Cast: Shane Carruth, David Sullivan
Director/writer: Shane Carruth
Made with the meager sum of 7 thousand dollars, Primer is an impressive accomplishment of frugal directing, unique storytelling and precise film making.
Driven by intellectual-sounding dialogue and a purposefully confusing story line, Primer is a film that invites inquisition, attention and conversation. Its intricacy is not meant to be understood but appreciated, a cinematic device that will push the casual thrill-seeking moviegoer away, and pull in the curious and the analytically driven. Its austere quality, both forced and conscious, adds realism, making us silent participants in the conversations of two friends whose invention rendered very surprising results.
Every time the film begins to become clearer and approachable, it consciously retreats back into itself, revealing its secrets only slightly, keeping our attention by demanding focus, flirting with resolution but never quite reaching it. The shots are close and personal but the characters remain far enough so that they are only partially understood and their motivations only generally relatable.
Being such a difficult art piece to fully appreciate, Primer will remain divisive and elusive to the average viewer. As a result, it will never be as loved as other finely crafted films. Primer is likely to remain at odds with the norm not by advancing it and being ahead of the curve, but by choosing to be reclusive and fraught with impossible riddles. Primer is destined to be one of those mysterious pieces that are revisited by future enthusiasts to craft films that borrow some of its ideas while making far more approachable cinema.
Primer is evidence that money in Hollywood does not necessarily buy quality. These are 7 thousand dollars well spent.
Rating: 3/5 (good)