For his final assignment, a top temporal agent must pursue the one criminal that has eluded him throughout time. The chase turns into a unique, surprising and mind-bending exploration of love, fate, identity and time travel taboos.
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
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 »
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 usable 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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