Reviews: Primer

So you want a complicated time travel movie?

Have you ever watched a movie or read a book about time travel where the characters constantly complained about how complicated it was and how they couldn't understand what was going on, and thought to yourself, "C'mon guys, this timeline isn't that complex, I'm able to figure it out on my couch here." ? If so, Primer is the movie for you. You will not have any idea what the eff happened when you reach the end of this film, and that's a money-back guarantee.

The nice thing is, though, it's not like they just made it up as they went, and there is no right answer. It's not a cop-out, like those TV shows (I won't name names, but you know the ones) where they couldn't be bothered to tie up the plotlines, and just ended it, pretending that it was up to the viewer to image what happened. There is a definitive timeline, and a correct order of events, and it's all there if you're willing to put in the many repeat viewings and sheets of notebook paper necessary to figure it all out. It's not easy, but when you do get it, it's rewarding in a way that few other films are.

This is a good movie even beyond the brain-twisting, however. It's one of the only works about time travel that explores how completely lost and confused someone who just stumbled on it would be. Aaron and Abe want to do great things with their invention, but they also want to make a quick buck; they think it's perfectly safe, but they're not totally sure. This is a movie about ordinary people who are in way over their heads, and about the panicked decisions they make when unspeakable power is suddenly thrust on them. One of my favorite indie films ever.