At night and on weekends, four men in a suburban garage have built a cottage industry of error-checking devices. But, they know that there is something more. There is some idea, some mechanism, some accidental side effect that is standing between them and a pure leap of innovation. And so, through trial and error they are building the device that is missing most. However, two of these men find the device and immediately realize that it is too valuable to market. The limit of their trust in each other is strained when they are faced with the question, If you always want what you can't have, what do you want when you can have anything? Written by
Sujit R. Varma
Shane Carruth stated that at most an 80-minute movie could be made from the footage; the film ended up being 78 minutes long. He stated that the shooting ratio was 2:1. See more »
During numerous takes the director, Shane Carruth, mutters
"cut" under his breath. According to the DVD commentary, this is due to their extremely low budget which did not allow them to "waste" film. Carruth notes that a total of 80 minutes of footage was shot; the final film is 78 minutes. See more »
[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.
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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Thanks to Scott Douglass for having the faith to invest in the final stages of marketing and post production See more »
From Tinkering with Tools to Tinkering with People
"Primer" starts out innocently like a "Start-up.com" docu-drama and the first part covers some of those same financial, friendship and entrepreneurial issues as computer geek engineers work out of of one of the partner's garage to perfect an invention.
But gradually, in this antiseptic atmosphere of white shirts, electrical experiments and tweaking mechanics, every human emotion, virtually as every seven deadly sin, except sloth, and beyond, starting with greed, takes them over.
Without any explanation to the audience, we gradually figure out that we're seeing a cleverer, low budget "Paycheck" or what "Ground Hog Day" played for laughs and an original "Outer Limits" episode did for irony (I didn't see "The Butterfly Effect" to see how it also dealt with time changes).
Rather this is an attempt to seriously examine the philosophical issues of chaos theory and how inventions can't be divorced from human frailties, both mental and physical.
Shane Carruth, as the lead actor/writer/director/producer is a true auteur--and could therefore give his nerd a wife and kid-- but perhaps an outside editor could have helped make the permutations a bit clearer as I didn't quite follow the intersections with outside characters. I followed enough to get caught up in the anxiety and suspense of each iteration.
It was amusing that I was the only woman in the audience.
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