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this is a awesome movie very hard to understand but still very good for a low budget film ,i enjoyed it imensely .its proberly worth watching maybe 2 or 3 times just to get your head around it .after watching it once half a sleep il defo watch it again when more awake ,thanks to the spoiler from jokerwho i understand it alot more and will enjoy it more second time around
Warning: This is an attempt to fully explain the movie Primer. If you haven't seen it, stop here. If you want to figure it out for yourself, stop here.
Also, I wrote this as a stream of consciousness after the second viewing of the movie, so I haven't vetted it for clarity. I probably made some assumptions about things that may not be 100% clear in everybody's mind. Let me know..
Note: Abe2 will designate the Abe that has gone through the original failsafe machine. Aaron2 will designate the Aaron that has gone through the failsafe machine that he smuggled back through Abe’s failsafe machine & started immediately. If that doesn't make sense, don't worry; read on.
Abe, Aaron, Robert, and Philip are working on startup ideas in Aaron’s house. Aaron has a new fridge with a red bow around it. Did he buy this using future time machine earnings? No, because the machine hasn’t been invented yet and you can only jump back to when the machine was started. During this talk, Philip mentions someone named Platt; Aaron is upset when he hears this; it’s a reference to some VC or somebody that screwed them a year ago; keep this name in mind, though.
Abe and Aaron notice interesting gravity-reducing characteristics of their machine. They decide not to share this w/ Robert & Philip.
Aaron calls Abe one night to go to Aaron’s house to work. The call wakes Abe up in his bedroom, where he’s passed out & has a beard. He didn’t have a beard in any previous scene. Before Abe opens his bedroom door, he practices saying “Hi, Brad.” He opens the bedroom door, sees Brad his roommate and says “Hi, Brad.” Does he do this practicing because he’s really Abe2, the Abe that’s already gone through the failsafe machine & started everything over? Doesn’t seem right because again the machine hasn’t been invented yet.
Aaron says the machine is stable. Aaron and Abe mess with it and notice that it runs itself w/o batteries. They go to a steak dinner & discuss all the implications.
They go to parties to try to get VCs to fund them. At one party, they are shown talking to Thomas Granger, the father of Rachel, who is Abe’s girlfriend at the time. Somewhere in this time, Abe puts 2 time machines in one storage locker, and 1 failsafe machine in another. He turns on the failsafe. The failsafe is supposed to be a secret; Abe will use it to reset everything if something goes wrong.
(not shown in the movie) One morning, Abe sets a timer to turn on a time machine 15 minutes after he leaves the storage area. He then goes to a remote hotel & cuts off all communication w/ the outside world. In the early afternoon, he leaves the hotel, asks his broker which stock went up the most that day, then goes to the storage locker at 3 PM & enters the time machine. He travels a few hours back to the point when the machine went on (15 minutes after he left that morning).
Aaron2 is sitting on a bench with an earpiece in his ear. Abe looks at him from a rooftop, then goes down to talk to him. Abe thinks this is Aaron, not Aaron2. Abe tells him that he’s about to show him something extraordinary. In this scene, Aaron2’s speech seems strange because he’s just echoing what he hears in his ear, a recording he made before going through his failsafe machine. Aaron2 is trying to change the future as little as possible.
Abe drags Aaron2 along to the lab & whatever to discuss the protein growth. He demonstrates the watch traveling through time. Just before 3 PM, Abe takes Aaron2 to witness Abe going into the locker at 3 PM.
Rachel calls Abe in the car.
Abe and Aaron2 do this day-jumping a few times to earn money on mid-cap stocks that move during the day. They do their research in a different town’s library to avoid running into anyone they know & altering the future.
(not shown in the movie) Aaron goes to a basketball court & tells Will to bring his cousin (Rachel’s ex-bf) to Robert’s birthday party. Aaron has no ill intent other than mild mischief; he doesn’t know that Will’s cousin will threaten Rachel yet.
(not shown in the movie) Robert has a party and Rachel is threatened by Will’s cousin (an ex-boyfriend) with a shotgun. Aaron2 and Abe were not at the party. Rachel is not harmed, and Will’s cousin is not arrested.
Abe, Aaron2, and Kara (Aaron’s wife) are at Aaron’s house. Kara complains about rats; Aaron2 says don’t worry but really this is Aaron stuck in the attic. They are asking Kara what she would do with tons of money. Kara says “oh good things” but Aaron2 says “I’d go punch Platt in the face. But only if I could go back and make myself not do it, just so I could experience it.” Abe seems upset; he says “Aaron you can’t do that” because Abe is deathly worried about causality.
Abe knows that he has a failsafe machine, but he doesn’t know what happens if you travel back more than a few hours, so as an experiment he starts a machine at 5 PM instead of in the morning as usual. In the middle of the night, a kid runs down his street & sets off car alarms, including Abe’s Maxima. This wakes up Abe. Abe goes to Aaron2’s house & says, “now’s your chance to go punch Platt; we’ll go & do it, then come back & prevent the kid from setting off the alarms, so in reality it never happened, yet we experienced it.”
Aaron2 and Abe drive off to do it, but they notice that Thomas Granger is following them. Aaron2 says that he saw Thomas earlier in the day & he was clean-shaven, but now he has a 2-3 day beard. Abe is rattled so he calls his girlfriend Rachel to get Thomas’s number. He calls Thomas and Thomas is at home. That means Thomas2 is in the car behind them. Aaron2 chases Thomas2, and eventually Thomas2 falls into a coma (from misusing time travel & screwing himself up) and Aaron2 slips. Abe catches up with them and they take Thomas2 to a spare bedroom. The voiceover (Aaron2) says that this is when Abe decides to use his failsafe machine. Abe is worried that Thomas changed things that are unpredictable.
Abe takes the failsafe to start over.
Abe2 then oxygen-masks Abe in his sleep and puts him in the closet to take over Abe’s life (effectively).
We’re back at the scene where Abe2 meets Aaron2 on the bench. Funny: Aaron2 is saying what he said as Aaron, even though Abe2 is saying totally different things from Abe, so Aaron2’s conversation doesn’t make sense. Abe2 has just traveled a long way, though, so he passes out before having the same conversation with Aaron2 that he had before.
Abe2 goes to Aaron’s garage. Robert and Philip show up and say something that indicates to Abe2 that Aaron was at Robert’s party. But Abe2 knows that Aaron wasn’t at the party. So Abe2 figures out that even though he used the failsafe and everything should be back to normal, somehow Aaron interfered. The only way is if Aaron used a failsafe himself (he used Aaron’s failsafe).
They argue at the fountain while looking for a cat. As far as I know, this has no significance other than confusing the crap out of me at the first viewing.
Aaron2 and Abe2 discuss what to do about Rachel in the garage. Aaron2 explains that he wants to change what happened at the party because he wants to get the ex-boyfriend arrested so he can’t *potentially* harm Rachel in the future. Abe2 is hesitant to mess w/ the future, but in the end he agrees.
Aaron2 tells Abe2 about his earpiece strategy. Abe2 starts wearing one too.
Aaron2 goes to the basketball court & tells Will about Robert’s party, and tells him to bring his cousin (Rachel’s ex-bf). Aaron2 and Abe2 go to the party & take the bullets out of Rachel’s ex-bf’s gun. The ex-bf threatens Rachel but this time Aaron2 saves the day. The ex-bf is arrested as they planned.
But at this point we’re wondering what happened to Aaron.
Aaron2, on the voiceover, explains it. He found out that Abe had the failsafe by checking the storage records & noticing that Abe had 2 lockers. Aaron finds Abe’s failsafe & is upset. Aaron takes one of the time machines & puts it inside the failsafe, travels back in time, then Aaron2 immediately puts the smuggled time machine into his own secret location & turns it on. That provides Aaron2 a secret failsafe of his own to wipe the time slate clean (as a primer does for painting, as suggested by someone else on the primermovie.com site).
Aaron2 then drugs Aaron’s milk at night, which Aaron eats in the morning (daylight) and passes out, and Aaron2 puts Aaron in the attic. This lets Aaron2 take over Aaron’s life for a bit.
Here’s a part that I don’t understand. In the next scene, we see the Aaron2 drugging the milk scene again (at night), but this time you see an Aaron overpowering another Aaron at night. But then another Aaron enters the room & sees this, but he talks to the standing Aaron & agrees to leave, saying “see you” because the drugging was already done. There are 4 Aarons here; 1 Aaron is asleep waiting to have milk in the morning, another has been knocked out on the floor, another knocked him out, and another came through the door. I think Aaron2 was the last guy with the white shirt that walks out the door. I think Aaron found out that Aaron2 drugged him, so he went back to stop it? I dunno…
Aaron2 and Abe2 argue at the airport about where to go. They note that Abe and Aaron are about to get out of the closet/attic & start building their machines. Abe2 has been sabotaging the effort to stop any more Abe/Aarons. Aaron doesn’t want to do that; he just wants to leave. Aaron goes to another country & starts building his own machine.
The voiceover is Aaron2 talking to Aaron on the phone. I think Aaron2 is telling Aaron so he has an advantage over Abe2.
A primer is a strand of nucleic acid that serves as a starting point for DNA replication. They are required because the enzymes that catalyze replication, DNA polymerases, can only add new nucleotides to an existing strand of DNA. ..
um so i had this movie loading by google vid & it has no description well by the time i came back 2 watch it i 4got what it was i was intending to watch so the first 5 or so minutes im like whiskey tango foxtrot and i skipped to the middle then skipped to the end just to see the name of the movie in the credits came back here read the comments and the description and pretty much get the jist of the movie lol
i say all that to say you wont die if you dont watch it immediately so save it for one of those days when your waiting on the new stuff 2 be posted. i give it 3/5 just b/c it was worth the time wasted
Wow! What a head trip!
The story is not the paradoxes, but
what happens to the relationship. None of them trust each other. They are egotistical and greedy. Eventually the main characters', Abe/Aaron, relationship deteriorates, and they go their separate ways.
Getting lost in the paradoxes really makes it difficult to see the real meaning of the movie.
This is definately one of the wierder movies i have watched. Takes alot of brain power to keep track of things as the film progresses. Story and concept were good though. All in all this is worth a watch if you can handle some brain work to keep stock.
i didnt care for it. Yea i got the concepts and plot, but i wasnt inpressed by the execution of it. it was dry and splintered. I thought it was worth watching once though. but nothing to write home about.
The film was written, directed and produced by Shane Carruth, a former mathematician and engineer, and was completed on a budget of only $7,00. He didn't dumb the dialogue down for people so considering most people prefer idiotic movies with zero originality and lots of explosions most people won't like this. That being said..
This is a good movie on just about every level from originality to dialogue. If you like movies with these sort of qualities then you'll like it. If not go watch the Fast and the Furious and leave the rest of us alone. 8/10
Oh and by the way....these are "GET IT" people and guess what...they GET IT!
Independent Spirit Awards
2004 Best Debut Performance David [act-:] Sullivan
2004 Best Director Shane Carruth
2004 Best First Screenplay Shane Carruth
2004 Best Picture
Sundance Film Festival
2004 Grand Jury Prize - Dramatic
Toronto International Film Festival
2004 Film Presented
Makes you have to think. If you don't like thinking and trying to solve things then don't bother. I saw this when it first came out I think it was on IFC actually, but I didn't see the whole thing. Now that I saw the whole thing I'm a bit confused on certain specifics, but the whole gist of the movie is great and JokerWho's post did a good job of explaining a lot. Great movie if you like this sort of thing, I love independant films.
Ya gotta pay attention, understand paradoxes and maybe have handy a half dram of quantum physics. "Primer" is not bad but it's not to be consumed while under the influence of foreign substances or when even slightly sleepy. Three of five, then.
This flick was well acted and produced but I actually got nothing from the movie itself, I found the whole thing presumptuous and inane. Riddled with psycho-babble and techno-talk of every size shape and dimension, I could see how lesser educated buffoons could easily have been duped by the scientific rhetoric into believing that there was some hidden direction the film was taking. However, the comment someone left about watching the movie and then going to do a Google search for it's meaning left me rolling on the floor! Don't waste your time going back to watch it over and over again searching for some iota of meaning, there is none. Worth at least the time one spends on seeing it, after all I have seen worse! I give it a 3/5 due to lack of any serious cohesion or central purpose.
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