Reviewed: Primer [2004]

12A – 77mins – Drama/Thriller/Sci-Fi – 19th August 2005

Well I would be lying if I said that my brain didn’t hurt slightly after watching this as it’s definitely a bit of a thinker with quite a bit of technical ‘mumbo-jumbo’ that needs to be listened to in order to find the story behind it. I think it could quite nicely summed up by the fact that if you noted and listened to every detail they mention then you could be quite confident in knocking up your own version of the machine that they end up creating. So if possible try not to overthink this one too much and instead just let the story take you on its journey.

Primer is about 4 engineers who like to spend their time inventing things in their garage alongside their current jobs of building error checking devices. They soon discover that there is more to their latest invention than they first thought and go about trying to find a way to use it to its maximum potential. However while trying to achieve this, they end up creating more problems than they can possible hope to solve.

You are never directly told at any point what the overall picture is and are left to put the pieces of the jigsaw plot together yourself. Instead of glossing over the complexities as other movies might do to make it easier for the audience, it tackles them head on in a way that creates a challenging film but that is refreshing to see at a time when films are being dumbed down to appeal to a wider audience.

This is Shane Carruth’s only journey into the film making world thus far and much can be said about the $7,000 film that went onto win the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 2004. Sure there are some production issues and it could have been executed and written in a better fashion but these flaws are what make it different and in my eyes better than some of its counterparts.

At a whopping 77 minutes long it’s not going to hurt to take the time out and enjoy this quite intriguing little movie. Just remember that it’s most definitely going to require a thinking cap and probably a second and third viewing as well for those who really want to get to the bottom of it all.

Rating: 7.6/10

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