All you need is love, according to
This new movie — like its heroine, a little foggy in the noggin — is very sweet and all, but Argentina-born writer-director Juan Solanas works from an idea perfect for a short film, along the lines of his 17-minute 2003 attention-getter "The Man Without a Head." (It's good, and it's on YouTube.)
Thing is, "Upside Down" is not a short. It's a feature-length science-fiction romance, otherwise known as "a long."
Life in "Upside Down" is a matter of simple division and opposing gravitational forces. The young man Adam, played by
You know kids: They're curious, or if they're not, then they're spending far too much time with an
In the down-below world, as Sturgess patiently lays out in explanatory, I'll-try-to-make-this-clear voice-over at the beginning of "Upside Down," "it's possible to fall up and rise down." Once Adam becomes a drone at TransWorld, he befriends his cubicle neighbor to the north, a company man played with an amiable growl by
Is the film something to look at? Yes. "Upside Down" is something to look at. But that's not enough for a full-length, full-bodied, romance. The rules of physics on Solanas' worlds keep fishtailing around, so that you don't quite know what you're watching or how the gravity thing works. Despite the actors' open-hearted sincerity, it's hard to care. The concept of the "Metropolis"-style caste system, with haves and have-nots brutally segregated, is crudely drawn, though some individual images (an upside-down moonlight cocktail, for example) are charming.
Without a strong narrative engine, "Upside Down" ends up exactly where it shouldn't go: sideways.