Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Shane Carruth, David Sullivan, Casey Gooden, Anand Upadhyaya, Carrie Crawford
Written by: Shane Carruth
Directed by: Shane Carruth
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for brief language
Running Time: 78
Date: 01/16/2004
IMDB

Primer (2004)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Time Code

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Shane Carruth's ultra-low budget, 78-minute sci-fi film could almost be a "B" movie from the past if not for its icy intelligence. Inventing a moneymaking new refrigerator from their garage, two young masterminds stumble upon the secret of time travel. They build a human-sized box that allows them to travel a day or two forward, thereby snatching future stock market numbers and other handy tidbits. Every day, our heroes must check into a hotel room so that they do not risk running into their doppelgangers, but the more days go by, the more warped things get. Their talk is mostly technical and expositional, but it works because it reveals an organic and edgy thought process. Ruthlessly complicated, Primer only bogs down when it asks you to be able to tell apart the two main characters; I couldn't remember which one was which, or which one I was supposed to be rooting for. In addition, full attention spans are required for even beginning to understand the intricacies of this time-twisting plot. But the deeper one burrows into it, the better and smarter Primer gets.

Thank goodness New Line's DVD has finally arrived. Primer is better to watch at home, and better with the subtitles on, so viewers can follow the film's heavy, looping technical talk. Not to mention that this is a genuine cult film that gets better with every viewing. The DVD comes with the intriguing trailer, a very good commentary track by Carruth and a not-so-good one with Carruth and his cast and crew (they insist on telling insider stories and in-jokes). There's also a batch of trailers for other New Line releases. This is a must-have for all sci-fi fans.

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