thinkfilm | Release Date: October 8, 2004
7.4
USER SCORE
Generally favorable reviews based on 124 Ratings
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Positive:
93
Mixed:
19
Negative:
12
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10
ryancarroll88Aug 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, andA 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. Expand
5 of 8 users found this helpful53
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7
Andys_ReviewsMay 18, 2013
An 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 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
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1 of 4 users found this helpful13
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8
tonyGreenFeb 11, 2013
Low budget for sure, but they do a great job with it. Creepy, compelling, confusing and paranoiac, a good little movie. Will appeal to fans of Phillip K Dick I imagine. I liked it a lot, the plot I think deliberately confusing and hard toLow budget for sure, but they do a great job with it. Creepy, compelling, confusing and paranoiac, a good little movie. Will appeal to fans of Phillip K Dick I imagine. I liked it a lot, the plot I think deliberately confusing and hard to follow, and it works well. That is the nature of time travel I guess, to the rest of us trapped in linear causality type existences. Expand
0 of 1 users found this helpful01
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10
AnssetJun 22, 2011
(10.0) Awesome. The best Sci-fi serious in this century. How can you make a great movie with great head and a tight budget.
Escuchar Waiting eagerly to the new work from me, since I saw this movie, new idol.
0 of 3 users found this helpful03
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8
HyperboleJan 25, 2012
Unsensational, clever, quietly scary, confusing sci fi with good acting to boot. I can't believe they made this film for $7000. I really liked the direction too.
0 of 2 users found this helpful02
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8
RevRonJan 24, 2014
In today’s day and age, we throw around the phrase “mind-blowing” a lot (Cracked.com probably published three articles this morning that contain the phrase…the other articles are insinuating that you don’t know anything). However, I have toIn today’s day and age, we throw around the phrase “mind-blowing” a lot (Cracked.com 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. Expand
0 of 3 users found this helpful03
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10
MattBrady99Aug 12, 2015
Primer is one of those movies that you should never watch once, as I fear a confused moviegoer will not understand the movie for their first time viewing, but maybe they may understand it a little bit on the second viewing. If not the secondPrimer is one of those movies that you should never watch once, as I fear a confused moviegoer will not understand the movie for their first time viewing, but maybe they may understand it a little bit on the second viewing. If not the second time maybe the third time. If you still don't get then well keep watching, because you might have missed something that's rather brilliant. That's basically what I did when I first watch this movie as I felt that I came across something unique and something worth talking about. It's a bit like when Roger Ebert first came across 2001: A Space Odyssey and he felt like he came across something that's worth talking about and worth sharing.

Primer in my opinion is one of the most intelligent and probably the best movie I've seen in years. This isn't the kind of movie where you sit back and turn off your brain, because you're not going to enjoy the experience as you don't understand what's going on and you will leave the movie feeling confused. I won't lie I watch the movie five times to gaps on whats going on and thank god I did because more and more I watch the movie, more I understand it and love it. Primer is worth checking out.
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0 of 2 users found this helpful02
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10
BrianS.Jan 26, 2006
The best film of 2005. Probably the best sci-fi film of all time. Confusing at times, but that's what re-viewing is for and this movie demands it. Give it time to unfold and let it blow you away.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
7
ChadS.Oct 18, 2005
"Primer" grows increasingly incomprehensible towards the end, so there's really no payoff to the first time we see one of the characters witnessing his double through his binoculars. But still, it's a kick to see a genuine "Primer" grows increasingly incomprehensible towards the end, so there's really no payoff to the first time we see one of the characters witnessing his double through his binoculars. But still, it's a kick to see a genuine independent film mostly transcend its shoestring budget with smart, albeit colorless dialogue, that doesn't dumb down the genre of science fiction like so many of its predecessors. "Primer" works a filmic primer for people who think science fiction is all about spectacle. It's all about the box. The filmmaker probably didn't have the money to waste film on any filler like romantic subplots and government intervention. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
DavidK.Oct 10, 2006
Primer is a brilliant cinematic science fiction thriller! Unfortunately for the non-science enthusiast, the screenplay dialogue is absolutely overrun with swift moving unexplained techno-jargon that may unintentionally frustrate those Primer is a brilliant cinematic science fiction thriller! Unfortunately for the non-science enthusiast, the screenplay dialogue is absolutely overrun with swift moving unexplained techno-jargon that may unintentionally frustrate those viewers to the point of disappointment as they find themselves getting more and more lost between plot lines. But for everyone else, this spellbinding sci-fi mystery thriller is a terrific must see film! It is a complete success, and an incredible achievement by both Shane Carruth and David Sullivan. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
8
SusiJul 19, 2006
Fantastic and demanding. Really enjoyed the visual framing and the very bald acting style/non-style. Even the storytelling, despite the frustrations with audibility and narrative patchiness. Thanks for a film so devoid of sentiment and so Fantastic and demanding. Really enjoyed the visual framing and the very bald acting style/non-style. Even the storytelling, despite the frustrations with audibility and narrative patchiness. Thanks for a film so devoid of sentiment and so full of ideas. Not for everyone, but nor is any film and it's great to see something that credits the audience with a bit of intelligence and a few ideas themselves. I'll be looking for Caruth's next outing - and re-viewing this one while we wait Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
DavidH.Sep 24, 2006
A modern-day masterpiece. The further the film progresses, the more fascinating and innovative it becomes. The this is the first feature film Carruth managed to make, lets hope it isn't the last.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
MickSep 10, 2007
One of the strangest viewing experiences i've had; it won't be for everybody!
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
JeffS.Jul 18, 2006
What at first appears to be bland dialogue between uninteresting characters begins to very cleverly remind us of the lengths that the film is going to establish a sense of realism. This science fiction film succeeds in its abandonment of What at first appears to be bland dialogue between uninteresting characters begins to very cleverly remind us of the lengths that the film is going to establish a sense of realism. This science fiction film succeeds in its abandonment of cliche and hand-holder storytelling, and yeilds instead a glimpse into the real-world implications of such a mind-bending event. The characters are real and flawed, and the eventual breakdown of clarity as a story device is brilliant. Collapse
0 of 0 users found this helpful
8
mrniceJan 20, 2013
It's for the few. If you're not the type, it's only interesting as an experiment. If you can follow the film's logic and most of the plot, it's a succesful experiment. Gets special points for making something so intricate and special out ofIt's for the few. If you're not the type, it's only interesting as an experiment. If you can follow the film's logic and most of the plot, it's a succesful experiment. Gets special points for making something so intricate and special out of such simple props. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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9
Critic2012Apr 17, 2013
Absolutely mind-blowing, and not because the plot is so engaging itself. Carruth spares the vernacular for scientific jargon and feels no remorse, and THAT is what is so intriguing. We don't want to watch it a thrid or fourth time because ofAbsolutely mind-blowing, and not because the plot is so engaging itself. Carruth spares the vernacular for scientific jargon and feels no remorse, and THAT is what is so intriguing. We don't want to watch it a thrid or fourth time because of the story. We watch it again and again because we want to know what the hell is going on. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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9
XenMar 19, 2012
interesting, at some points confusing, time-travel film. The acting wasn't great but they did the job and the premise of the film really did give it some sci-fi charm.
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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9
Paddy21Jun 29, 2012
A truly breathtaking science fiction film, Primer manages to avoid one of the major pitfalls when attempting to make a compelling science fiction film, and does so with some considerable swagger. Where so many of its forebears have beenA truly breathtaking science fiction film, Primer manages to avoid one of the major pitfalls when attempting to make a compelling science fiction film, and does so with some considerable swagger. Where so many of its forebears have been reluctant to challenge its audiences with scientific jargon, Primer refuses to compromise itself by 'dumbing down' its content. The film tells the story of two friends who, whilst working from Aaron's (Shane Corruth) garage of a night building and selling JTAG cards, stumble across a technology that appears to move substances through time. It's true, for those without any particular scientific aptitude, this content becomes relatively complex and hard to follow. Nevertheless, this films delves deeper than this, posing many questions concerning the responsibilities that come with possessing unlimited power. However, if you are thinking the entanglement ends there, Primer has another ace up it's sleeve. With a plot that meanders more than a knotted snake, a repeat viewing becomes essential if you really intend to grasp the storyline in its fullness. A film in this mold is always likely to draw criticism due to its heavy plot lines and, at times, bewildering scientific concepts. Yet it is precisely here, in my opinion, that Primer acquires most of its gold stars. Intellectually stimulating and wonderful in its construction, Primer is science fiction in its purest form. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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9
SpangleNov 9, 2015
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 thosePrimer 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. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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10
brieflyJul 22, 2013
I think it was "Esquire" that called this the best sci-fi film since "2001." High praise, but right on the mark. This is a brilliant film that accomplishes what no time travel movie has ever done, focusing on the people rather than on the gimmick.
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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7
theseparatorDec 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 hardAfter 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.
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0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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10
pinball123Dec 14, 2014
One of the best movies I've ever seen. A good time travel film free of the rubbish Hollywood normally injects into a film to try and draw in audiences.
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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9
horcrux2007Jul 6, 2015
I have no clue what I just watched, but it was breathtaking. Two guys accidentally build a time machine, unaware that they might have already gone inside of it... that's all you need to know. Now go watch this masterpiece.
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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9
resterSep 23, 2014
Classic cult film and a must-see for anyone who likes strange plots full of twists. I needed watching it a couple of times before being able to fully grasp all details. Time travel, oh yes, like it or hate it, but there it is.
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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9
Luke_RiosNov 15, 2014
If you are trying to absorb this film in the same fashion that you would a box office topping flick, you will be lost, and disappointed at the end. This plot does no "hand holding" and is as ambiguous as it is hard to follow in the firstIf you are trying to absorb this film in the same fashion that you would a box office topping flick, you will be lost, and disappointed at the end. This plot does no "hand holding" and is as ambiguous as it is hard to follow in the first place. However, in its over-complexities, a light of genius shines in its ability to be an experience rather than a casual, two hour suspension from reality. This indie thought provoking piece will grab your college degree and break it in half. While usually being thrown in with an "Inception" this film creates no basis of time or space to go off of. You control you're own interpretation of this film. People make charts and graphs on this movie just to understand what is happening and when. Truly a mentally challenging experience that is as strange as it is intriguing. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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