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on 18 May 2017
This film is amazing, perhaps the best time travel film ever made. Very realistic. It Is very low fi though, could do with the audio dialogue being clearer sometimes. Unfortunately amazon video doesn't have subtitles for this film. So maybe worth buying on dvd. Cause it's certainly the kinda film you will need to watch more than once.
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on 24 October 2017
A mind-bending sci-fi indie flick which I had to resort to Google for a post-viewing explanation. Original and well-acted, it demands your total concentration but well worth the effort.
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on 30 June 2017
Mmmmmm! not as good as I'd hoped. A good idea but doesn't quite work for me. Buy it is cheap - it may be for you.
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on 10 June 2017
Had to watch parts of it three times to follow the plot, but it was fun
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on 17 June 2017
Good, very enjoyable the first time, but absolutely worth multiple watches
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on 25 May 2007
I really enjoyed this film. Not for the cinematography, plot, characterisations, or acting (all of which were at least competent), but for the 'challenge' of it.

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 ...
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on 22 March 2011
This is a film about time travel but really concerns trust, of friends and yourself...or selves.
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.
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on 21 October 2010
Put simply, this film is mind-blowing, staggering, and amazing. Made for the price of a used car, Shane Carruth's feature debut is a startlingly complex investigation into the realities of time travel. In spite of its modest 74 minutes length, this film had me pondering for days, and I've now seen it four times and am just about confident that I understand the gist of the plot. However, don't let the complexity put you off (and my, but it is complex; Memento and Mulholand Drive pale in comparison), one of the many joys of the film is that you never quite know what's going on, and this puts you in the exact position of the protagonists (there is one event involving a catatonic man which even the director has admitted he has no idea what exactly happened and inserted it purely to show how far out of their depth the characters are). You never feel like you need to work out exactly what happened, and how A got to B and then was in time to visit C, etc, as the central ideas and twists keep you on the edge of your seat.

The good things about this film are really too numerous to go into detail with without writing an essay; suffice to say that the acting is superb and realistic, the dialogue refreshing, the cinematography understated and perfect for the story, the score haunting and effective, the editing skillful, and the re-watchablity infinite.

A couple of things that really make this film one of my favourites of all time - the little details; the characters' ears bleeding for no reason and gradually losing the ability to write after too much time travel, subtle lines like "I haven't eaten since later this afternoon", and the need for oxygen tanks when waiting in the coffin-like homemade time machine 'boxes'.

Apart from including one of the cleverest and intriguing films of all time, another reason to purchase this DVD are the hilarious and informative commentaries with director and crew - never have I heard such honest and insightful commentary, and the crew commentary is side-splittingly funny, stuffed with in jokes from the shoot that you would never dream of hearing about on another film.

Finally, to answer one of the main criticisms the film seems to be getting, that it is too dry, intellectual and lacks any sort of human or emotional side. And this is just a blatant lie. The central crux of the film is the gradual destruction of two friend's relationship as they try to deal with the infinite power and responsibility of time travel. Throughout the film both friends go through subtle and realistic character arcs, one becoming more secretive and distrustful, and the other becoming a lying, controlling bastard.

I really haven't even started explaining the myriad joys of this film (I haven't mentioned the brilliant premise, style and use of tension), but this review is long enough.

Suffice to say, this film simply cannot be missed.
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on 6 September 2017
Time travel / manipulation is one of my favourite Sci-fi genres. How the internal logic of it works within the film universe is one of the ways the film maker can show their invention. What we get here is a solution that remains visible but out of reach. The film works on the assumption that the viewer is intelligent, possessed of a reasonable attention span and able to cope with adult discussions had by the protagonists. The low budget actually works making the film look like it's being filmed with a video camera, the close up filming makes it claustrophobic as the paranoia and questioning starts to take off. For casual chrononauts it's mind boggling, for anyone who likes sci-fi thoughtful and thought provoking it's worth the trip.
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on 30 June 2013
Primer is above and beyond the most complex film I've ever seen.

It never insults your intelligence but in doing so, becomes incredibly difficult to follow. With the time-travel centric plot, there is a lot to focus on meaning multiple watches is kind of a must, but don't be surprised if you still don't get it years on. I still don't.

Primer to be an extraordinary achievement in filmmaking - Shane Carruth made this with no experience for around $10,000 (less than 1% of the average film budget) and went on to win the top prize at Sundance. It's smart, well shot, well acted and completely enthralling. But that doesn't make it entertaining.

This film ties itself in so many knots that it takes a great deal of patience and dedication to actually try and figure out what's happening. Quite often, your brain will physically hurt trying to work this all out.

If you're into REALLY intelligent cinema, Primer should be top of your list. Otherwise it might quickly become something of a chore to watch.
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