Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 90 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , ,
  • Summary: While tweaking their current project, two young engineers accidentally discover that it has some highly unexpected capabilities--ones that could enable them to do and to have seemingly anything they want. Taking advantage of this unique opportunity is the first challenge they face. Dealing with the consequences is the next. (ThinkFilm) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 25
  2. Negative: 2 out of 25
  1. 100
    Primer unites physics and metaphysics in an ingenious guerrilla reinvention of cinematic science fiction.
  2. 88
    It is maddening, fascinating and completely successful.
  3. 80
    A dense and dazzling science-fiction mind-bender unassumingly dressed up in a tech geek’s short-sleeved oxford shirt, pocket protector and safety goggles.
  4. The movie may be too precious for mass consumption, but its filmmakers' willingness to assume the best of their audience, combined with its Everyman origins, suggest a movie that deserves a chance.
  5. Reviewed by: Kim Newman
    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.
  6. Reviewed by: Neva Chonin
    Doesn't always work, but it challenges, nonetheless.
  7. 25
    A real head-scratcher that somehow won the grand jury prize at this year's Sundance Film Festival.

See all 25 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 39
  2. Negative: 7 out of 39
  1. 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 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. Expand
  2. Mick
    Sep 10, 2007
    One of the strangest viewing experiences i've had; it won't be for everybody!
  3. 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. Expand
  4. Jan 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 of such simple props. Expand
  5. 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.
  6. Aug 10, 2014
    I usually pay attention to details while watching a movie and am able to conclude the story at the end, but Primer is impossibly hard to follow. I could figure out what was going on only after reading a huge explanation article. The story is really complex as it is based on time travels, but I repeat myself, you probably won't dig it if you just watch the movie once. The other problem is Primer is really boring, most of the time nothing happens, the characters seem to take their discovery pretty casually. I respect that most of the work was made by one man, but still it could be much better. Expand
  7. Printninja
    Dec 1, 2005
    This is one of those movies that has you wondering why... Why would anyone bother to make it? Why would anyone be interested in putting a thoroughly uninteresting story on screen? Why did it receive such positive critical review? It was also one of those movies that you just keep watching, minute after excruciating minute, in the desperate hope that something, anything, remotely interesting (or merely comprehensible) will happen. This movie made me feel like I was watching the dramatic version of Revenge of the Nerds. I watched the entire thing without ever once wanting to. Now that's some sweet revenge, but did I deserve it? For the record, I am a technophile, with a pretty good understanding of "geek speak", and I still couldn't get the jist of this train wreck. Another movie made to appeal primarily to the filmakers, and the .00001% of the population who understood whatever the heck it was they were trying to say. In a word, Exasperating. (also, why did they choose to call it Primer? Makes about as little sense as the movie.) Expand

See all 39 User Reviews


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