PRIMER // “Primer” is a dense, low budget, science fiction film that sets out to explore the bare bones of time travel and the relationship between friends in discovering the ability to travel through time. Solidly produced on a $7,000 budget, Shane Carruth writes, directs, produces, edits, stars in, and scores this little American Indie that could. After stumbling across the discovery of time travel, two friends working out of their garage attempt to work some financial gain by way of entering into a box and letting their doubles go back in time to work the stock market. Intricate in their plans, the teams downfall occurs with their general lack of understanding despite coming off like they know exactly what they’re doing. Dealing with their doubles head on, the film requires multiple viewings to pick up the often dense material and shifting timelines. The most rudimentary and homegrown look at time travel to ever grace film, “Primer” is subtle and decisive on the subject matter and almost requires a basic knowledge of physics to follow. Despite the learning curve, the deadpan and spot on deliveries of the cast make the film feel real. Not to mention a script that has these actors speaking like actual astrophysicists. The perfect example of a low budget, independent film done right, “Primer” opens the door for science fiction subtly in cinema that allows for less CGI heavy infusions and more dramatic, down-to-earth endeavors.
[Directed by Shane Caruth] [PG-13] [77 min] [8 October 2003]