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Primer (2004)

tomatometer

72

Average Rating: 6.6/10
Reviews Counted: 119
Fresh: 86 | Rotten: 33

Dense, obtuse, but stimulating, Primer is a film for viewers ready for a cerebral challenge.

71

Average Rating: 6.5/10
Critic Reviews: 31
Fresh: 22 | Rotten: 9

Dense, obtuse, but stimulating, Primer is a film for viewers ready for a cerebral challenge.

audience

81

liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 43,821

My Rating

Movie Info

The debut feature from filmmaker Shane Carruth -- who wrote, directed, photographed, edited, scored, and stars -- Primer is a psychological sci-fi thriller about a group of four tech entrepreneurs. Toiling away in a garage, the quartet have successfully created error-checking systems for their clients. But their recent work seems to have created an unexpected and seemingly impossible side-effect. Suddenly, two members of the group realize they are in possession of a device that can double, or

Apr 5, 2005

$0.4M

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Latest News on Primer

March 16, 2005:
Ebert's Overlooked Film Festival 2005
A 70-mm French comedy by Jacques Tati will open my 7th annual Overlooked Film Festival this April,...

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All Critics (125) | Top Critics (32) | Fresh (86) | Rotten (33) | DVD (26)

Mind-bending thrillers like Primer are terrific viewing with your teenagers. Maybe if you're nice, they'll explain the ending to you.

February 8, 2008 Full Review Source: Denver Post | Comment (1)
Denver Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Scary, puzzling, and different.

June 4, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This film imagines its viewers to be smart, possessed of a decent attention span and game for a challenge. It doesn't happen all that often.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An unapologetically cerebral movie of ideas.

December 3, 2004 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's one thing to admire what writer/director/composer/actor Shane Carruth wrought on his $1.98 digicam budget; it's quite another to have to sit through the mind-numbing results.

December 3, 2004 Full Review Source: Toronto Star | Comments (2)
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The ingenious debut of writer-director Shane Carruth, who assembled the film on his home computer and also plays one of the two leads, is purposely designed to be a little bewildering.

December 3, 2004 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Where's Doc Brown when you need him?

April 22, 2013 Full Review Source: LarsenOnFilm
LarsenOnFilm

Shot for a begged and borrowed $7,000, 'Primer' looks it: grainy-ish, fuzzy on details and effects, acting running the gamut from A to B, and clipped incomprehensible technobabble for dialogue.

April 13, 2013 Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

ridiculous, confusing, vaguely noir-ish nonsense

August 24, 2010 Full Review Source: Cinema Writer
Cinema Writer

Discombobulating and mind-bending sci fi thriller. I think.

July 22, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinemania

An exceptional science fiction film...

April 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

Oh, man, they don't make 'em like this often. A film unabashedly for the nerds in the audience (God love us), this is the type of film you could inflict upon your enemies, watching them squirm as they stare at the screen.

June 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Scouts
Film Scouts

Shane Carruth's ultra-low budget, 78-minute sci-fi film could almost be a 'B' movie from the past if not for its icy intelligence.

May 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Shane Carruth's Primer is a science fiction movie like no other, pushing its experimental tendencies as far as they can go without betraying the genre

August 30, 2005 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Confident and well-woven.

August 25, 2005 Full Review Source: FilmFocus

One of the most original and intriguing film debuts of the last few years.

August 20, 2005 Full Review Source: ViewLondon
ViewLondon

Not recommended for entry-level time-travel theorists, but experienced 'chrononauts' will meet themselves scratching their heads in amused puzzlement as they emerge from an earlier screening.

August 19, 2005 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

One of the most wilfully obscure sci-fi movies ever made, Primer will either blow your mind or drive you out of it.

August 9, 2005 Full Review Source: BBC.com
BBC.com

If he could've made some sense of it in the end, Carruth'd have a masterpiece on his hands.

June 28, 2005 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

Even at a short 77 minutes, Primer is bloated, draggy, cumbersome, confusing, and almost entirely unengaging

June 20, 2005 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

Una joya de ritmo y de temática.

June 13, 2005 Full Review Source: Cinenganos
Cinenganos

I didn't understand Primer; worse yet, I didn't care.

June 1, 2005 | Comments (4)

Primer est un film difficile à détester, mais encore plus difficile à pleinement apprécier.

May 25, 2005

Audience Reviews for Primer

Well executed thriller, Primer is a film that manages to use a simple concept to create a picture, and it boasts a small cast as well, and an interesting story. I enjoyed the film for what it was; and felt that the filmmakers were able to make something quite interesting with the idea that they used to make the film. Primer isn't perfect, and at times it feels like it had plenty of potential to be so much more as well, and I think that if the director would have rewritten the script and changed a few things around, then maybe, the film would have really stood out. As a whole, the film is only really worth seeing once, as it doesn't necessitate multiple viewings. However, for what it is, it's a well made low budget feature that has some good performances, an interesting story and good direction to make things interesting for the viewer. Primer could have been so much more in terms of a thriller, and who knows what this film could have been if the script would have been slightly reworked. As it stands, this is a good movie, one that is unique in the way that it uses its concept, but it's far from the film that it could have been. This is worth seeing if you enjoy low budget indie picture, and for the most part, it's a skillfully crafted affair and it's entertaining, but you do end up wanting more out of the film, especially due to its short run time. Genre fans might enjoy this one, but for anyone else, you'll surely want more out of the film.
August 1, 2014
TheDudeLebowski65
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

I am so confused...
January 9, 2014
itsjustme2004

Super Reviewer

Paradoxes are fun
October 15, 2013
Spencer Macklin

Super Reviewer

    1. Aaron: What's worse: thinking you're paranoid or knowing you should be?
    – Submitted by Chris R (23 months ago)
    1. Abe: Aaron, I can imagine no way in which this thing could be considered anywhere remotely close to safe. All I know is I spent six hours in there and I'm still alive... You still want to do it?
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
    1. Aaron: Man, are you hungry? I haven't eaten since later this afternoon.
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
View all quotes (3)

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