Primer - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Primer Reviews

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½ December 24, 2016
I'm a dumb monkey and I didn't understand this movie since it lacks basic exposition and explaining. It still has awesome ideas though
½ December 22, 2016
I like the fact that the film is very technical and doesn't try to dumb any of the science down. It has a really interesting take on time travel but it somehow comes across as kinda boring. Progression seems to take a long time. But still, recommended if you really like time travel.
½ December 16, 2016
Utterly amazing! This is only for thinking people! You have to watch it, then read about it online, and then watch it again...and possibly for a 3rd and 4th time to fully appreciate the genius! A movie made by an engineer, it is a success!
November 14, 2016
Trying to look smart by telling and showing less? Really?
October 27, 2016
Probably the most logistical time travel movie ever made but that doesn't make it great. It's an amazing idea that's just not executed that well. The budget is one limit but it feels it's missing a lot of pieces given the amount of ideas it throws at you. I admire it for not giving a fuck what its audience will think and just making the movie the director wanted to make regardless of budget constrictions and science but this kind of feels like half the story it is.
October 23, 2016
Too smart for the audience
½ September 10, 2016
I totally understand everything that happened, I'm just not gonna tell you...
Super Reviewer
½ September 5, 2016
Boyfriend thinks it's the best low-budget film ever made. I found the acting and dialogue great and believable, but the story never raised the stakes enough for me to care. Still under the limitations, fantastic movie and rewatchable.
½ August 23, 2016
I'm a time travel story junkie. I have been into time travel stories for as long as I can remember. The problem with this film isn't that it concerns time travel. The problem is that the story is not well-fleshed. The audio is hard to follow, and the story points are clearly added in later as an afterthought.

Even on rewatching it really doesn't make sense. Not because it is time travel, but because the story is not fleshed out enough to leave breadcrumbs for the uninitiated (people who have not read the script) to be able to follow it. In the end you have to take the narrator's word for it that the film makes sense.

There is a story here. I personally hope someone else takes the time to tell it well.
½ August 10, 2016
Intense with small means.
½ August 6, 2016
I really enjoyed the complex story, but the movie itself didn't give you any sort of intense feel.
August 2, 2016
simple.. they are confused as we are.. a new genre of realism. i liked it.. not a time pass movie.. but a must watch for movie lovers..
July 30, 2016
....goddamn what a mind trip of a movie.
July 26, 2016
best time travel movie ever
½ July 19, 2016
Too smart for me. If I have to use a chart to figure it out then count me out.
July 18, 2016
Great movie but very complicated. I've seen it once and want to watch it a few more times to unravel more of the puzzle
½ July 10, 2016
A pure treat for the mind. Primer will keep you thinking and racing, trying to keep up with the plot and it's developments. Not just meant for the sci-fi geeks, this movie will appeal to anyone with a lust for science. It's very exciting and touches on some great themes.
June 27, 2016
Hollywood sci-fi films are bad, don't watch them.
June 14, 2016
this is not a film for normal audiences, hard to catch up, but very nice for a budget of $7000
June 6, 2016
Time travel in fiction has gained a sense of notoriety as it has progressed further and further and introduced more complex ideas to the minds of moviegoers. What was at first an innocent, perhaps childlike idea of visiting a different era or watching your past self from third person has evolved into a mindbending concept full of casual loops, grandfather paradoxes, and a general lack of coherence.

With Shane Carruth's Primer, the concept of time travel is pushed as far as it will go. The film is infamous for just how complex its time travel concepts, involving multiple timelines and "doubles" occupying the same time plane as "originals," become to progress its plot. It's lack of traditional exposition is both masterful and infuriating, as it forces you to put the pieces together yourself without any hand-holding. Anyone claiming to completely understand this one after one viewing is a bold faced liar.

It's all so complex, but it's not the point: in fact, it almost feels like Carruth is commenting on the impracticality and incoherence of time travel. The two leads clash with their ideals of time travel usage, one being rash and doing-before-thinking, the other being more hesitant and careful. It's this relationship that drives the movie, and acts as a very interesting character study in the process.

Purely as a film in a technical sense, it's a marvel. Produced for just $7,000 (pocket change for the producers of the "Big Six" movie studios) and nearly a one-man show (Carruth directed, wrote, produced, starred in, edited, and composed), Primer has no reason to look as good as it does. It helps that it's so grounded in reality in terms of production value as well as narrative. The time travel device is nothing flashy, and fits perfectly in the garage workshop that puts Jobs and Wozniak's setup to shame. The camerawork is simple, and doesn't distract us from the story with any camera tricks for the sake of making the film "look cool." It's essentially substance over style, a refreshing change of pace from visual heavy films that lack strong narratives.

With one film, Shane Carruth proves himself to be a force to be reckoned with. Such experimental filmmaking as this is rare, but Carruth has breathed new life into indie filmmaking. It's not even something you have to understand to appreciate: considering just how complex this one is, that's a blessing.
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