Primer

In this ultra low budget sci fi film a group of men build a time machine in one of their garages. Problems and time travel paradoxes abound as they all go back in time for various short periods and risk running into their past selves, while they wrangle for control over their creation.

This is a film of two halves. The fist half is a seemingly endless stream of impenetrable science dialogue like a bad episode of Star Trek, or a normal episode of Dr Who, where it’s very hard to work out what’s going on. If you didn’t know this film was about time travel before watching it you’d be at least half way in before working it out. I’m not sure if this was because it’s too clever or not clever enough. I think it’s a bit of both.

If you could pause the film every 30 seconds to work out what they’ve just said and what it means there’s probably some very clever and innovative exploration of time travel. But as it is it feels like sitting down in a physics lecture by accident when you meant to go to Philosophy of Film and having to stay for the whole thing. Every now and again a bored-sounding voice over comes in to explain something that’s been completely missed by the dialogue, but even this can’t make much sense of this film.

This rushed feel means by the time the plot kicks into gear in the second act, we still feel like we have no idea who the characters are, making it once again hard to fathom, and even harder to care about.

But the main problem with this film is tone, primarily set by the music. Close to the entire film is overlaid with dreary piano music which makes it feel stark and cold when it could have been interesting or fun. No music would have been better than this, as the whole thing is infused with a depressing, downbeat feel which pretty much kills it from the start.

I really wanted to like this film, but its production is too downbeat and heavy to enjoy, and it’s not well enough written to take anything substantial away from. I wish I could go back in time and warn myself not to watch it.

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3 responses to “Primer

  1. Pingback: On iPlayer: Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel | Screen Goblin·

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