Primer

Primer Poster

A film about a group of engineers by day who get together in the evening in a garage to sell electronic modules and come up with ideas for making money. Two of the four have an idea they decide to keep to themselves and it turns out to be further reaching than anyone could have expected. Saying anymore than that would possibly spoil the impact of the film. In case that doesn’t bother you I’ve tried to explain the plot below the review in a bit more detail.

The plot itself is a simple enough one and standard for the discipline of physics in question, albeit done with a fresh take and a pragmatic feel, which unfortunately only highlights how bad the screenplay must be to make it seem at times so utterly incomprehensible. It’s a film of 3 acts really: Act 1 – the background setting, building of the machine and discovery of it’s incredible function (believable and intriguing); Act 2 – the experimentation with the function of the machine (amusingly down to earth); Act 3 – scrabbling for an ending the story suddenly goes in 3 different completely random directions, all of which abruptly stop (what just happened there?). There’s one scene for example where for no reason the main characters are discussing the finer details of their concept surrounded by a fountain, holding torches looking for a cat. It comes from nowhere, makes no sense as a scene in the film and after the scene’s finished you’re none the wiser about anything.

As for the other aspects of the film, visually it’s impressive. It has a great look about it with some vivid primary coloured filters over most scenes and grainy look lending it an identity. The audio track is unfortunately another issue altogether. Right from the first scene it’s painfully obvious that the sound track was recorded separately to the film track and it’s just AWFUL. The lip-synching is terrible, the voices are clinical, removed and sound as if they’ve been recorded in a studio, because of that they spend half the time stepping over each other, background noises are added when they shouldn’t be and omitted when they should (cars silently glide past in one scene, or it sounds like they’ve got a motorway inside their garage in another) and it is really, really, incredibly distracting.

It’s a film that sits somewhere between Pi and another film I probably shouldn’t mention for plot-spoiler reasons, but is nowhere near as good as either of them.

And just what on earth is all that observational, shotgun nonsense at the end?

2 on 5

Info:
Directed by: Shane Carruth
Starring: Shane Carruth, David Sullivan
UK Release: 19 August 2005

SPOILER SECTION:

The comparison I was making is with Pi and Back To The Future as it turns out they invent a time machine of sorts. By placing an inanimate object into their box, it oscillates quickly between two points and emerges having experienced about 20 hours in a few minutes. They deduce that by building a big enough box to fit themselves in they could leave the loop at the earlier point and emerge in the past. This is what they do – go and turn the machine on at, say 12 midday, isolate themselves in a hotel room away from external contact for the day, check some stocks and shares on the way back to the box, turn off the machine and enter it at around 6pm, then emerge at midday again, living the day from that point. As for what happens in the last half and hour of the film, well it’s anyone’s guess!

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One thought on “Primer

  1. John says:

    Frags
    I watched this again the other day and I’m not really any the clearer!
    I think you have to be down with the notion that if you go back in time and stop yourself from travelling back in time, you will still have 2 versions of yourself back in time – the future one won’t cease to exist.
    I’m off to watch Bill and Ted’s excellent adventure.

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