Primer - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Primer Reviews

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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.
½ June 3, 2016
This is a movie with a genius and extremely complex storyline. A bit to complex for me. Be prepared for something very complicated and confussing if you intend to watch this movie.
½ May 27, 2016
The editing, and the dialogues unnecessarily, over complicate the movie. That is one of the reasons why this film was so hard to understand and boring. For example, the jump-cuts and lack of a bit exposition for the normal movie-goers. I've watched a bunch of sci-fi movies, even the masterpieces, but all of them explain what's going on a bit, or just make it so, you understand it, just by watching the movie, but this doesn't do that. The character development was bad, but it's okay since the movie is a small one. Even if you put aside the lack of exposition, character development, or explanation and editing, this movie is boring, plain-out boring, not interesting for me or entertaining and despite its run-time I was happy it ended and was checking how many minutes were left every five minutes. If you have patience, love watching really slow movies, and just want to watch something you might, just might like this movie and sit through it.
May 21, 2016
Surprisingly thought provoking and technical. It is a roughly shot and dense movie, but if you go in expecting to think, it is rewarding.
May 7, 2016
Primer is an okay film with an impressive concept to it which is quite original and unique and it is also incredibly realistic as well, but its characters are not as well realized, the acting is subpar as is the cinematography and the movie is too smart for its own sake leading to an almost incomprehensible experience. This is the kind of movie that I definitely respect, but I'm frankly not a big fan of.
April 21, 2016
Primer fits into the category of psychological thriller perfectly. I can't say that I followed even 50% of where the timeline progressed the first time through, but I was left wanting to work it out, even more so then after watching Inception. I came across a lengthy article where someone had actually broken everything down step by step, only coming to show just how mindful and aware the main characters had to be to have things progress the way they did. Definitely more than worth watching for anyone who enjoys anything similar to Thirteenth Floor, ExistenZ, etc.
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