STARRING: Shane Carruth, David Sullivan, Casey Gooden, Anand Upadhyaya, Carrie Crawford

2004, 77 Minutes, Directed by:
Shane Carruth

I had a similar treasured experience with Primer as I did with Babylon 5 and 2001: A Space Odyssey . . .

For starters, I watched each of them with no particular expectations or preconceptions. Specifically, I watched it in bed on my laptop with headphones on while my companion had her usual sinful Sunday lie-in. Despite the less than ideal viewing environment watching Primer turned out to be a treasured experience . . .

In the spirit of the above I do not want to give too much away about the story (which is why this review has no plot description).

However, I will say that Primer is based around a perennial sci-fi story-telling mechanism, but you do not know that until you are fairly well into the film. That's what I love about this film - it doesn't force feed you any information. It was really only by the end of the film that one realizes what had actually been going on for the previous hour and a half. I imagine that could be intensely irritating, but the believable characters and intelligent pacing of the story ensure one’s engagement throughout.

I can disclose a little: the story is centered on the industrial science exploits of four young professionals and is somewhat reminiscent of the book Timescape by Gregory Benford (though thankfully rather less drawn out).

In the interest of a balanced viewpoint, if I think hard about it I would perhaps criticize certain elements of the last third of the film which I found really confusing and necessitated repeat viewing of that last section. (Some more nastily inclined might say though that the blame for that lies with my own limited mental capacity.)

Oddly enough one of the stars of the show is a self-storage container - surely one of the most mundane objects in existence. Nevertheless it is essential in a classic moment of revelation - "Oh, they're not going to do that are they..?! They are! Brilliant!" You will enjoy that.

So, please do not head straight for or any other sites to find out what the story is about, amusing trivia involving a rice cooker, the release date in Hungary, etc . . .

Well, actually you can do what you like, but don't blame me if it spoils your fun!

- Geoff Clayton



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