Primer (2004) starring Shane Carruth, David Sullivan, Casey Gooden, Anand Upadhyaya, Carrie Crawford, Samantha Thomson directed by Shane Carruth Movie Review

Primer (2004)   4/54/54/54/54/5

David Sullivan and Shane Carruth in Primer (2004)

If I Could Turn Back Time

"Primer" is by no means a perfect movie, well what do you expect for a movie made for just $7,000, but it is more captivating than many a big budget movie. Why? Well it is the combination of two things "mystery" and "consequence" because this low budget movie which Shane Carruth wrote, directed, acted in and pretty much had a hand in everything delivers this mixture which makes you want to watch and work out what is going on. To put it more bluntly "Primer" is what a lot of people refer to as a "mind fuck" movie but one without any expensive bells and whistles, just an idea and an ability to make you want to watch.

Friends Aaron (Shane Carruth), Abe (David Sullivan), Robert (Casey Gooden) and Phillip (Anand Upadhyaya) spend all their free time working in Aaron's garage on an invention, ripping the copper from refrigerators and cutting of catalytic converters to get the platinum. They don't fully understand what it is they are inventing but they know they are on the verge of something big. When Abe and Aaron realise exactly what it is they have invented they shut the other two out as the possibilities appear endless.

Shane Carruth in Primer (2004)

I've already mentioned that "Primer" is by no means perfect and there are numerous issues that you would expect when you talk low-budget, from acting to dialogue, camera work and special effects. But then I have to applaud Shane Carruth because within the first 5 minutes he hooks you and the fact the acting is shaky and the camera work looks amateur becomes unimportant. And he keeps this going through out because for the first third as we watch these friends argue over what they are inventing and what to do whilst banding around techie phrases makes you very curious as to what it is they are up to. It's not that the dialogue is in itself good but because they seem so passionate and protective whilst also being elusive makes us want to know.

But then you get the next third of the movie where Abe and Aaron discover what the machine does when Abe has this mysterious protein in a bag, a protein which is 5 times stronger than it should be. Now for those who would rather not know anything I suggest you just watch the movie because I need to mention something. Basically Abe and Aaron realise they have made a time machine which if they scale up will allow them to travel back in time over a limited period. So what we get now is what this means, what are the possibilities and implications of travelling through time and of course we have the time travel paradox of what happens to the other versions of you if you travel back in time. And yes this is the start of it messing with your mind as you try to get your head around the various technicalities of what is happening.

But then "Primer" is not over yet because there is a final third part to the movie which messes with your mind even more and I am not even going to mention what I would say is a movie influence because then it would spoil things. What I will say is that it does become harder to follow, harder to get your head around what is happening and the twists but it is still so fascinating that you still try. And to think all of this for $7,000 and it proves that a good idea and a director who knows how to hook an audience can deliver the same level of entertainment as a big budget blockbuster.

What this all boils down to is that don't let the low budget aspect of "Primer" put you off because it will hook you quickly and keep you hooked right up until the credits roll.