The Sunday Cult Film Corner: “Primer (2004)”

20 Nov

You know, i think that sometimes i´m too easy on your lot. Here i am slugging my guts to provide you with entertainment and some possible educational nourishment, and what do i get in return? Nothing! (apart from the odd howl of adulation or snark). At the same time i don’t think you, my reader, that you are not progressing enough in your sentience and education to survive in the real wide world.

So for this weeks cult film, I’m taking the logical gloves off as we look at the reals of quantum physics and time travel that make Inception look like a copy of “See Spot Run”. Ladies and Gents, i give to you PRIMER.

Primer is a low-budget Sci-Fi written, produced and directed in 2004 by Shane Carruth. It tells the story of four engineers who one, while working on a project in their spare time, accidentally build the workings of a time machine, specifically travelling into the past. After some initial forays, their minds turn toward the possibilities (stock market manipulations, relationships, averting disasters). But after a perceived malfunction, mistrust and paranoia grow amongst the engineers as they each try to angle each other out of the discovery. But which one will be successful and have the ability to change the world?

first off, PRIMER will make your head bleed, in that its experimental plot structure was doing to filmgoers what Inception and Memento would do several years later (the wiki for the film has a handy diagram to explain the mechanic of this version of time travel). Due to the low budgets, the generic “crash band wallop” of generic Sci-Fi has been replaced with a more philosophical narrative on the morals and merits of time travel, as it tries to ask the question “What would actually happen if you could go back in time?” The budget restriction also means that the film has a very cheap feel to its production. Shaky camerawork, slightly blurred visuals, and storage depots and garages for locations. No multiple dimensions or new worlds here.

But despite this, Primer is a very weird, but thoughtful and highly inventive film. I do recommend watching it at least a couple of times before you get the gist.

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Posted by on November 20, 2011 in Film


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