Primer (2003)

Primer (2003)

You've never heard of this movie, but please hear it now. Primer won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival and has drawn repeat viewers eager to crack writer-director-star Shane Carruth's puzzler of a time-travel drama. Carruth, an engineer by training, plays inventor Aaron, whose entrepreneurial partnership with fellow brainiac Abe (David Sullivan) unexpectedly results in a process for traveling back several hours in time. The men initially use these rewind sessions to succeed in the stock market. But a dark consequence of their daily journeys eventually complicates matters. If this sounds like a very commercial, science fiction thriller, Primer is anything but that. Shot on 16mm for $7,000, the film has a tantalizing, sealed-in logic, akin to Memento, that forces viewers to see the fantastic with a certain dispassion. One may be tempted to sit through Primer again to more fully understand its paradoxes and ethical quandaries. You have to want to understand this movie. Watch it once, and you'll never get it. Watch it twice, and you'll like it even more, but won't understand it. Watch it three times, once with the commentary on and then read about it for 6 hours on the internet and you'll begin to understand. It takes dedication, but its worth it.