Upside Down (film)
US release poster
|Directed by||Juan Diego Solanas|
|Produced by||Claude Léger
|Written by||Juan Diego Solanas|
|Music by||Benoît Charest|
|Editing by||Dominique Fortin
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. (France)
Samuel Goldwyn Films (uncredited)
Millennium Entertainment (US)
|Running time||107 minutes|
Upside Down is a 2012 French-Canadian romantic science fiction film written and directed by Juan Diego Solanas. Starring Jim Sturgess and Kirsten Dunst. The film was released on August 23, 2012 in Russia.
The film starts with Adam telling the story of his planet, unique from other planets as it is the only one that has dual gravity. Two planets exist next to another. The gravity of the planets have 3 rules:
- All matter is pulled by the gravity of the world that it comes from, and not the other.
- An object's weight can be offset by matter from the opposite world (inverse matter).
- After some time in contact, matter in contact with inverse matter burns.
The two worlds are separated. While the upper world (Up) is rich and prosperous, the lower (Down) is poor. Up buys cheap oil from Down and sells electricity back to Down at higher prices. Going Up or having contact with anyone from Up is strictly forbidden and can be punishable by incarceration or the death penalty. The only connection linking the two worlds is through the company "TransWorld", housed in a majestic building structure.
Adam lives in an orphanage in Down, having lost his parents in an oil refinery explosion. The only living relative he has is his great-aunt, whom he visits every week. His great-aunt has a secret recipe for flying pancakes using pollen from pink bees which gather pollen from both worlds. The recipe has passed through generations and will be inherited by Adam.
As a child, Adam secretly climbs a mountain that gets very close to Up. There he meets Eden, a girl from Up. Years later in their teens, they are in a relationship. They meet on the mountains and Adam uses a rope to pull Eden towards Down, and they head to the woods for a stroll. They are later discovered, and while Adam frantically releases Eden back to her world, he gets shot and drops her. Helpless, he watches Eden lying motionless on the ground as blood oozes from her head. When he returns home, his aunt is arrested and her home destroyed.
Ten years later, Adam is now working on creating an anti-gravity product using his great-aunt's recipe. The recipe allows matter to feel both gravitational fields at once. Adam is developing it as a cosmetic product for face-lifts. Then he sees Eden on TV and learns she is alive and works at TransWorld. He finally works out his formula and gets hired by TransWorld to develop the face-lift cream. Adam's plan is to find Eden in TransWorld. In his office he meets Bob, a TransWorld employee from Up becomes his friend after he helps him obtain rare stamps from Down. Bob offers to help him contact Eden.
With the help of Bob, Adam meets Eden by putting Up-material in his clothes to disguise himself as a worker from Up, using Bob's name as his own. But Eden doesn't recognize him, suffering from amnesia from the accident as a teen. The Up-material in Adam's clothes starts to burn so he has to return to Down. Later on, Bob is fired but as he leaves, he secretly gives Adam his ID to help him exit the TransWorld building and into Up. Later, by calling Eden through Bob's phone, Adam manages to get a date.
Meanwhile, his cosmetic cream becomes of great importance to the company. While Adam is doing a presentation of the cream, Eden sees him, shocked that he is from Down and learns his real name. Adam runs to find her but Bob's ID, having been terminated, lands him in trouble. He escapes to Bob's house. He shows him that by mixing the matter from both gravity areas can make matter that resists both gravitational fields and tells him he didn't give TransWorld the secret ingredient of his compound, leaving the company unable to produce the product without him.
With Bob's help, he goes back to the restaurant where he met with Eden before and finds out she started to remember him. But the cops come and he has to run. When he returns to his planet, he goes to the mountain top where he met Eden. Eden comes to find him and they meet as they used to. But cops find them again and, as they fail to escape, Eden is arrested while Adam drops. TransWorld agrees to drop the charges against Eden if Adam gives them his formula and never contacts Eden again.
Now Adam has gone back to his old life, believing he will never see Eden again. Eden goes to Bob for help. Bob finds Adam and surprises him by showing he can stay Down without the help of the weight supplements; Bob has been able to use Adam's methods to create a way to negate the effect of gravity. Bob tells him he had the patent of his beauty cream before TransWorld and tells him he has a date.
The film ends by Adam telling their act has changed their worlds forever, the two worlds now equalized in wealth and status.
The film will be distributed in France through the local branch of Warner Bros, while Samuel Goldwyn Films (uncredited) and Millennium Entertainment bought the North American and Lionsgate bought the United Kingdom distribution rights. The film was leaked as a torrent in December 12, 2012, causing the MPAA to start an internal investigation on its practices.
The film was released in a limited capacity (11 theaters initially) on March 15th, 2013 in the USA.
The French production company Studio 37 initially searched for an American co-producer, and received positive response from Hollywood representatives who read the screenplay. However, because of cultural differences, they decided to look for European partners instead, as they thought it would be essential for the project to be driven primarily by its director. The film was eventually produced by Studio 37, Onyx Films and the Montreal-based company Transfilm, for a budget of $50 million.
Variety reported from the Cannes Film Market in 2009 that Kirsten Dunst and Emile Hirsch were in talks to play the film's two leading roles. A few months later the same magazine reported that Jim Sturgess had been cast instead of Hirsch.
Principal photography started in Montreal in February 2010. Filming and post-production were located in Canada because of the country's low taxes for film productions. Producer Dimitri Rassam said: "We couldn't have made Upside Down without the French funding system but there was no way we could have shot [in France] because the tax rebate is not attractive enough."
As of mid May 2013, Upside Down received 29% positive reviews according to movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. The rating is as yet unofficial due to an insufficient quantity of reviews, though even the negative ones invariably mentioned the film's stunning visuals. The fault was generally found to lie with an incoherent storyline, cliched scriptwriting, and other acting issues.
Mick LaSalle was one of several reviewers who admired the film's "brilliant" and "imaginative basis" while feeling ultimately disappointed, saying its "rich and bizarre premise is supported by fully realized visuals that make the fantastic real... it's all very enjoyable." However, he wrote, "The only problem is that, after creating the most wonderful fantastic frame, Upside Down doesn't devise a picture worthy of it. The story is serviceable. It starts small, and it stays small, even though the circumstances surrounding the story seem to cry out for something bigger."
Wired called the film "an odd and ultimately flawed mix": "If only the story were as original, or as strong, as the film's topsy-turvy look. Unfortunately, Upside Down...invests almost all of its cinematic capital in gravity-defying eye candy." The Star-Ledger also had a mixed reaction, with its reviewer praising the "wonderful visual shock" and its "marvelous sense of space and style" and writing, "Solanas' idea is a pretty audacious one, visually. A political one too, as it turns out that for generations the upper world (think Northern Hemisphere) has been getting fat exploiting the resources of the lower one (think Southern Hemisphere)," but concluding that the film "doesn't really develop its story, or its themes."
Frank Scheck found the film confusing, saying, "You practically need an advanced degree in physics to fully comprehend the convoluted physical machinations depicted in Upside Down, Juan Solanas' dizzyingly loopy sci-fi romance. Depicting the Romeo and Juliet-style romance between lovers from twin planets with opposite gravitational pulls, this head-scratcher boasts visual imagination to spare even as its logistical complexities and heavy-handed symbolism ultimately prove off-putting."
See also 
- Keslassy, Elsa (2009-10-22). "Jim Sturgess joins 'Upside Down'". Variety. Retrieved 2010-12-15.
- "Upside Down". AlloCiné (in French). Tiger Global. Retrieved 2010-12-27.
- Dawtrey, Adam (2010-05-07). "Blockbusters on tap, European-style". Variety. Retrieved 2010-12-15.
- Keslassy, Elsa (2009-05-16). "Goodman eyes 'Cross' for Kinology". Variety. Retrieved 2010-12-15.
- Keslassy, Elsa (2010-12-04). "Location shoots flee France". Variety. Retrieved 2010-12-15.
- "Upside Down Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 17, 2013.
- LaSalle, Mick (March 14, 2013). "Upside Down review: Halfway There". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved March 15, 2013.
- Wallace, Lewis (March 15, 2013). "Review: Upside Down Soars Visually, But Lacks Gravity". Wired. Retrieved March 16, 2013.
- Whitty, Stephen (March 15, 2013). "Upside Down review: Weightless Sci-Fi". New Jersey On-Line. Retrieved March 15, 2013.
- Scheck, Frank (March 14, 2013). "'Upside Down' Review: Mostly Down". The Huffington Post. Retrieved March 16, 2013.