Monday, 11 February 2013

'Upside Down' Film Review

'Upside Down' is set is a fascinating alternate universe, in a Solar system where two planets co-orbit the sun with dual gravity, connected in the middle by a tower called Transworld, inside which workers from both planets co-exist, but outside of it, contact is prohibited. 

An economic divide separates the two planets: one called 'the above', a wealthy utopia, feasting on the work of the below, corrupting the resources from the other planet, whilst the other is called 'the below', a dark and grim world of labour and poverty.

Orphan Adam (Jim Sturgess) from below meets Eden (Kirsten Dunst) from above, at the top of the mountains and the two instantly fall in love. But when an incident supposedly takes Eden away from Adam, he resigns to black market work, hating on the people who took everything from him.

Ten years later, he sees Eden on TV and against all odds, fights to be with the girl he loves, but with everything and everyone trying to pull them apart, can Adam defy gravity?

The premise to this movie is phenomal- a unique and original setting in which to play out a simple love story. The first thing to notice is the beauty of the world that is created. The colours and brightness of the above compared to the darkness of the below, setting a strong and poignant background and culture to the plot.

The Romeo and Juliet story arc plays out nicely- lovers torn apart not only by status, but by gravity itself. 

'Upside Down' was setup to be the perfect romantic thriller, but fell from the sheer perfection that it could've been... so what went wrong?

Ignoring the physical flaws of the gravitational system, the movie borrows themes from other romantic dramas, which works to its advantage and the audience i hooked, but introduces too much whilst not fulfilling enough.

At the core of the movie is the romance between Adam and Eden, but we spend more time on Adam's anti-sag cream than we do on the pair romantically. By the time the two finally reunite, it is already half way through the film, and knowing all the rules and laws of their culture, we expect them to have to fight to be together. Not the case.

The movie could've brilliantly taken the turn of a thriller where the two go on the run, escaping authority, exploring their gravitational differences etc etc... or even of adventure/heist where they are separated even further and he has to fight extra hard, combat obstacles, people, things to reach her... again, not the case.

Adam sneaks in and out of the above a few times, escapes a few times... has one dramatic sequence and that was pretty much it. 

With already such an original setting, the writers seemed to have forgotten the basics of film-making and we are owed a climax altogether. The film ended on such a whim that it felt incomplete and shockingly lacklustre.  The resolve was a complete cop-out and it just left so much to be desired, leaving the audience gob-smacked and disappointed.

That said, there was still a lot to love. Firstly, there were definitely some iconic romance scenes which were beautifully shot and wonderfully executed. The whole idea of opposing worlds is again, stunning. The little bits of action that were there were slick and stylish, especially the one where Adam falls from one sea into another. Had the plot had more spunk, more action, more romance and 80% less uplift cream, it could've been a sci-fi romance hit.

Jim Sturgess- Adam
Kirsten Dunst- Eden

Also stars Timothy Spall, Neil Napier and Frank M. Ahearn.

Jim Sturgess is definitely growing on me as an actor, and here he exudes a romantic quality. The chemistry between him and Kirsten Dunst is believable, with the at times awkwardness working in the pair's favour. Dunst has always been a sweetheart ever since her appearance in the Spider Man series as Mary Jane- if only she was given more room to shine in this movie- a bit more action and less falling.

'Romeo and Juliet' meets 'Inception' could've been the tag-line to this movie. The phenomenal sci-fi world and the simple romance story was completely let down by the lacklustre plot, non-existent climax and a cop-out ending. 

Sturgess and Dunst are well cast but let down slightly by the occasional poor script. I would recommend this movie as it is an interesting premise and it is exploding with potential, but ultimately fails to reach it.


  1. Interesting. I love the premise of this film, but it sounds like there's a lot they could have worked on.

    Thanks for the review!

  2. I have to agree with the review. I saw the film and as creatively set and beautifully shot as it was, even though it was generally enjoyable, I also feel that more could have been done with it...


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