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.....