Primer

Metascore
68

Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 25
  2. Negative: 2 out of 25

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Kim Newman
    60
    It's a puzzle as much as a plot, but when it's in focus (which it isn't for long stretches) it's remarkable brain-food.
  2. At a certain point, Mr. Carruth's fondness for complexity and indirection crosses the line between ambiguity and opacity, but I hasten to add that my bafflement is colored by admiration.
  3. May be too clever for its own good. Essentially, it's the story of weekend scientists who build a time machine in a suburban garage. But this nearly gets lost in a miasma of technical jargon and scientific conjecture.
  4. Love it or hate it, you won't be able to leave it alone.
  5. 50
    A fascinatingly obtuse puzzle box that manages to be gripping even after it stops making sense.
  6. Doesn't always work, but it challenges, nonetheless.
  7. Every frame of the way, it's eminently clear that Primer is the work of an engineer, not a film- maker.
  8. 40
    Inspires plenty of head scratching and maybe a little irritation.
User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 114 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 45
  2. Negative: 7 out of 45
  1. Aug 27, 2010
    10
    A minor miracle of a film, this movie manages to pull off everything a major motion picture should have (great scripting, amazing acting,A 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 »
  2. May 18, 2013
    7
    An independent film full of nice ideas but maybe without the budget to fully realise some of their potential. Nicely scripted, although I didAn independent film full of nice ideas but maybe without the budget to fully realise some of their potential. Nicely scripted, although I did find it a little too ‘wordy’ in places. Performance wise; both Shane Carruth and David Sullivan did an excellent job. The film hangs on these two characters and I thought they both pulled it off to an excellent standard! I found the film quite absorbing at first; there’s enough mystery there and I know enough about engineering for it to keep my interest. It did, however, become a little wearing towards the end, I think because the film relies so much on the dialogue between Aaron and Abe to tell the story and there is so much to take in that I found I was in ‘dialogue overload’ by the end. I think I’ll probably have to watch it again sometime to fully appreciate it, but well worth a look; it’s an interesting take on the time travel theme.

    SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

    My score: 7.1/10
    Full Review »
  3. Nov 9, 2015
    9
    Primer is a phenomenal film that was somehow this good in spite of being shot on a $7,000 budget by first-time director Shane Carruth.Primer is a phenomenal film that was somehow this good in spite of being shot on a $7,000 budget by first-time director Shane Carruth. Complex, confusing, and all over the place, the film is brilliant in the way it captures all of those feelings so expertly. The characters are confused and have no idea what is happening, thus neither do we. The acting is very good and down-to-earth, which is perfect for this film and the film never looks as though it was shot on a $7,000 budget. On the whole, everybody involved with the production of this film is incredibly talented and it really shines through. Primer is a brilliant work that deserves to be seen by more people because no film has left me so utterly confused, yet so entirely impressed as Primer has. Full Review »