6.9/10
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Primer (2004)

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.

Director:

Shane Carruth

Writer:

Shane Carruth
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Popularity
2,948 ( 168)

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3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Shane Carruth ... Aaron
David Sullivan ... Abe
Casey Gooden ... Robert
Anand Upadhyaya ... Phillip
Carrie Crawford Carrie Crawford ... Kara
Jay Butler Jay Butler ... Metalshop Worker
John Carruth John Carruth ... Man On Couch #1
Juan Tapia Juan Tapia ... Man On Couch #2
Ashley Warren Ashley Warren ... Hostess
Samantha Thomson ... Rachel Granger
Chip Carruth Chip Carruth ... Thomas Granger
Delaney Price Delaney Price ... Laney
Jack Pyland Jack Pyland ... Aaron's Co-worker
Keith Bradshaw Keith Bradshaw ... Clean Room Technician
Ashok Upadhyaya Ashok Upadhyaya ... Laboratory Technician
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

27 May 2005 (Spain) See more »

Also Known As:

Inventia See more »

Filming Locations:

Texas, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$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:

ERBP See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[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.
[pause]
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 »

Connections

Featured in Brows Held High: Primer (2012) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

From Tinkering with Tools to Tinkering with People
15 October 2004 | by noraleeSee all my reviews

"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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