Shane Carruth’s films, shot on the cheap and abandoning all pretense of narrative structure, give fresh meaning to the word “mindf*ck.” Primer, his first, is a tale of time travel, hubris, and hoodies famously shot for only $7,000 and famously so goddamn confusing that fans have since made diagrams of its multiple timelines.
Somehow, his follow-up Upstream Color managed to be even more idiosyncratic and bewildering, following a pair of lovers, a farm of magical pigs, a mysterious parasite, Walden, some rare orchids… you know, just watch it, because the longer this sentence becomes, the more insane I feel. Both films starred Carruth himself and a series of relatively unknown actors, and were separated by almost nine years, probably because it took about nine years to explain his magical-pig premise to his actors.
At this point, the strangest thing Carruth could possibly do is make a movie before 2020 with a budget of more than $50,000 and starring actors who we recognize by name. So that’s exactly what he’s doing. According to IndieWire, his next project, The Modern Ocean, is a big-budget studio film that’s recently picked up the following stars: Anne Hathaway, Keanu Reeves, Daniel Radcliffe, Chloë Grace Moretz, Tom Holland, Asa Butterfield, Abraham Attah (of Beasts of No Nation), and Jeff Goldblum. Carruth, you never cease to surprise us.
The Modern Ocean is the first project that Carruth won’t have total control over — he’s written, directed, edited, composed, produced, and starred in both of his feature films and several shorts. So it makes sense that The Modern Ocean’s plot is also a first for Carruth, in that it’s not completely incoherent when written out in the English language. IndieWire reports that the film will “detail the competition for valuable shipping routes, the search for the hidden cache of priceless material and the powerful need for vengeance that will converge in a spectacular battle on the rolling decks of behemoth cargo ships.” How concrete! “This epic tale,” adds IndieWire, “will go from the ancient trading houses of Algeria to the darkest depths of the ocean floor, and into a secretive world filled with mysterious technologies and bitter rivalries.”
Ah, there we go — “a secretive world filled with mysterious technologies.” Get ready to do some diagramming, y’all.