Sunday, May 04, 2008

Primer: A Movie Review

I had some free time tonight and decided to hit Netflix Instant View to see what was available. I've watched just about everything that has any interest to me. There are quite a few documentaries that I haven't seen yet but I have to be in the mood for one of those.

Anyway, I noticed a 2004 flick called Primer. I didn't really think I would like it as I had never heard of it. I like B movies though so I was hoping it would be one of those classically bad movies that I can enjoy.

It is not a B movie. It's a movie written and produced (for USD7000) by an engineer. He wrote the movie like it would be engineers watching it. At times I was a bit lost but the movie proved to be incredibly intense. Much better than I anticipated.

A couple of engineers decide to make a room temperature super conductor. I don't think that was the goal. I think they were trying to do something with gravity but I'll have to watch it again to be sure.

They finally get a proto-type working and one of the engineers happens to notice a slimy film on the weeble they are using as a weight/test subject. The film turns out to be a fungus that could not possibly have grown in the amount of time it did. After some tests with watches, they decide that they really have built a time machine.

Hilarity does not ensue. They decide to travel themselves and make some cash. Things happen. Watch it.

What I liked about this movie is that it is a zero action movie. I don't mean that in a bad way. There is plenty of tension. There are multiple mini-plots arcing around the main plot. There are a couple of mini-plots I got completely lost on but that was still unimportant to the overall story. I'm sure I will get those on the next watching and I will be watching it again.

If you don't give a rat's ass about science, time travel, super conductors or casuality, don't watch this movie. You have to already understand, at least conceptually, the finer points. If you want everything explained and wrapped up for you, definitely don't bother. It just does not happen.

This is a movie like I might make in my head while day dreaming. The writer just happened to think of a few things I might not have. There is plenty of dialog and the dialog sort of replaces action. That's normally a bad thing but in this context it works.

The quality of the film is amazing for how much was spent. I mean USD7000! The actors had to have done this for free. Speaking of which, while no Oscars will be won, the acting was pretty good. Sound quality was good, too.

All in all, two thumbs up.

Check it out.

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