Upside Down is a film that should be rewarded. In an era of remakes, sequels and superheroes... originality needs to be heralded. And for two-thirds of the film, it is as wildly fresh as we've seen. But, our Upside Down review has to state that by the third act, the movie starts to break its own rules.
Teased in the Upside Down trailer, Kirsten Dunst and Jim Sturgess play star-crossed lovers named Adam and Eden. If there's any hint of the biblical story that those two names evoke, it is not by accident.
As writer-director Juan Solanas establishes with Sturgess' voice-over at the beginning of the film, these two planets grew together out of the Big Bang, literally Upside Down from one another. Where they may share atmosphere, their gravitational pull is completely opposite. Also, one became prosperous (Dunst's) and the other toils in poverty (Sturgess').
Adam and Eden meet one fateful day when both are tweens. Adam has scaled his planet’s highest peak and Eden has done the same. They greet each other, merely feet away, and instantly forge a connection. It is a relationship that will grow romantic, until the two are found out. See, contact between the worlds is forbidden.
Years pass and each has forged their own lives on their respective worlds. Adam thought Eden had perished when they were discovered, so when he sees her on TV… he gets the idea to somehow find a way to enter her world to reclaim the love he lost.
Solanas has crafted a universe that is unlike any previously seen onscreen, which he previews in the Upside Down poster. It is a wildly romantic story melded within a science fiction framework. Visually, it is stunning and the two leads give the performances of their lives. The writer-director has also established strict rules about his world(s) and how gravity plays its part in each. In order to visit Dunst’s world, Sturgess must weigh himself down. The only thing, after a certain amount of time, the weights he has start to burn and alas, so does he.
The issue with Upside Down is that once it gets to the final 30 minutes, it abandons all the rules it has set for itself. It’s kind of a hard fact to ignore and because of that, the film falls apart in its final moments. It is an utter shame, because Upside Down is one of those Inception-type films that could have had its audience dissecting the movie for months to come.
Instead, it is just a letdown as the viewer careens towards the film’s conclusion. It is a movie worth seeing, maybe not on the big screen, although it should have been. If you as a viewer appreciate a film that pushes boundaries and takes chances, Upside Down should be experienced. Just be forewarned that it does not conclude as strongly as it starts.