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373 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Everything you think you know about modern science is about to unravel in this critically acclaimed film about two young engineers and the consequences they face when they invent a machine that enables them to travel back in time.Running Time: 77 min.Format: DVD MOVIE Genre: ACTION/ADVENTURE/THRILLERS.

Primer won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival and has drawn repeat viewers eager to crack writer-director-star Shane Carruth's puzzler of a time-travel drama. Carruth, an engineer by training, plays inventor Aaron, whose entrepreneurial partnership with fellow brainiac Abe (David Sullivan) unexpectedly results in a process for traveling back several hours in time. The men initially use these rewind sessions to succeed in the stock market. But a dark consequence of their daily journeys eventually complicates matters. If this sounds like a very commercial, science fiction thriller, Primer is anything but that. Shot on 16mm for $7,000, the film has a tantalizing, sealed-in logic, akin to Memento, that forces viewers to see the fantastic with a certain dispassion. One may be tempted to sit through Primer again to more fully understand its paradoxes and ethical quandaries. --Tom Keogh

Special Features

  • Trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Shane Carruth, David Sullivan, Casey Gooden, Anand Upadhyaya, Carrie Crawford
  • Directors: Shane Carruth
  • Writers: Shane Carruth
  • Producers: Shane Carruth
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: New Line Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: April 19, 2005
  • Run Time: 77 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (373 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007N1JC8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,991 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Primer" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

209 of 232 people found the following review helpful By Mark Jones on April 23, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The "whole package" is what this movie is about. It would seem that the intangibles combined with the intentional-create a synergy that captivates the mind!

"The permutations are endless" well sums up the movie. What would you do...if you could have perfect hindsight and foresight-how long would your altruism and your noble idealism last?

It's so dimensional you will watch it over and over. I read where some feel they have it figured out, but the sage advice comes from a fan that says "stop reading and keep watching!"

The low-budget while evident at times, actually adds to the mystique. I found myself annoyed by the slightly muffled and sometimes garbled soundtrack-which incidentally improved towards the middle (probably as Shane developed his prowess with audio and the actors begin to project a bit more). The graininess of the film shows through at times, but once again- it sets the mood and actually looks very intentional. Yet, that very tension actually sets you up for the true impact-when you realize the "permutations are endless."

"Primer" is one of those very rare movies that comes along to give Hollywood a real kick in the pants-to say "THIS is how you create a thriller"-it's in the heart, not in the budget. It's amazing what $7k and a man with a vision can do!

Primer is already a cult classic and will be discussed for years to come. It's definitely not for everyone, but for those who enjoy heady, multi-dimensional movies-it will remain a standard.
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81 of 87 people found the following review helpful By A. B. Lopez on March 27, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I saw this film on a whim with little knowledge of the story or acclaims. My physics background definitely helped me get a better grasp of the complex subject matter. Don't get me wrong, I left the theatre as dazed and confused as most people did. But, it was somewhere along the lines of complete awe.

This film is probably one of the best films I've seen dealing with time travel. The grainy, washed out quality of the film gave it a realistic documentary style. I didn't see the comparisons with Memento that most people refer to. The feeling I got from the movie was closer to the intesity I felt when I watched The Insider. I just felt tense and uneasy as the characters fiddled with their new "toy". The soundtrack had a very good ambient touch that helped add emphasis to the seriousness of the film.

So, in short; if you like intellectual, intense, dramatic, sci-fi movies, then you'll like this film. And, yes it may be a little to artsy for some. If Timecop is your favorite movie then you probably won't like Primer (jab).
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By C. Hawks on July 22, 2005
Format: DVD
If you like cerebral movies and twisty, problematic plots; films that leave you thinking - like that haunting feeling you may have had after you first saw "The Matrix"... you'll likely enjoy this flick.

(Think: THX-1138, I Heart Huckabees, The Matrix, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Pi, A Boy And His Dog, etc.)

If you just want to sit and veg infront of a motion picture, you like "feel good movies", or like big noises, special effects, high drama & action for drama & action's sake (not that there's anything wrong with this at all - think: Hitch, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Out of Africa, or Star Trek - The Movie), then this movie will likely leave you wanting. It is, relatively speaking, a geek movie. And not in the sense of "Real Genius".

You can read as much as you like about the plot, etc. in other reviews. I choose not to give away too much about specifics in my reviews.

The part that I really liked about this movie is its exploration into what happens in the human character and their relationships when they stumble onto a resource that provides great benefit and huge circumstance, and yet don't really fully understand or prepare themselves for how/why it works or the implications it brings with it. The juxtaposition of being in a situation that is unfolding with unprecidented information allowing one to predictably alter said situation's outcome - and then dealing with the newly generated results, that one could not so easily predict - heady stuff. Add to that some plausible sounding science (fiction) and recursive situational examination, and you have a formula for a great story that requires you to focus.

And THAT'S what this movie requires - your undivided focused attention. Be ready to THINK, solve, and be mentally challenged.
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98 of 109 people found the following review helpful By David E. Reynolds on November 13, 2005
Format: DVD
Plot Summary Two friends and research entrepreneurs serendipitously develop a time travel machine. Thankfully free from an overt attempt to try to articulate the technical solution to time travel, the movie deals with the progressive temptations the friends face as they plunge deeper into a dizzying map of future-past interdependencies. They make the expected exploitation of the stock market but their dabblings with the relationship between future and past and present begin to be concerned with friends and family. As they do this, the movie becomes increasingly confusing due to the complexities of the causalities and changes they are working in the lives of other people.

Script The script is pretty solid, especially considering the complexity of the story line. The dialogue is natural, to the point where I wondered if most of it was improvised.

Acting and Character Development Surprisingly good. The two primary characters play off each other well. Their dialogue together is natural and real. They have a best-friend chemistry together.

Cinematography and Editing The cinematography is remarkable for a low budget independent movie. The color is great, the composition is creative and it helps tell the story. It does this by creating uncertainty in the time frame during their iterations of time travel. Toward the last third of the movie, the editing becomes very confusing: the protagonists are shuffling their time trips and this makes the storyline difficult to follow. I say this is good because I think that was the intent. They wanted to convey that there was complexity and uncertainty associated the implications of time travel. The audience is confused because they are confused and uncertain.

The movie is compelling.
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The Party
Think about how MUCH information a director needs to cram into an hour or two, and very skilled, experienced directors (and/or those with LOTS of money to spend) can explain a lot to the audience in one or two very short but skillfully crafted scenes. I believe that 1) the information the... Read More
Oct 29, 2007 by Reader |  See all 6 posts
is this movie out of print? If so, why?
Looks to be out of print in the US, but almost any other region can buy it new. UK, netherlands... anywhere but here. Buy from another region, remove region coding, or use a "universal" player, watch on monitor. Or spend a hundred for no readily apparent reason to buy a used copy that... Read More
Apr 25, 2015 by Amazon Customer |  See all 2 posts
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