Generally favorable reviews- based on 80 Ratings
Aug 27, 2010A minor miracle of a film, this movie manages to pull off everything a major motion picture should have (great scripting, amazing acting, drama, etc.) with a mere budget of ~$7,000. It's simultaneously captivating, confusing, frustrating, and in the end, completely gratifying - even if you can't put all the pieces together on the first viewing. I already can't wait to watch it again.… Full Review »
Dec 7, 2013After failing to market the machines commercially, the inventors discover something shocking, they’ve actually created time machines. In a nonon-descript storage facility in the suburbs sit these mysterious machines, the culmination of hard work done at nights and on weekends; the capital for the machine’s production, all the funds the group could muster.
Conscientious from the beginning, the men predict the dangers of their creation. They profess their not wanting to alter the past. They try to keep the project quiet, under wraps from world, but things easily get out of control amongst themselves. Aghast at their errors, they try to set things right, but since time travel functions according unknown sets of laws different from those of linear time, the concocted logical solutions to their problem end up becoming just additional steps towards disaster.
Supposedly made for only $7000, this film is a marvel. Not only is it a fascinating story, the camera work and the production value is very good. With long scenes, and thoughtful performances by the cast, this quasi Sci-fi/Arthouse film is a visual pleasure to watch. It doesn’t screen as a low budget thriller.
While Director/Writer Shane Carruth’s vision isn’t exactly crystal clear, and this mystery is part of the charm. For a film about a complex subject like time travel, the success is in Carruth’s ability to purvey the concept with very little flare. Everything seems to have aligned perfectly here. That is not to say it is the greatest film ever, but for a movie about such complicated subject matter, the bare-bones approach is very interesting. The script and characters talk about what they know. A narrator fills us in on a few more key details. Then the rest we are left to figure out on our own. As a sci-fi thriller this film works very well.… Full Review »
Jul 29, 2013Primer is one of the most overrated Science Fiction films ever made and possibly one of the most overrated indie films. What has impressed crittics and sf fans is the Chinese Puzzlebox plot, which takes advantage of time travel parodoxes and closed causal loops (something in the future causes something to happen in the past). The idea is fine, but the execution is a shambles. Shane Carruth shows very limmited understanding about things like dialogue, characterization, or even how to keep a shot in focus. No one in this movie can give us more than a wooden performance and the characters are never really engaging or interesting. The music (composed by Carruth) is a kind of generic indipendent film music (minimal piano treble...that's brilliant!) that makes the mediocre compositions of John Carpenter seem like John Williams in comparison. I had no problem with the techno-jargon. But that does not a great science fiction film make. It's just a lame attempt at versimilitude to convince the audience that the hokey time machine could really work. With uncompelling characters and meandering, pointless dialogue, this film fails to be engaging from a dramatic standpoint. People just like the film's idea. Fair enough. But that would have been better served by a 20 minute indie film than this tedious feature.… Full Review »