Turbo Review: Primer (2004)


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A group of entrepreneurial tinkerers stumble upon an unintended use for their latest project – time travel!

Shane Carruth’s film is as low-fi as sci-fi gets, with a story that at times feels like a theoretical physics lecture with all manner of jargon thrown frantically upon us from the outset.

With a grainy low budget feel and look it’s hard at first to truly understand what the heck is going on in Primer as two breakaway boffins, Aaron and Abe figure out all manner of complex schedules to avoid paradoxes, causality and their other selves in a vastly complicated but fresh take on a cinema mainstay.

The central performances from novices Shane Carruth and David Sullivan are remarkably good as they deliver reams of perplexing theory and tech-speak. A noir style narration helps in trying to explain some of what goes on; depending on your take, Primer is either a genius piece of indie film-making or amateurish nonsense.

Completely puzzling, ridiculously unique and speaking in a language all its own it could be seen as being far too clever for its own good but it succeeds to rework the fundamentals of time travel in a unique way. Challenging – yes, Bamboozling – definitely, if you want to put your grey matter through a workout then look no further.

Multiple watches recommended.

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20 responses to “Turbo Review: Primer (2004)

  1. Still, even to this day, I have no clue what the hell fully went down in this movie. However, I remain optimistic in finding out one day. Good review.

  2. I completely agree with this review… except, at the end, I’d still give it a 5! Have you watched the director’s commentary? I’d highly recommend it… it really opens the film up.

    • I may do that and take in quite a few more views (twice so far) as I suspect there is far more to it. Haven t seen the commentary, may well seek it out. Thanks Orange ;)

    • I’m going to be watching this for Readers Recommendations next week, on Mark’s suggestion. LOL. So I know he’d give it a five. A bit discouraging to see it get a three here (Sorry, skipped the review, checked the score). Hopefully I shake out closer to his opinion than yours, I’m hoping its a kick ass film!!

  3. We reviewed this just the other day! It was made for just $7000 by a mathematician. What a genius. I LOVED it, but don’t understand it fully at all! Needs about 3 more viewings

  4. You certainly got me intrigued Kev. I read another review of this earlier in the week and was flabbergasted by such a low budget!

    • he, he I like to raise the profile of lesser seen movies, looking to do a bit more of it. The budget is meager to say the least, punches well above its weight!

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