enamoring himself to his flock. The interview between the journalist and Father, which occurs live in front of the whole commune, is just another exercise of control and power for Father as he keeps his entire flock in the palm of his hand. The script and dialogue are extremely well written with Father’s double talk and rhetoric, making the insane actions of the third act feel believable. (more…)
Patrick (Kentucker Audley) is a fashion photographer. When his colleagues Sam (AJ Bowen) and Jake (Joe Swanberg), correspondents for Vice magazine, catch wind of a letter he received from his estranged sister Caroline (Amy Seimetz), they decide her story would be a great subject for a documentary. Caroline is living in what she refers to as a “sober” commune at an unnamed location outside the United States. While Patrick reunites with his sister, Sam and Jake investigate why members of the isolated community have followed a mysterious leader they call “Father” off American soil. Understandably skeptical at first, the guys slowly come around to the group’s utopian claims, until the cracks below the surface start to emerge.
Indie darling filmmaker Shane Carruth finally delivers his long awaited follow up to 2004’s surprise hit “Primer”, as the film starts an exclusive run at the Tiff Bell Lightbox April 12, Upstream Color. Upstream is a bolder and larger in scope. A more diverse effort from Carruth that will challenge even the most patient audience with its abstract metaphors and nonlinear story telling that is never broken down and explained for the viewer. This is the type of film that will have audiences in discussion for hours and days after, and will either be loved or vilified in the process.
Written and Directed by Shane Carruth