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Primer

Sunday 31st July 2011

In my opinion, the best science fiction is something which takes one simple idea and runs with it. When the story takes a simple concept and plays with it, to look at what can be done with it or how people would interact with it. I wrote last year about Moon, which is a great example of good sci-fi for the way it takes the idea of human cloning and deals with the practicalities and the morality of such a thing. I’ve recently watched Primer, an indie film that was produced a few years ago on a tiny budget ($7000), which does this absolutely perfectly.

The premise is that a couple of engineers have built a machine which can apparently reduce the gravity acting upon an object. But after experimenting with their invention they also discover that it has another capability, and this is what the film is about. I’m deliberately being a little vague as I think it’s best to not know more than that; the way the film reveals more detail is really nice, and works well to draw you into the film.

What’s interesting is that the film really focusses on the characters; their interaction with their invention, and also their relationship with each other as they start to use it. It’s very clever how the film has been put together to bring the viewer into it, and the attention to detail that has gone into doing that is very impressive. The actual concept that the film deals with isn’t a new thing; plenty of books and films have looked at it before, and lots of them have done it very well. But the way this deals with the manner in which the characters interact with that concept, and the effect it has on their lives, is pretty much perfect.

This is not an easy film to watch, and it definitely isn’t for everyone. The plot is very complex (even though the film only lasts just over an hour) and there is a lot that is left unsaid or that is not shown, which means that you have to think about it. I’ve watched it a couple of times now and frankly it’s still pretty confusing, but I think that’s deliberate. If you like science fiction, and films which are based around ideas, then Primer is absolutely unmissable.

Posted at 8:55 pm | Posted In: Movies Tagged:

5 Comments:

Jenny

Monday 1st August 2011, 9:50 pm

Moon was absolutely fantastic. On that basis therefore I *definitely* want to check out Primer. Though I may need some nudging to remind me.

Dickie

Thursday 4th August 2011, 12:09 am

Yeah, if you liked Moon then Primer is definitely worth a watch. I’ll lend you the DVD at some point if you want?

Andy

Saturday 6th August 2011, 11:07 pm

I’d also like to have a gander. I love science fiction that’s about ideas.

Running with Stethoscopes

Friday 19th August 2011, 7:48 pm

Yes, it is good, but I think it is a little obtuse for many audiences. Fine if you’re science-based, but it’s not made itself accessible as a film. Grand idea though, and I definitely enjoyed it.

And yes, I did not get it first time around and am still not 100% sure I’ve got it all. In a way it is slightly too disjointed, but for a $7000 budget I can’t fault it.

Dickie

Tuesday 23rd August 2011, 2:38 am

You’re right, it’s not something that would appeal to the vast majority of people. I sort of have a feeling they’ve made it obtuse on purpose, to sort of bring you into the thing the film is about (if that makes any sense whatsoever? I don’t wanna be too specific cos of spoilers). I’ve seen it three times now and each time I’ve spotted something new and it’s all made a bit more sense; if you want there are also a few explanations of the plot (with diagrams!) on the net, I think there are links on IMDB and Wikipedia.

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