Time travelling is such a complicated concept. There are so many questions raised when it comes to the dynamics of existing in a time that is not the present. The film Primer fills in these gaps with their own theories. There are many ways which people try to understand the idea of living in a past or future moment. It is difficult to compartmentalize one’s ideas about time travelling because there are too many possibilities.
Primer starts really quietly, almost boring. A group of guys are talking in jargon incomprehensible to the common man. The only indication that there are strong emotions involved is the tone in their voices. Others raise their voices while some speak in harsh retaliations. Apparently, these four guys are a group of scientists experimenting in a garage. They want to create or discover something that will earn them a lot of money. Two scientists, Aaron and Abe, discover some fungal anomaly that introduces the concept of time manipulation. They were able to squeeze out the other two out of their discovery and start experimenting with the physics of it all. They find out that they can see doubles of themselves walking around. They spend many hours inside a box that hides them out or transports them to another time. The underplaying of the relevance of their discovery is quite eerie.
Honestly, I hardly understood the movie due to its lack of action sequences. There were no effects of epic proportions signalling that something strange and disturbing is happening. I found it very hard to comprehend their ideas as they multi-layered and probably heavily researched. Watching it for the first and only time did not do justice to the alleged masterpiece. I lacked the insight to appreciate a would be exciting premise without the Michael Bay-esque shots.
The film was apparently made by amateurs. It was produced, written and starred in by people who have no access to big budgets and large sets. I found this fact very impressive as the film was well made. In terms of aesthetics there’s not much to talk about. The colours were quite dreary and in tones of gray and white. But it directed the focus of the audience on the storyline. With such a complicated storyline, it would just be distracting if the film went overboard on lights and music. The soundtrack was negligible. I hardly remember the score as I was too busy trying to understand what was happening.
The one scene that struck me was when Abe was conversing with Aaron. He was standing in front of him and the same scene was already played out before. Aaron is listening to a recording of the previous conversation while Abe was saying different things as the first time. It was the time I realized that this movie is about time travelling. It took me a really long time to finally understand that they were not exactly living in the present.
I am no film savant so I will not say that I liked the movie because I didn’t. if I watch it again with a greater consciousness of what was happening, I’d see the film for all its brilliance.