DIRECTED BY: Shane Carruth
FEATURING: Shane Carruth, David Sullivan
PLOT: Two engineer/entrepreneurs accidentally discover a box that allows time travel, and
soon get themselves into trouble.
WHY IT MIGHT MAKE THE LIST: Primer‘s baffling story gives you an untethered, free-falling in reality feeling. But although the dense, complicated, and deliberately obtuse plot produces a level of confusion comparable in effect to the weirdest David Lynch movies, I’ve got the sinking feeling that, if you dissect it carefully, there’s a perfectly logical explanation for everything that happens. (That complaint makes the 366 project the only outlet in the world to potentially reject Primer because it makes too much sense).
COMMENTS: If what you most value in a movie is a plot that will inspire you to sit down and create a schematic flowchart—maybe using multiple ink colors to illustrate various contingencies—in order to figure out what’s going on, then have I got a recommendation for you! Made for an incredible $7,000 on suburban locations with only two major characters and no special effects, Primer relies entirely on it’s smart, knotty script to keep the viewer interested—and succeeds admirably. After a pre-time travel prologue, joltingly edited and spoken largely in an untranslated engineerese that’s fairly bewildering in itself, Aaron and Abe (A & B?) stumble upon a box that will allow them to travel backwards in time for about a day at a time. Like any of us would, they initially use the box to play the stock market, investing in the day’s biggest mid-cap mover. After placing their online orders in the morning, they agree to carefully lock themselves in a hotel room away from the rest of the world so that they won’t accidentally kill their own grandfathers or meet their doubles wandering around on the street. The plan goes well for a while, but then strange, logic-defying events start happening, and each of the two men wonders if the other is cheating on their agreement, secretly going back a day to change events for personal reasons. Paranoia mounts as they become suspicious of each other and of reality itself. That brief synopsis actually makes Primer sound more (initially) coherent than Continue reading LIST CANDIDATE: PRIMER (2004)