399 user 124 critic

Primer (2004)

PG-13 | | Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller | 27 May 2005 (Spain)
Four friends/fledgling entrepreneurs, knowing that there's something bigger and more innovative than the different error-checking devices they've built, wrestle over their new invention.



3,083 ( 301)

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3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Carrie Crawford ...
Jay Butler ...
Metalshop Worker
John Carruth ...
Man On Couch #1
Juan Tapia ...
Man On Couch #2
Ashley Warren ...
Rachel Granger
Chip Carruth ...
Thomas Granger
Delaney Price ...
Jack Pyland ...
Aaron's Co-worker
Keith Bradshaw ...
Ashok Upadhyaya ...
Laboratory Technician


Engineers Aaron, Abe, Robert and Phillip are working on an invention, the prototype being built in Aaron's garage. This project is beyond their day jobs. The project truly does belong to Aaron and Abe, as they use all their free time working on it, primarily trying to overcome the many engineering related problems they've encountered. It is during one of his tests with the invention running that Abe discovers that a protein inside the main unit has multiplied much more rapidly than it could in nature. Rather than the invention being a protein super incubator, Abe, using himself as a guinea pig, and a very meticulous one at that, discovers that the invention can be used as a time machine. In his self experiment, Abe was especially careful not to interfere with his own self in that time warp. Abe passes along this discovery to Aaron, who he expects will tell his wife Kara in what is the sanctity of their marriage, but he doesn't want to tell either Robert or Phillip. Much to Abe's ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


If you always want what you can't have, what do you want when you can have anything? See more »


Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for brief language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

27 May 2005 (Spain)  »

Also Known As:

Kapsül  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$7,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$28,162, 10 October 2004, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$424,760, 19 December 2004
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


In order to cut costs, Shane Carruth did mostly single takes of shots, and filmed on 16mm stock. This was then transferred to mini-digital video film which he could edit on his PC. This caused some unforeseen problems: the editing software couldn't handle the sound properly, and two months of editing were needed just to synchronize the audio to the video. The biggest problem, however, was the relative lack of footage, which made made it difficult to work around continuity errors and technical problems because there often wasn't an alternate take that could be used. See more »


When Abe and Aaron are in the walk-in freezer at the university laboratory, at the end of the scene, the knee of a crew member holding the microphone is visible when they walk out the door. See more »


[first lines]
Aaron: [Sound of a phone ringing. Aaron, voiceover:] Here's what's going to happen. I'm gonna read this, and you're gonna listen, and you're gonna stay on the line. And you're not gonna interrupt, and you're not gonna speak for any reason. Some of this you know. I'm gonna start at the top of the page.
Aaron: Meticulous, yes. Methodical, educated; they were these things. Nothing extreme. Like anyone, they varied. There were days of mistakes and laziness and in-fighting, and there were days,...
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Crazy Credits

Thanks to Scott Douglass for having the faith to invest in the final stages of marketing and post production See more »


Referenced in Filmbarátok Podcast: Episode #1.94 (2016) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Interesting premise, amateurish execution, and not that "deep"
30 July 2009 | by See all my reviews

How I wanted to enjoy this movie. This movie "makes you think"? Maybe if you're a twentysomething, sick of the Hollywood crap out there, but not really educated enough in classic science fiction to recognize when someone is recycling old paradoxes, and not mature enough to require character development from the figures on the screen. For the rest of us, it does not matter how much the filmmaker supposedly "captures the atmosphere" of engineers who speak in monotone. As Sontag said, the audience should not be called upon to react as if what is happening in fiction is actually happening in real life. (If I make a boring film in which people really go to the bathroom, is that brilliant as well?) The cinema verite style here does not work and is not appropriate, and despite the barrage of early 10-star reviews - obviously planted by cheerleaders connected with this project - that signals a failure by the filmmaker to engage his audience, which is, yes, his job. Smugness about how people "don't get it" is not film criticism - at any rate, we do get it, because the story is paper-thin. Show, don't tell - give us action (and I do not mean superficial action as in "Independence Day"), not relentless unemotional dialog that appeals to young, largely male, geeks. (All of the important male characters here are married, with kids - what irony!) Film, like any other art, is communication, and while this film has potential, that makes the inept execution of it all the more disappointing. Actually, I would recommend that people see it, with the caveats that I've given above, because it is an example of a good idea; however, in no way does this film deserve such effusive, histronic praise. Oh, and incidentally - electrical current is measured in amperes, not in "volts." (Volts measure voltage, duh.) So much for the snobbish techno-wow jargon by these so-called engineers at the beginning!

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