Saturday, 18 May 2013

Film Review: PRIMER (2004)

Primer - poster Writer/Director: Shane Carruth
Running time: 77 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12

Genre: Drama/Thriller/Sci-Fi
UK Release date: 19th August 2005

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 18th May 2013.


This is a film that has been on my radar for quite a while now; I understand it has quite a cult following, which was enough to peek my interest. Time travel films can be a tad problematic in that the consequences of it are never fully explained. This one goes a little way to, at least, partially putting that right. I must say I did enjoy it, with a couple of reservations, but more of that after this very brief summary.

Primer - 6 We begin with four guys; Aaron (Shane Carruth), Abe (David Sullivan), Robert (Casey Gooden) and Philip (Anand Upadhyaya) all working on some project in a garage. It’s never full explained just what they’re up to but when two of them, Aaron and Abe, make an important discovery we don’t see much of the other guys again. At first they don’t know exactly what it is but eventually they discover they can use it to travel through time to the past (only about a day). Initially they use it to make money on the stock market; taking care to isolate themselves from the world while their ‘doubles’ are at large. But you know there are going to be consequences and that’s about all I’m going to tell you.

Primer - 3 An independent film full of nice ideas but maybe without the budget to fully realise some of their potential. Nicely scripted, although I did find it a little too ‘wordy’ in places. Performance wise; both Shane Carruth and David Sullivan did an excellent job. The film hangs on these two characters and I thought they both pulled it off to an excellent standard! I found the film quite absorbing at first; there’s enough mystery there and I know enough about engineering for it to keep my interest. It did, however, become a little wearing towards the end, I think because the film relies so much on the dialogue between Aaron and Abe to tell the story and there is so much to take in that I found I was in ‘dialogue overload’ by the end. I think I’ll probably have to watch it again sometime to fully appreciate it, but well worth a look; it’s an interesting take on the time travel theme.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 7.1/10.

IMDb Score: 6.9/10 (based on 37,473 votes when this review was written).

MetaScore: 68/100: (Based on 25 critic reviews provided by at the time of going to press).

Primer - 2 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 73/100 (based on 120 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 79/100 (based on 41,919 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).

If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:

Abe: I just want you to see it the way I saw it.
Aaron: I am trying, okay, I really am here.
Abe: Look, everything we're putting into that box becomes ungrounded, and I don't mean grounded like to the earth, I mean, not tethered. I mean, we're blocking whatever keeps it moving forward and so they flip-flop. Inside the box it's like a street, both ends are cul-de-sacs. I mean, this isn't frame dragging or wormhole magic this is basic mechanics and heat 101.
Aaron: This is *not* mechanics and heat.

Aaron: Man, are you hungry? I haven't eaten since later this afternoon.

Kara: Did you call pest control?
Aaron: Babe, they're birds. You don't want a bunch of dead baby birds up there, do you?
Kara: They don't sound like birds.
Aaron: [to Abe] She thinks there are rats in the attic.

Primer - 10 Abe: Do you have anything important going on at work today?
Aaron: I hope you're not implying that any day is unimportant at Cortex Semi.

[last lines]
Aaron: [voiceover] Now I have repaid any debt I may have owed you. You know all that I know. My voice is the only proof that you will have of the truth of any of this. I might have written a letter with my signature, but my handwriting is not what it used to be. Maybe you've had the presence of mind to record this. That's your prerogative. You will not be contacted by me again. And if you look... you will not find me.

Primer - 7 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site:

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