Thursday, January 28, 2010

Primer (2004)


While trying to develop an invention for making items weigh less, Abe (David Sullivan) and Aaron (Shane Carruth) accidentally create an invention that allows for them to travel back in time... but with that comes some rules.

There's a handful of movies out there that come with the distinctive knowledge throughout that once the credits role you're going to have little, to no, idea of what just happened. These select films are the kind that truly gain cult followings as people watch them over and over again, carefully dissecting them, trying to figure out what all really happened. Primer is one of those movies.

Intriguing, and yet carefully planned out, with much open to interpretation, it's easy to see why Primer has gained the loyal legion of fans it has. Of course with that comes the obvious trouble of watching it for the very first time: I often felt confused. Primer is not a movie that spends time laying out everything for its viewer. We hear what is going on as the main cast members are experiencing, and interacting with them. The actors don't waste time spelling out all the technical talk, and therefore as a viewer you're basically just a student, attempting to understand all the information being thrown at you.

As a first time writer/director/actor, Carruth shows a solid realm of narrative knowledge, but has a bit of the Robert Altman conversational pieces going on, and when it comes to a film this technical that can be a pain. It's never bad though. Obviously low budget, Primer manages to avoid many problems that plague low budget films by keeping things simple. The actors are never asked to go outside their comfort zone, there's no big budget effects, it's just a straight forward style that let's it roll out. So if you're the type who enjoys getting caught up in the dissection and understanding of a movie, Primer is definitely a film for you.

A captivating, but difficult to understand on first viewing, film, it's no wonder Primer has developed such a loyal following over the years.

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