Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 25
  2. Negative: 2 out of 25
  1. 25
    A real head-scratcher that somehow won the grand jury prize at this year's Sundance Film Festival.
  2. As Primer progresses, it just gets murkier and the experience of it more drudgelike.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 84 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 38
  2. Negative: 7 out of 38
  1. Aug 27, 2010
    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. Jan 24, 2014
    In today’s day and age, we throw around the phrase “mind-blowing” a lot ( probably published three articles this morning that contain the phrase…the other articles are insinuating that you don’t know anything). However, I have to say that “Primer” is as close to a real life instance of my mind actually exploding! The way this film handled time travel came off frighteningly realistic and, if it wasn’t for the below average acting, you could easily think it was a documentary on the discovery of time travel. Even though the acting isn’t great, the film delivers an incredibly intelligent script that actually challenges the viewer and is, quite possibly, the smartest, most realistic, science fiction film I have ever seen. Full Review »
  3. Dec 7, 2013
    After failing to market the machines commercially, the inventors discover something shocking, they’ve actually created time machines. In a non-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 »