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Independent sci-fi drama. Abe (David Sullivan) and Aaron (Shane Carruth) are two young engineers who work in an anonymous city for a large corporation and who, in their spare time, conduct their own scientific experiments in their garage. While working on a device that will block the gravitational pull of an object and so reduce its apparent mass, the two scientists discover an extraordinary side-effect that allows them to manipulate time. Immediately taking advantage of this opportunity, they are soon having to deal with its consequences, and with its effect on their strained working relationship.
Top customer reviews
You do have to be prepared to think, it is complex, there is no revelatory moment where you are fed an explanation of the events. The film in no way panders to the audience, you have to try and work it out as the characters do, and after several viewings I'm not sure whether they do themselves. That though is one of the things that makes this film stand out, the director doesn't insult our intelligence in any way and you have to pay attention otherwise you will soon be lost.
For an micro budget production this is outstandingly well made, apparently costing around four thousand pounds and created virtually single handedly this should shame most film makers who spend more. I'm impressed by the quality of all aspects from writing through to sound and editing, in the very first scene the acting seems a little amateur but that soon passes and from there on everything is very professional, you don't notice the budget constraints and I wonder where the money goes in other films.
It really is a film that you want to watch again straight away, I've given it several viewings and even sat through the commentary (which is a first), but the time lines are so complex and paradox is so scattered through the script that there doesn't seem to be a way to resolve the story threads. This shouldn't be a selling point for a film but it is, it's as if the characters are still messing with events as you try to understand them, as if the story evolves as you view it. At one point a character's ears bleed, it felt like mine were going to.
I can't gush any more without revealing the plot, as much of it as i can follow anyway, but this is well worth buying if you like intelligent stories that make you think for days. Or migraines.
The blurb's comparison with Donnie Darko drew me to it, indeed I hadn't even heard of it before I saw it on the shelf in the video rental shop. I read the synopsis and, intrigued, took a chance on it.
The first thing that struck me was the feeling that the viewer was being excluded from the story: rather than it being performed for my benefit, I felt like an eavesdropper. No effort was made to signpost significant development. Even while the protagonists are simplifying their theorisation on the invention to themselves, the explanation is not intended for the audience. The exchange simply just conveys the spirit of their discovery, and their awe.
As a result, while it was perfectly possible to follow the teasingly drawn out story, it's culmination is sudden and typically obscure. Leaving the viewer with a hundred questions about the film, and only a vague grasp of the characters' experience.
The joy in this film is precisely in watching it again to increase your understanding. Unlike 'The Usual Suspects' where a second viewing was sufficient to test if the twist held up at the end, 'Primer' will take half a dozen sittings before you've grasped all the little clues and put them together cohesively ... but the sense of achievement (when it comes) is equal to the insight and cute plotting of the writer / director.
Well done Shane ...