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68

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

User Score
7.4

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
    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.
  6. Reviewed by: Neva Chonin
    50
    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. 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, 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. Collapse
  2. Jun 22, 2011
    10
    (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. Expand
  3. Jun 29, 2012
    9
    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 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
  4. Jan 20, 2013
    8
    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
    7
    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.
    Expand
  6. Aug 10, 2014
    6
    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. Jan 26, 2013
    1
    I would echo Printninja's review, but I'm so frustrated that I actually paid money to rent this movie I feel the need to put that dissatisfaction into my own words. From the minute this festering turd of a film starts, one is subjected to a scene with uninitiated characters spouting overly-complex dialogue that makes zero sense to the layperson. Or maybe the biggest problem was that there was nothing remotely interesting about the story, or any of the characters for that matter, that made me CARE to figure out what they were trying to accomplish. They're computer nerds tinkering in the garage, seemingly trying to come up with some new product to make money. And they accomplish this by constantly, without respite, speaking technical jargon that won't make sense to anyone short of Physics PhDs, experienced Engineers, or Computer Science geniuses. Does that sound like an interesting plot? If so, go for it. But don't say you weren't warned. Expand

See all 39 User Reviews

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