Of course now I feel bad for not paying a single-lick of attention in Science class.
Two scientists/best friends Aaron and Abe (Shane Carruth and David Sullivan) are always in their garage’s playing around and trying to create new machines that will benefit the rest of the world, and make them rich one day. However, when they decide to play around a little too much, somewhere, the realization of a time machine being built to perfection comes through to the both of them; but what should they do? Should they take advantage of it and allow all of their wildest dreams to come true? Or, should they just leave it be for the better good of themselves and mankind? You can probably which decision they choose to make. Damn sci-fi nerds.
I’m going to admit this now, before any of you decide to jump down my neck for the rest of this review: I am an idiot, that much is clear to me now than it has ever been to me in my entire-life. Going into this movie, I expected to be challenged, I expected to be pay attention, I expected to be screwed-with, and I expected to think for myself in ways I haven’t been able to pull-off since Inception (aka, a long, long time ago), but still, I found myself totally and utterly confused, way before it even was half-way through. Once it hits the thirty-minute mark, I thought, “Oh, well now I’m starting to get the hang of things and where this plot is going. Hopefully they keep on going down this route.” If there was ever a more perfect example of wishful thinking, I would really like to see it shown to me. Seriously, this movie fucked me over.
Now, that I got that out of the way, I just want to let you all know that no matter what type of shizz I may be saying about this movie from here on, don’t be fooled into thinking I hated this movie. In fact, I think I respected it more than I even liked it, which is really saying something because that almost never, ever happens. Some may be quick to call this “pretentious” and “pompous”, but I just can’t bring myself to utter those words. I can think of other words like “smart”, “imaginative”, and “detailed”, but that didn’t mean it added anything to my overall movie-watching experience.
Here’s the thing with this movie, the plot absolutely lost me about half-way through, almost to the point of where (I felt like giving up. I seriously did. I had my Wii mote handy and ready to change to see what else I had on my Netflix queue, but thankfully, I stayed true to my movie critic ways and kept on watching. But as much as I may have been totally mind-fucked by all of this, I still have to give writer/director/producer/magic man Shane Carruth all of the credit for stepping from out of nowhere, and giving me a sci-fi film that seemed actually possible. Not saying that any form of sci-fi can actually, and might just happen, but the way this dude presents the way these two guys build a time machine (without ever using that word), how they would take advantage of it, and just what sort of ways would they be able to maneuver themselves around it , was smart and something I did not think could happen with a movie like this. Once again, another instance where I felt like a total idiot since I can’t believe I ever doubted this guy, or his movie.
Also, the guy’s a pretty young director and it shows because the movie looks cheap, it looks gritty, and it looks like it was made from shit you’d sell on Craigslist, but that’s not an insult in the least bit. I actually liked that look to the movie, as it made me feel like I was watching a real story, with real characters, and some real fucked-up crazy shit going on that’s almost too hard for me to even think of as of right now. From an aspiring film maker perspective: the guy has talent and knew how to save money, the right way, in order for him to get this movie made, which seems to be on nickels and dimes. For that aspect alone, I give the guy mucho credit. But this is where the bad part begins. Be ready, because here we go.
The problem that I had with this movie is that I did not seem to get a single, fucking thing going on at all here. I get that these guys created a time machine, tried to find ways to manipulate it’s usage into making them filthy, stinkin’ rich, and eventually started to lose sight of their friendship and the life they once lived, but everything else in between, like a couple of plot twists and turns, just never came to me. I get that the movie isn’t trying to be like all of those lame, predictable sci-fi flicks that spells everything out for you and puts your mind at ease so they can tell you all that’s happening, but seriously; I needed my hand held here. I felt like I needed somebody to hold my hand, walk me through the street, and get me home on time, but instead, I just wanted to know what the fuck was going on.
Now, would I go so far as to say that this movie wasn’t made for me? Yes and no. The reason I say yes is because it’s heavy on it’s sci-fi jargon, in a way that’s almost comprehensible for a person who used to spend third-period Bio wondering what movie he was going to watch later that night. Also, the movie never gave me a second to let everything settle in, breathe, and catch myself up-to-place with all of the happenings and dialogue that seemed to come charging at me, almost a mile-a-minute. I felt totally winded, and that was at the 20-minute mark. I still had less than an hour to go, and I was scared-shitless of what may have happened to me next.
However, from the other deck of cards, I’d have to say no for one reason and one reason only: I usually love movies like this. Even though I see a crap-ton of popcorn fare (more than my little, fragile heart may be able handle), I still do appreciate the little, indie movies that allow you to think more than you would with something you could see at any local AMC theater. No matter what that movie may be, I always like to watch them, think for a bit, and come up with my own conclusions at the end. Sometimes they do lose me at points, but I am usually able to get myself back up and moving along with the pace, the story, and the characters that inhabit it.
But this is just one of those movies that made me re-think that idea of myself. It wasn’t that I realized I’m not able to think anymore, and whenever I do, I need somebody to write-out a freakin’ guide book on what everything means. No, in fact it was more that I realized that I have to look out for movies like these and be ready for them, even when I least expect them to come and slash me in the jugular. Did I hate this flick? No, not at all. But there is something that I could tell after viewing it and coming up with my own thoughts: a re-watch is definitely in the future and the re-review for that will definitely be up. As for right now, however, I’m sticking with this and just know that as much as this flick may have not been for me or my mood during the time that I viewed this (I was tired as hell from working-out, ALL. DAMN. DAY.), it still doesn’t mean it’s not worth your own trip to ride-along with, just as long as this cake you don’t mind taking a piece out of. If not, good luck my fellow friends. Good luck, indeed.
Consensus: Primer is a smart, hip-looking, and stylish sci-fi flick that could actually make a lot of sense in the grander scheme of things, but left me in the dark; WAY TOO MUCH. I get that the film wanted to lose it’s audience and see if we could keep up, but as for yours truly, I just wasn’t up the game just yet. Give me another year or so, then I might just be. But until then, I’m staying right where I am.
5 / 10 = Rental!!