Primer


This movie's premise has been explored before, though never quite in this way. It's difficult to review this movie without giving too much away. In fact, it's nearly impossible, so I'll just say a few quick things before explaining what the movie is sort of about.

     The whole premise is very interesting and will give you something to talk about with your co-watchers for hours after the conclusion. However, it is very confusing and discombobulated. The movie runs at less than 90 minutes and needed to be longer for things to be adequately explained. The budget for the film was apparently around $7000, and the main character is also the writer, director, producer, cinematographer, editor and musical director. So it is truly a student film. It did win the grand-jury prize at Sundance, so you know it's at least intriguing. But there just isn't enough substance to give a positive review. The overall premise of the story is great, but it needed more time, more production responsibility and more money. It just isn't done well: poor sound and picture quality, sub-par acting performances and mediocre editing at best.

      There are no spoilers upcoming per se, but I am going to discuss some intracacies; so if you're one of those people that would rather not know too much of what the story entails, read no further. This is the story of Abe and Aaron; two guys who accidentally build a machine that enables them to go back in time one day and change things as they see fit. The only problem is, when they do this, there is now a body double of each of them. The doubles then unkowingly begin to "cause trouble." So it is basically a student sci-fi film with an underlying lesson of trust and friends. Sounds interesting right? Well it is, except that it takes so long for this part of the story to get going and by the time it does, we are so confused about what's happening, that we almost don't care anymore. One of my crticisms of the film was it's length. Not enough time to exaplain things. But it was also long enough that I'm glad it ended. It was just getting more and more confusing and convoluted as it went along, with no end in sight.

      The film explores the realm of the grandfather paradox. This is the quandry that is the reason why many scientists don't believe time travel to the past is possible. It postulates what would happen if you went back in time and killed your grandfather while he was still young; what would happen? That's not exactly what happens in this film, but the same principles apply; messing with the past. I'm not going to discuss the philosophy here, I would just say that the film raises some interesting questions and delivers no answers. It only furthers my confusion. That is partly, I think, what many actually liked about the film. Lots of technical jargon to make us feel like it's really happening and we are by-standers observing from a safe distance, even though we have no idea what's really going on. But the whole film is just too smart for it's own good, and I think the creator was in over his head.

      Looking back on this review, it is much like the film itself. Convoluted and non-sensical. I can't help but think what this film could've been with a studio backed great crew and more money to put behind it. The best part of the film are the end credits. Now you can discuss with friends what the hell happened and other philosophical details of time travel. That is where the genius of this film lies - the after discussion you can have with others. A second viewing is definitely needed to understand what the hell is happening, but a second viewing would remove a perfectly good 88 minutes of my life that I don't want to commit to this movie. After all, I can't go back in time and redo it. A good line of the movie: "I'm hungry. I haven't eaten since later this afternoon."









drewbacca@moviepatron.com