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Primer   ...   movie reviews , spoiler_low , spoiler_high
sun 2005-aug-14 14:19:20 pdt   ...   permalink

So friday night, we watched Primer. I had put it into the NetFlix queue based solely on Dominic's recommendation. He didn't actually say much about it beyond that he really enjoyed it, and that it's a low-budget indie film. I also found out that it involved time travel. That was basically all I knew before watching it. As I've mentioned before, I generally prefer to know as little as possible going into a movie.

Overall I loved it. Certainly it's not perfect, and there are aspects that I was a little disappointed by. But for me, those things were easily outweighed by the ways in which it's great.

<spoiler detail="low">

Now, first of all, I'm a big fan of time travel stories. I love all the different ways of modeling the universe, the different ways of handling possible contradictions and so on. And Primer's approach works quite well.

Also it was nice that the scientific jargon and such mostly seemed pretty realistic to me. Of course, when they got into the actual time travel "science", it got pretty hand-wavey and felt noticeably less real, but you know, whatever.

All the science fiction aspects aside, a big part of what makes the film work as well as it does is the interactions between the two main characters. However, one of my bigger complaints is that even with multiple viewings, in a lot of the action that drives the film, their motivations still aren't entirely clear to me.

So yeah, multiple viewings... After watching the movie friday night, we watched bits of it again, and some with the director's commentary. Then on saturday we watched it all the way through again, some of it more than once. Stuff gets complicated, and I wanted to fully understand it all... But I'm still not totally sure of certain bits.

Can't really say much more without getting into important plot details. So maybe I'll close this low-detail spoiler section and start a high-detail spoiler section.

<spoiler detail="HIGH">
don't read this part until you've seen the film! )

So ... strongly recommended without hesitation. Just maybe with a few caveats.

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