PRIMER (2004) – HAPPY NEW YEAR and yes, I’m just childish enough to pat myself on the back for that play on words in the title of this blog post. With that out of the way I know I’m late to the game when it comes to Primer but my own skepticism about it made me keep it on the back burner in terms of priority movies to watch.
Since New Year’s Eve into the New Year is the closest any of us ever get to time travel I figured today was the perfect time to review this controversial film. Primer was made for just $7,000 (really) by Shane Carruth, who starred, wrote, directed, edited, arranged the music and pretty much did everything but wash the cars of his collaborators.
The film’s 2:1 film ratio has become legendary and decisively proved the benefits of having your cast repeatedly rehearse scenes before letting the cameras roll. Film stock ain’t cheap and anything an independent producer can do to save on it is pure gold.
Shane Carruth stars as Aaron and David Sullivan portrays Abe. The pair are engineers who – on the side – run a tech business out of Aaron’s garage. As a side effect of a project they are working on the two discover a means of time travel.
Don’t roll your eyes and assume that Primer is just another use of this well-worn concept. I made that mistake and put off watching this excellent and thought-provoking movie for far too long.
You can ignore reviews which claim the opening half of this 77 minute film is boring. Literally even the most casual exchanges of dialogue have bearing on the overall story. It’s not really a spoiler at this late date to point out that the very beginning of the film is NOT the “first run” of the events in the storyline, as a viewer discovers later. Continue reading