Primer

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Released 2004

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7.0
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Movie Summary

Director:
Shane Carruth
Released:
2004
Rating:
PG-13
Primer is a 2004 American dramatic science fiction film in which an engineer accidentally builds a machine that can transport the user backwards in time. Primer was written, directed, and produced by Shane Carruth who made it on a budget of only $7,000 dollars. Carruth also acts in the film, co-starring with David Sullivan. The film features an elaborate experimental plot structure and is full of complex technical dialogue. It was a 2004 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize Winner. The time machine is accidently made when a group of four engineers who are trying to create technology that will reduce the weight of an object. Their device works, and reduces weight, but causes a strange side effect as seen in the fact that a timepiece left there has experienced 1300 times the amount of time that the actual device was active for...Realizing this is time travel one of the engineers secretly designs a larger version of the device that can hold a person and begins experimenting with it. He travels back to earlier in the day ad explains the results to one of the other engineers. The two begin to build an additional machine and cut out the others from the discovery. Things get more and more complicated from there on out...moreless

Metacritic Score

  • 88

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    It is maddening, fascinating and completely successful.

  • 70

    Los Angeles Times

    Frustrating as I ultimately found it, Primer is undeniably geek heaven. For everyone else, it's a nice antidote to big-budget bogusness.

  • 60

    The New York Times Dana Stevens

    At a certain point, Mr. Carruth's fondness for complexity and indirection crosses the line between ambiguity and opacity, but I hasten to add that my bafflement is colored by admir...

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Sci fi that doesn't wait for you to catch up

    9.5
    An all time favorite. The movie forces you to catch up with the action instead of preventing simplified explanations of time travel*. By the end you will have pieced together a rough understanding, but more importantly the implications of what two garage scientists have concocted won't be something you forget soon.



    *I'd also recommend Looper, in which Bruce Willis even calls out a desire not to talk about the how or "We'd be here all day making diagrams withmoreless

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Themes

Psychological