Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Movie Review: Primer
I recently watched Primer, an independent film made in 2004. The movie is about two friends, both engineers and fledgling entrepreneurs who create a time machine in their garage. Things begin to unravel when one of the characters seems to get addicted to time travel, and their continued use of the machine without full understanding of it leads to a breakdown in trust as well as some presumably faulty attempts to alter past and future occurrences. Unfortunately, you never really get to see what happens and what goes wrong, it is just alluded to during interactions between the two main characters. I was looking forward to watching it, because I'd heard good things about it, but basically, I hated it. The plot is extremely confusing, mainly because once they start time traveling, they only go back or forward for short time periods, so you can't really tell if the character on screen is a real-time version, or a future version who has traveled back. I don't like movies that make me feel stupid (see Syriana...which I enjoyed far more than this one; at least it had a point). I suppose if I watched it again, I would know what clues to look for and could probably figure out the plot a bit more, but I don't have the patience to sit through Primer twice. I did find a detailed online explanation of the plot (spoiler alert!), so if you've watched this movie and need help figuring it out, look no further. A couple of other things about the movie annoyed me- first of all, the two main characters are much too handsome and preppy to be believable as true enginerds. They wear ties all of time, too, which struck me as odd. A lot has been made of the fact that the entire film was done on a $7000 budget, but I, for one, was not impressed. Part of me thinks much of the praise I've heard is Emperor's New Clothes syndrome: people are reluctant to admit that they didn't get it, so they pretend like they did and talk about what a great movie it is. But guess what, Primer? You didn't fool me. I'm not dumb, you are!