Reviewer's Rating 2 out of 5  
Primer (2005)
12aContains moderate language

One of the most wilfully obscure sci-fi movies ever made, Primer will either blow your mind or drive you out of it. It's the no-budget tale of two engineering geeks - one of them writer/director/producer Shane Carruth - who accidentally build a time machine in their garage. An intriguing start is followed by a perplexing middle and then an utterly impenetrable end. This is a picture that demands you watch it two, three, four times. But why the hell should you?

Confusion in movies is fine so long as they give you some reason to stay engaged. Take Naomi Watts' extraordinary performance in Mulholland Drive, for example, or the potent noir mood of Memento. But this hall of mirrors is no funhouse. It's lensed in a cold, detached docu-drama style that does no favours for the characters, who are egghead dullards to a man. Constantly spouting barely decipherable techno-drivel at each other, they're as charismatic as a row of broken toasters. It's a pretty humourless trawl too, a rare guffaw coming when one spod says, "I haven’t eaten since later this afternoon."


But there's nothing to smile at in the last half-hour, an extended migraine of doppelgangers, repeated scenes and ruptures in the space-time continuum that disappears up its own black hole. Primer itself is a time machine, stretching 77 minutes into a small eternity. Some may be convinced that this is the most visionary, ponderable sci-fier since 2001: A Space Odyssey. But if it's all the same, we'll stick with Back To The Future.

End Credits

Director: Shane Carruth

Writer: Shane Carruth

Stars: David Sullivan, Casey Gooden, Anand Upadhyaya, Carrie Crawford

Genre: Thriller, Science Fiction

Length: 77 minutes

Cinema: 19 August 2005

Country: USA

Cinema Search

Where can I see this film?

New Releases