Metascore
68

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

User Score
7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 94 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: 32 out of 41
  2. Negative: 7 out of 41
  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. Expand
  2. JeffS.
    Jul 18, 2006
    10
    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
  3. Mick
    Sep 10, 2007
    10
    One of the strangest viewing experiences i've had; it won't be for everybody!
  4. Susi
    Jul 19, 2006
    8
    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
  5. Feb 11, 2013
    8
    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 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
  6. ChadS.
    Oct 18, 2005
    7
    "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. Collapse
  7. Printninja
    Dec 1, 2005
    0
    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 41 User Reviews

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