Primer (2004) Poster

(2004)

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9/10
No Maps for These Territories
Quicksand9 October 2004
It's not easy to follow. The production values aren't perfect. There's not an obvious 'good guy' or 'bad guy.' But was this movie any good? Oh hell yes.

This movie has been compared to "2001" because of the sci-fi angle. But while the movie has one sci-fi element in it (the device), the movie isn't even about that. It's about these two guys, and how it affects them individually, and their relationship with one another.

I found this movie to be fairly challenging, but worth the ride. I was up for hours discussing this movie with friends, and if that's not what you like to do with your movies, then this one probably isn't for you. But if you like something that tweaks your brain, that you can watch repeated times, that you can really chew on... then here comes "Primer," like a ghost in the night.

It's too early to tell where this movie will reside in cinematic history-- revered, forgotten, or somewhere in between-- but it's already won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance (where it beat out 'Garden State'), and just won't go away. It moves along, it's clever, it held my attention. Even "Pi" didn't do that, and if you're a film nerd, that's saying something.

If you're not a film nerd, approach this one with more caution. Remember, Shane Carruth had no idea even how to make a movie when he started making this one, but the end result is something far more fascinating than your typical film-school snob could ever put together. This is wholly original, and took me someplace I have never been. And that alone makes the "2001" comparison start to look more and more accurate.....
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10/10
Confusing but it makes perfect sense
jncressman9 June 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Partial explanation Only for those who have seen the movie.

The movie is shown completely linearly from Abe's perspective. (Abe's the blond one.) I'm sure most people can follow the move up until the scene in the garage where Philip and Robert explain to Abe that Rachell's ex boy friend showed up at the Robert's party with a shot gun.

Things get strange at this point because Aaron and Abe are now planning to stop the ex boy friend, an event that from regular time has already happened but we are viewing the movie from Abe's perspective and he hasn't gone to the party yet. Also at the time of the garage scene Abe doesn't yet know that Aaron used the failsafe machine to change the events at the party.

When Abe shows up at the fail safe machine it isn't the one he left running but the one that Arron had taken back in time inside the first fail safe machine. When Abe goes back in time he meets Arron who already knows what Abe was going to say because he's also gone back in time.

Abe knocks his past self out with the NO2 while Arron drugs his own breakfast milk.

At this point they are changing their own past. They don't play the stock market so they aren't rich at the end of the movie.

Aaron's been recording all the conversations that he hears through the ear piece so he's ready the second time that Abe comes to explain that they have built a time machine, only the second time Abe has also come back in time.

We will never know what would have happened at the party if Aaron and Abe hadn't used the time machine to change the events at the party because those events never happen. We do know that Abe tells Rachel's father the venture capitalist about the time machine and he uses it. That's why he has a couple days worth of beard growth.

Aaron goes though the days several times and even meets himself and gets in a fight with himself.

Now all you have to do is watch it another 3 times to confirm what I just wrote.
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9/10
Beautifully Flawed
flat68 December 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Here's the gist of it: as another review has said, 'the script is riddled with problems, about 60% of the movie is out of focus, the audio is muffled and garbled, and continuity problems abound'. All these things are true. Yet despite all appearances, this does not amount to a bad movie. It just makes Primer a exquisitely different movie, and furthermore, a movie that works.

The reason to love it is that it's utterly defiant of the expectations of the traditional movie experience. It can't resort to a beautiful cast, shiny special effects, gorgeous scenery. Indeed, the cast is wooden in its acting, which turns out to work because that's how normal scientists and engineers (and people in general) are, flawed communicators. The settings are drab, out of focus, rushed and cheap, which turns out to work because that's what being efficient with your resources means for an inventor. It doesn't matter if the makers of Primer were forced into this style by their budget (as opposed to consciously 'pulling off' this look and feel). All that matters is that in the end, it turns out to work beautifully with the plot and the story.

What this means is that it has nothing to go on except its wits. And wits it does have. This is not to say that it's coherent… you will be confused by the fact that the plot doesn't nicely clean up after itself. There is no nice take-home message, no all-knowing schemework. But it is an intellectually respectable, honest attempt at dealing with the paradoxes of time travel. I've never seen any major flick that throws up its hands in the complexity of it all and just admits there's only so far you can look into things – most movies you'll see gloss over the issues with some bad science, or worse, simply don't ask the questions.

It's entertainment that's intellectually honest and respectable, and that's a tremendously rare thing.

9/10
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Incredible
ChrisC_ATL13 June 2004
You remember the first time you saw The Matrix (please, not the awful sequels) and you could barely keep up with what was going on, trying to piece together the pieces of what you were being told into a coherent story?

This movie was exactly like that. The first half or so is fairly linear (despite the frenzied Altman-esque style of everyone talking on top of each other), but then it gets WEIRD and it just absolutely blew me away. This film won a major Sundance award, and normally that means I won't like it (especially the normally pandering audience award winners) but this movie, and first-time filmmaker Shane Carruth, deserves absolutely everything it gets. I am just blown away.

Did you like Pi? If so, go see this one.

By the way, the attention to detail in the beginning is great. Often in thrillers with technical content, if you have a technical education you have consciously ignore all the stupid movie crud that they pull to make it into a good story. But this movie pulls off an incredibly believable technical story, with only a few distracting gaffs. That is, the tech jargon is good enough that you don't get distracted and can focus on the story line.

Final comment: Yes, it is very hard to follow the story line in this movie.

Obviously I'm not going to spoil it, but I think the following fact will help when the movie gets kind of hairy towards the end: Aaron is the dark-haired guy, Abe is the blond-haired guy.

This movie now has distribution and you should keep an eye out for it in the fall.
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8/10
A film for the days when science fiction was about wrestling with ideas . . .
Chris_Docker24 August 2004
A group of young scientists work at a frantic pace to invent they are not quite sure what, but their efforts start demonstrating interesting side effects. From their work in a small cottage industry of error checking devices they are forced to confront the fact that they have discovered something too valuable to market. As they explore the potential of their machine, they are caught in a frantic loop to second guess themselves.

Science fiction in the cinema has largely been dominated by the visual impact, and so this is a welcome (for some) return to the world of ideas. This is not an easy-rise entertainment film but one where you have to concentrate to keep up, working out the logical implications of what's happening. If made on the scale of Men in Black or the Matrix it would descend to the level of spoof – as it is we follow the two main characters knowing that their actions are having momentous effects on the world around them and on themselves. Instead of flashy graphics, we are left to keep the ramifications of the story in mind as the characters themselves grapple with what they know is happening but can't even let themselves look at directly.
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10/10
Intoxicating science-fiction
kobe051 May 2005
Never before have I felt so compelled to re-watch a movie within 48 hours of initial viewing. This mindf$%# of a movie demands exactly that. If you are up for a challenge, I recommend you view this film... research it a little (not too much)... watch it again, and then go read the forums at primermovie.com - but importantly, do not go there before watching it at least twice in my opinion. It's amazing what can be done with only $7,000 - in comparison to what others do with $200,000,000. This is science-fiction at its purest and I really hope it gets a wider release and receives the attention it deserves. Contagiously brilliant, and as close to perfect as a film of it's ilk can get. 10/10
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1/10
Confusing
julie-4012 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I would normally love this kind of movie 'time travel' but I just found it confusing. The tone of the speech is the same all the way through which makes you even more bored as you get sick of listening to it. Its just so quiet and uninspiring. It just goes on and on and I hadn't a clue what was happening. The first half an hour is all about physics, with long words and references to things you haven't a clue about unless you are a physicist. The actors kept all talking at the same time so I couldn't catch what was being said anyway from the 'normal' everyday words.

As it had such a good review I thought I would give it a go despite the fact that I hadn't heard of any of the actors before. I wish I hadn't. Waste of time. I have never commented on any movie on this site before but this was just so so disappointing I felt I had to let others know.
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1/10
Insulting drudgery
oecobius3 September 2013
"Primer" is often praised for its clever, convoluted plot that you'll have to watch several times to truly figure out. This is a myth, though, since if you pay close attention and ignore the film's many irrelevant details and scenes, the plot is a pretty simple tale of a guy going back in time, making a mistake, then going back in time again and fixing that mistake.

The film is hard to follow NOT because of any clever or deep writing, but instead because the editing is utterly terrible. The characters spout technical jargon for too long without serving the plot or theme, and a couple scenes are incomprehensible because of bad lighting, awkward cutting, poor staging, and lousy sound quality.

All the dialogue is dry and dull, NEVER giving us the slightest reason to care about any of the characters. Primer won't stir any emotions in you, it won't inspire your imagination, it won't make you reflect on life, & it won't even make you uncomfortable. Its storytelling style is woefully incompetent and would be better suited to instructional pamphlets.

For all its long-winded, muffled dialogue, I can't even find a statement or a message in this film. You might enjoy this film if you are a college kid trying too hard to have "different" tastes from others, but if you want an actually compelling or rewarding film experience, ignore all the hype and give Primer a miss.
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1/10
Confused, pointless & boring
shes_dead27 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Before you read on, be warned this review contains many spoilers!

When a film is promoted by the fact it only cost $7000 (or whatever) to make, it does set alarm bells ringing. Like it must be bad if they're trying to impress you with how little it cost to make. Anyone can make a film for $7000, doesn't mean it's any good though, and this sure ain't any good.

I went to see it only because of some of the positive comments on IMDb made it out to be something special.

The first 45 minutes or so are incredibly boring. The conversations between the 4 friends about science & engineering is, well, here's a sore point, I didn't have a clue what they were talking about. It went way over my head and left me bored. On top of that the sound quality was bad, the 4 characters kept talking over each other and there was a lot of mumbling so I missed a lot.

The look of the film is awful, mostly filled with either a yellow or blue tint so that everything looks either yellow, or blue.

The group of 4 splits to 2 as Aaron & Abe start to make discoveries with a machine they have invented, and stop talking to the other guys. I was lost a bit here too, but I think the machine does something like hold an object in time where it is while the rest of time continues. Anyway, I didn't really care, and by this time more than 1 person had walked out of the cinema.

The last half hour gets slightly more interesting but it's so confusing that it isn't completely enjoyable. From what I gathered, they worked out they had a time machine and they started to go back in time. Three hours at first, then up to three days. They start to play the stock market for a bit (of all the things they could do) and apparently make some money, though this never becomes evident and they never do anything with it.

Then it gets confusing. Aaron speaks about punching some guy in the nose if he could go back in time. And Abe makes a big deal out of it, and his wife is like "wow I'm really proud of you for saying that" and the audience is like 'What?' Who is this guy and why is it a big deal? Then they are told about a party where, I think, a girl named Rachel is shot (I'm presuming a lot because so much is unclear). So then they decide to go back in time by three days to stop this happening.

Why? Why oh why? Who is this Rachel? We never even met her and now the film for the next 10 minutes revolves around saving her life. Only this isn't even made exciting it's just they do it and that's it. We don't even see the rescue.

Now, there's also a scene where there is a guy (head of department or something) sitting outside Aaron's home in the middle of the night and they believe he looks like he has 3 days worth of stubble whereas he was clean shaven earlier that day. They think he is following them and found out about the time machine. So they chase after him. The next thing, Aaron and this guy are lying on the floor and this guy is either dead or asleep, but we never hear of him again. This is just an entirely pointless scene involving a possible subplot that was never developed.

This film is madness and as I write it down it sounds even more ridiculous than when I was watching it.

Then Aaron elopes (leaving his double to carry on everyday life - and who takes the place of where the double left?) Then it ends. What a stinker. Avoid this messed up confused, poor excuse for a film!
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10/10
Very untypical
peedur2 November 2004
For much of the film I sat watching open-mouthed, half smiling at the film for reasons I am still trying to understand. Perhaps it was the fearless choice to stick to its own voice, to avoid watering it down by appealing to the wider audience. Perhaps I was amazed at the economy of this film (not just the reported budget, either); at how it so effortlessly dances around the pitfalls inherent with this almost universally misplayed genre. What an interesting film!

There's a breathtakingly light touch with details and subtlety. In fact the film contains and is defined by many aspects deliberately avoided in "sci-fi movies", namely, the surface banality inherent in much of engineering or innovation. In the real world this is characterized simply by hard work, testing and analysis and not visually dynamic at every turn. How they've made this aspect fascinating is a testament to the well-tuned ear and eye of the filmmaker. Listening to these characters talk, you feel relieved that there is none of the nonsense typically associated with sci-fi films: no buxom models or chisel-faced bodybuilders arguing passionately about trivialities while secretly accomplished in physics. This is intelligent fiction about real people engaged in science and engineering who stumble onto something extraordinary. Perhaps thats why it feels so fresh.

It also has a smart and (arguably) well thought out take on the nature of how this invention can impact one's ability to function and reason.(I'll avoid spoilers, not that it will help much...). I liked the film immensely and would recommend it.
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1/10
Amateur hour..
CineCritic25177 July 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Four engineers invent a time machine by accident. Two of the guys decide to use the machine to go back in time to make money on the stock market. But as the dangers of time traveling become more apparent, they decide to quit their endeavors and make a final trip back to prevent the machine from ever being deployed.

The film is praised for being made on practically no budget and for the use of a deliberately obfuscated plot. Both ruining any entertainment value the film may have provided had this not been the case. Apart from the tedious framing and bad lighting, the sound recording was so poor one might not even have noticed the rambling, arcane script. To make matters worse no professional actors were hired making it impossible to take any of it seriously as characters were constantly mumbling over each other's lines. Sub plots are left unresolved almost as a rule and side characters just pop in and out of existence like electrons at the LHC. There is absolutely nothing about this movie that warrants praise of any kind. There's a reason why films have higher budgets than what was put on the table to create this nonsense.
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1/10
Save your money ! A terrible waste of time !!!!!
mstramba31 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
*** SPOILERS **** First, I *love* watching movies, it's one of my passions, I've seen hundreds of them. I love time travel movies, and was looking forward to see new twists what this one had to offer.

The answer was zero, nothing, nada, as far as I could tell. The first 30 or 40 minutes .. or at least it seemed that long, of the movie are spent with the two characters mumbling in mumbo jumbo about what the "device" might be capable of.

When they finally get to the point of saying that it will make time travel possible, they spend the rest of the movie wondering how it might be used / abused.

If the target audience was a bunch of professors at "MIT", then maybe the movie can be deemed a "success".

I was looking forward to seeing what kind of situations they might get into as per the movie synopsis on the cover of the DVD, which I would have to classify as outright bull****.

Second, I am a person who likes a movie that "makes me think", but I hesitate to use that phrase, because it seems to mean something different to me than some of the other reviewers here.

Both the positive and negative reviews of this film have admitted that the film is difficult to understand, there is lots of techno mumbo jumbo, and that the the film doesn't "neatly tie up the loose ends".

The difference seems to be that the people who love this film, think that the incomprehensible nature of this film is a *good* thing, while other reviewers, like me, are of the opinion that watching a movie (for ??? how many minutes was it again), that makes no sense or has no point, is a total waste of time and brain cells.

If you need something to put you to sleep, then this is probably just the thing. Otherwise, save your money for something useful, or donate it to charity .... or just throw it in the garbage, ... maybe a homeless person will find it.

M
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4/10
All the right elements that just don't come together well.
jedijosh-110 February 2010
First let me start off by saying I love science fiction especially when the theme is Time travel. Second I love independent movies as it gives me a chance to focus on a story without being distracted by big budget effects or big Hollywood stars. Third I love strange nonlinear movies or movies that doesn't always explain everything leaving the viewer to speculate what happened. So given all this I should've loved Primer but I didn't. Primer suffers from some of the worst dialogue ever and I mean the worst ever! The jargon didn't bother me as much as it did some people, as a science fiction fan I am used to tech talk jargon so whether or not it can be understood by science egg heads or not doesn't concern me. What concerns me is so much dialogue was spoken but nothing was ever said. Sometimes dialogue from several characters overlap and you're never sure who's speaking. Worse yet since this is a time travel movie when you hear Aaron speak you're not sure if it's Aaron A or Aaron B or Aaron C etc...There are times when the story seems to jump around for no apparent reason like when the characters are all of a sudden in a fountain looking for a cat??????? Some people have suggested reading the Wikipedia plot analysis but what kind of movie needs a plot analysis to enjoy? The characters were dull and most of the time I didn't care or feel anything for them, I even hoped one would be killed off so I only had to follow the other guy. If you are looking for a good time travel movie that was also a low budget movie I suggest "Time crimes" over this movie any day.
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From Tinkering with Tools to Tinkering with People
noralee15 October 2004
"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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1/10
Interesting premise, amateurish execution, and not that "deep"
kharley47130 July 2009
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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Revisits
tedg13 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
One great river of narrative is something that started with the detective story.

It is a rich engagement, one in which the reader and writer engage in a battle of wits. Its power comes from the way it involves the reader in the story. The engagement is tight. The more the reader invests, the more they are *in* the narrative, with the traditional form being that the reader discovers things at the same time a detective does.

There are very clearly understood rules of this game. The book or movie must "play fair." Clues need not be obvious, but they need to be there. Also, at the end there needs to be a solution, and everything needs to add up.

It can be hard, very hard. "Irreversible" was very hard. "Memento" was moderately hard. "Eyes, Wide Shut" was hard. All these had their mysteries in discovering what the story was, instead of the simpler case of solving a mystery within the story.

Now here, we have something similar. Simpler in a way — all the difficulties come from time travel overlaps. In mathematics, it is common to denote a second instance of something as that thing primed, then double primed and so on. (The notation is an apostrophe.) So we know that the problem will be one of multiple instances of characters.

But this doesn't play fair.

+

Okay. I went back to the beginning and did the thing again. The second time in viewing it all makes more sense because you know what to look for. Some of the things that don't seem like clues can be turned into clues given what you know from the future. It works. I am happy.

+

No wait! If you go back a third time, it is all ruined because all the things you could discover have been ruined by the second rerun. Now you just encounter the amateurish production values and weak storytelling. I hate the second viewer for ruining this for me. I should have just skipped the second viewing and gone to the third.

+

Ignore the paragraph above. What matters is the second viewing. All subsequent viewings (and there could be dozens already that are unknown) don't count because the second one goes all the way back to the first detective story and changed the rules. Now we don't have to play fair.

+

Okay. Final judgment. After 21 viewings I can say for sure that there is no mystery at all. This is what the original script for "Cube 2," was intended to be, but it got swapped in an argon- filled cube, by a guy named Granger.

... In true revisiting fashion, this comment was deleted after nine months because of some complaint. So it itself now makes a reappearance, changed by the experience of returning to the outside before re-entering.

Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.
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1/10
I love movies about time paradoxes but this one just left me confused.
john-304711 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
If this is "one of the best American films of the year " then the American film industry must be in a very bad state. Shane Carruth did an excellent job to produce a film of high technical quality on such a low budget, unfortunately: when one person writes, directs, edits and plays a lead role in a film they tend to lose sight of the fact that the audience is not as familiar with the plot or story line as they are. This film spiraled out of control from about two thirds of the way through by the end I had no idea what the point of the story was and felt that I must have missed some vital piece of information that would make some sense of it. I love movies about time paradoxes but this one just left me confused.

According to the trivia Shane Carruth claimed he shot 80 minuets of film and only edited out 4 minuets of it (math's is obviously not his strong suet as the movie is 78 minutes long). Maybe he should have taken out more to reduce the confusion or added extra 10 minuets or so to explain to the audience what the plot was ultimately about. This is a one out of ten in my book.
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1/10
If you like sci-fi, give this one a miss.
shneur14 December 2005
This is one weird movie about four young engineering-techno-types who invent a time machine of sorts. Even though I too have read Stephen Hawking's book, I could not understand how the thing was supposed to work or what principles it was based on, but that shouldn't be surprising since I couldn't understand the relationships among the four young men, what their wives/girlfriends were dong while all this was going on, the blurry sets, the muffled dialogue, or just about anything else about this movie. I did comprehend enough to know that it violated some very basic rules of physics, to say nothing of some very basic rules of movie-making. If this is "post-modern," give me "pre-modern" any day. Oh, the acting was lousy too...
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1/10
A cheap atrociously made piece of boredom
petra-5914 April 2006
I don't mind a movie that doesn't spend a lot of money on itself. But this piece of "I'm a movie maker, you're too stupid to understand it" should never have made it even to DVD. After 10 minutes of trying to understand what the wooden non-actors were saying, I decided that it would be better not to suffer any more. Maybe the writer, actor, director was satisfied with his output. But it might be better for the film industry if he decided to do something more in keeping with his ability. And judged by his efforts in this film, he really doesn't have any. Don't be fooled by "This is an amateur film made on a shoe-string budget." It is a bore and definitely not worth watching.
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1/10
Three thumbs down!
david_samuel_vardy13 August 2006
I have a degree in physics and a serious addiction to great film, so I was expecting a lot from this film; I bought the DVD, rather than rent it. I watched this film four times in an attempt to understand it. It goes from superconductivity to weevils to time travel. The science didn't hold water ... and neither did the plot. Then I listened to the director's commentary and learned that the film was made by amateurs. I'm still baffled by the popularity of this film. Many people compare it to "Pi". "Pi" is a great film; "Primer" is not. The moral of the story: Rent a DVD before you buy it. I'm willing to give my copy to anyone who wants it. Email me at david_samuel_vardy@hotmail.com
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8/10
Worth watching, worth seeing, it doesn't please all
siderite14 July 2005
Yes, there is a chance that you will NOT like this movie. That's because it is not a movie made for the majority of paying cinema goers, but it is a movie made for the sake of movie making. It is an ORIGINAL movie, so if you want something that you are used to see and expect beginning and ending in a specific way don't go watching this one.

Now, about the movie: it is low budget, but the money was well spent. The plot is confusing, but good, and it does need you to watch the last 30 minutes again in order to be understood. The acting is good, even if the roles are nothing demanding. The idea is very interesting and makes you think "outside the box" :) You will see what I mean after you watch the movie.

I won't waste your time telling you what it is about, just watch it and if you don't like it, at least you will have gained another perspective on movie making. For me this is a keeper: burn, CD, burn!
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1/10
Emperor's New Clothes
lipsitzma16 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
We all agree that Dracula 3000 is the worst movie ever made. Why can't we agree on Primer? Suffering through this horrible movie made me angry. Then I watched the director's commentary. Seven thousand dollars and a home computer. My anger turned to sympathy. But as writer/director Shane Carruth droned on, I could see he thought he had made an important film. With a message to boot. Pretentiousness. My anger returned. Reviewers on this site have said they'll watch Primer numerous times to figure out the plot. Good luck. Independent films may be limited by budget, but scripts cost nothing. How can a person devote so much time and energy to a bad script that is flawed from the get-go? Can you remember one line of dialogue? Would two guys holed up in a hotel room pass a football around? What's with the identical frat brother ties, shirts and sweaters? Would even a geek saw off his catalytic converter in a white shirt and tie and come away spotless? Was Autozone closed? They have a nighttime talk at a noisy water fountain - and bring flashlights! Aaron shows Abe his double, but Aaron's in the box. Are there three Aarons? Why does Abe kill Aaron? They discuss getting on an airplane, but do so in the airport terminal as if that's the first and only place to talk about it. Independent films should get our support. Save it for something deserving.
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1/10
Imagine the most boring people traveling through time
lee-phone16 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Officially the worst film I have ever seen.

So much irrelevant dialog, complete scenes that have no relevance just pointless waffle..

The only awards this movie merits are for the viewers if they can actually make it through the whole duration.

Awful sound, trying to listen to speech while unnecessary knocking and banging going on.

Too much cross talking everyone talking over each other is just painful.

These guys supposed to have discovered time travel and talk about it as if they have discovered a pint of milk. Zero excitement, loads of stupid technical chatter. If I were to quote this movie it would be:

The most boring & dull people discover time travel.
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10/10
WATCH IT TWICE!
thblckdog15 June 2004
This movie is great, I had the opportunity to see it twice at Sundance, the first time it was very confusing. The second time, it makes sense, when you can understand all the story tricks and plot twists. I think this film is in t he same vane as Memento, Existenz or The Usual Suspects, you have to watch it twice to know whats going on. I had the opportunity to talk to Shane Carruth the maker of this film and aside from being a really nice guy, he explained that you simply have to watch it a few times and pay attention to the doubles and triples of people. This film won 2 well deserved awards at Sundance because it truly embodies the independent spirit of film making.
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1/10
Painful and Unwatchable
fawn_jane2 August 2013
Before I get into it, let me cut to the chase for those of you too impatient to read my entire review: I do not recommend this movie even slightly. Imagine watching some grainy, washed-out, poorly-shot home video with bad audio and boring annoying people you know nothing about doing random stuff you have little context for. That's what watching this movie is like.

I was all set to love this movie. A deep intricate plot based on time travel... How could they go wrong? Well, they found a way...

From the beginning the movie is hard to follow and boring; The main characters go about their lives as normal engineers or businessmen or something, rambling endlessly about boring stuff. I could not follow what they were talking about, or whether I'm even supposed to be able to follow. I'm no dummy, I'm a professional engineer myself but I found it very frustrating. The movie is alienating to viewers from the beginning.

Then when the plot picks up and gets into the time travel stuff, the viewer's experience still suffers because nothing is really explained clearly. I watched the whole movie and left confused about the basics as to how the time travel machine was even supposed to work.

The characters are boring and joyless. They have an effin' time machine and not once do they seem excited or happy about it. Despite their grave attitude, that doesn't stop them from making painful-to-watch, unnecessarily, bad and reckless decisions about using time travel. It's like the worst of both worlds of serious vs. not-serious.

The makers of this movie should have spent less time making the movie complex and more time making it actually *watchable*. The plot quickly devolves into an unnecessarily vague and confusing mess. The only reason I have any clue what happened was because I found a college essay about it that lays the plot out. Even after reading about it, I'm not impressed by the plot. It's just complex just for the sake of being complex and beyond that, no creativity or artistry whatsoever. The writers of this movie seem to have no sense of art or aesthetics, or what would be engaging or enjoyable to a human being.

In many scenes I gritted my teeth straining to hear what the heck the actors are actually saying. At the same time I fumed wondering how they could put all this time and effort to make a movie, and yet it didn't occur to them that having rumbling engines or rushing water drowning out the dialogue might be something that has to be corrected before releasing a movie.

What else can I say? Terrible movie... for your own sanity, stay away.
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