At night and on weekends, four men in a suburban garage have built a cottage industry of error-checking devices. But, they know that there is something more. There is some idea, some mechanism, some accidental side effect that is standing between them and a pure leap of innovation. And so, through trial and error they are building the device that is missing most. However, two of these men find the device and immediately realize that it is too valuable to market. The limit of their trust in each other is strained when they are faced with the question, If you always want what you can't have, what do you want when you can have anything?
Directed by: Shane Carruth
. Starring: Shane Carruth
, David Sullivan
, Casey Gooden
, Anand Upadhyaya
, Carrie Crawford
, Jay Butler
, John Carruth
, Juan Tapia
, Ashley Warren
, Samantha Thomson
, Chip Carruth
, Delaney Price
, Jack Pyland
. Music by: Shane Carruth
I'm writing this review to relieve myself of ever having to consider this movie again. Via an act of pure betrayal, the young comic book shop clerk with nose ring recommended this movie after I enjoyed her previous recommendation- Ex Machina.
All the technical aspects of this movie are terrible- but that's not the great sin. The great sin of this movie is that an intelligent, interested viewer (me, or you) will search this movie for clues that the viewer is supposed to know what is going on. I found myself listening closely to the crappy, confusing dialogue closely- recorded in such ridiculous places as a loud water fountain at night- for hints about what is going on. Worse, they are supposed to be looking for a cat- in the middle of a loud, water fountain at night? Not even the unknown cat behavior makes sense.
The first 30 minutes or so of the movie could be edited to 5 minutes- first part proving they are amateurs, the second part with professors saying, "this is what it is, but I don't believe it." Nor do we need a scientifically accurate explanation for how the time machine works- but a clear explanation is necessary. For instance, flux capacitor- check. Dilithium crystals- check. Here- what? Second, why would two seemingly "smart" dorks waste limitless money, and the ever-concerning time paradoxes, to punch someone in the face? One character is like, "that's stupid." In the next scene, he's saying, "let's do it." Third, people pass out for unknown reasons. What? Why? Just tired? I've pulled classic all nighters in grad school, but never just passed out. Hows does that advance the story? Meanwhile, the techno-dopes make it seem like it's part of the mysterious fun.
Fourth, if you need to be in the box for the entire time you are going back in time, then you'd be spending a long ass time (3-4 days) lying down in a box. And sometimes it seems only 1 person can be a in box, but one guy uses the others box. Is that why they pass out? Can you f@ tell us so we don't waste intellect on this conundrum? Then you can't turn off the time machine boxes when they're on(?) Or you can. Or you can recycle them- or use them only once(?) What? Maybe turn one off, and see what happens for fun. Instead, the movie features a pretentious narration that makes no sense- the telephone call can't go back in time, so who the hell is he calling? The double in the attic? He can't get to the phone, he's in the attic, dummy! Or, it's already after he's the big hero- in that case, attic double is being caught up to speed, and the narration is from the guy going full Bond villain building a massive time machine in French-land? What? And if you leave a message for yourself, would it be pretentious and confusing? No... "Hey Juris- guess what? You are a rich hero. Enjoy buddy! And if you see your former best friend, he wants to bang your wife- so be careful! I'm going insane as a bond villain in french speaking land, so enjoy until then. And the cat is not at the water fountain- I already looked. Peace!" And the guy in the attic- just drugged and waking up- how the F is he mistaken for a squirrel? He's not tied up, or even gagged- that's just stupid.
And Granger- he chases them, and passes out. And the other guy falls down to- but we don't see it. Okay- what happened, why should we care, and why did you waste your very limited resources on this? Who cares about Granger anyway- these guys should be yacht hunting, yes? Forget it. There are blogs (some make sense, some don't), diagrams (again, some make sense, some don't) but the truth is that it is too poorly written, edited, and audio-recorded to know what's going on.
And intelligent minds wrestle with this conundrum looking for a satisfactory conclusion- but there is none. That is the tragedy. The masses with a 100 I.Q. (and less) may see genius in an admittedly clever idea (that you have to turn a box on, and can return to that point at a later time, creating unique possibilities for parallel timelines and doubles interacting). But it is no more than clever- and it's screwed up magnificently.
At the end, one dork is accused of coveting the others wife and kid, and other threatens him not to come back. Why? And if there is a failsafe time machine, why tell the other d-bag about it? And if he sleuthed it out, when? And if he did sleuth it, the other d-bag would already be inside it, traveling back in time, right? So isn't it too late? Did he put a lock on the door? Maybe sign up using another name? See? It's too convoluted (and stupid) to accurately unf@&k. If my review is confusing, I saved you valuable time. And do not look for help in the director's commentary- he is too busy masturbating to his own genius(?), and being smarmy, to give any clue as to what he was trying to convey. He apologizes for his mistakes and technical failures like an abstract artist apologizes for a cat painting not looking like a cat- completely patronizing and full of himself. But the emperor has no clothes, and Primer is an incomplete, high school movie class B- at best.
There is a conspiracy, containing the cute comic book shop clerk, that continues to give this movie life, and drive intelligent movie watchers insane. I am relieved of madness, and do not wish the same fate on you.
Review by juriswtchdr from the Internet Movie Database.