Gravity is something that is needed for life on Earth. It holds us down and keeps everything normal enough for someone to not worry about us floating away. What if gravity was in reverse? Instead of falling down, we fell up. Instead of walking on a floor, we would walk on a ceiling. The film, Upside Down, is a romantic drama that uses this idea as a backdrop for a unique science fiction world. A creative film, it contains some great visuals, a solid story, and good performances from all the actors.
Upside Down tells the story of two worlds, with two different gravitational pulls. It is explained by the main character, Adam Kirk, played by Jim Sturgess, that there are three major rules to the gravity: 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), and, after some time in contact, matter in contact with inverse matter burns.
In this setting, one of the worlds is called Up and the other is Down. The Up world is upper class and Down is lower class. It is stated by Adam that it is forbidden to go from one world to the other. Adam lives in Down with little to no family, until he meets Eden Hope, played by Kirsten Dunst, who is from the Up world. Eden and Adam fall in love as teenagers and spend all their time together until an accident leaves Eden severely injured. Ten years later, Adam sees her on a television set and tries to set up to venture to the Up world. Simultaneously, he is working at the big corporation which separates the two worlds, called TransWorld.
Unknown to Adam, Eden has amnesia from the injury and does not remember him. It is up to Adam to find a way to make things work and to deal with the changes around him.
The visuals of Upside Down are astounding. It is very CGI-heavy, but never looks distracting to the audience. Much of the cityscapes or other advanced areas of the film are in the background enough so as not to seem over the top. They are just enough for people to enjoy the work put into them. There is also a lot of great elaboration on what this gravity does in everyday life. The way Adam and Eden meet at first, they have to use ropes and other basic machines just to see each other. In another scene, when Adam is meeting with this boss at TransWorld, he has to use this strange high tech machine in order to be eye level with him. It is interesting to see how well the film uses this world’s forms of gravity.
Jim Sturgess and Kirsten Dunst have great chemistry together as Adam and Eden. Sturgess plays Adam as an awkward, yet always kind, person who always has his heart in the right place. Dunst’s Eden is more confident. The two contrasting personalities play off of each other well. The romance aspect between the two is not beaten over the audiences’ heads, as the two seem more like a real couple.
The film has a lot going for it, but it does have its flaws. The villains, which are just corporate suits and law enforcers, are cliche and not developed well. Because the focus is not on them, those characters could be taken out of the film and it would not change too much. They seem unimportant when compared to the other major characters. There is also some not so subtle social commentary, with the citizens of Up constantly berating the people of Down as “ugly” and “lower class” when compared to them. This is something that has been seen more than enough times in other films, television shows and documentaries. It is nothing new and the film reminds the viewers of it too much. Those aspects of the film are the complete opposite of the creative premise.
Upside Down is one of the more creative romantic films in recent memory. The premise and visuals alone will keep the audience interested and will have them asking “How did they do that?” throughout the film. The romance aspect is great for anyone looking for a decent romantic film this month. Upside Down is worth checking out for all kinds of reasons.