> Volume 6 > Number 31


Shane Carruth

Shane Carruth
David Sullivan
Casey Gooden
Anand Upadhyaya
Carrie Crawford

Release: 8 Oct. 04



“I can imagine no way in which this would be even remotely safe,” says one of the engineers in the Sundance hit Primer. Doing experiments in a garage (an Argon explosion would make the noise of a garage band seem hushed), off-the-clock scientists Aaron (Carruth) and Abe (Sullivan) have found a way to move matter through time. Adhering to the Bill and Ted Rules of Time Travel, they concoct a way to insider trade that makes Douglas Faneuil look like a relic of old-fashioned white-collar crime.

I don’t consider myself particularly blunt when it comes to myriad schemes in films and books (I love Borges, for heaven’s sakes), but I spent most of Primer trying to figure all this stuff out. Science, physics, and theoretical mathematics are spat out like this is a senior seminar at MIT, a astringent for someone like me and my two humanities and one communications degrees. Worst of all, once I started to get a grasp of where the film was going, I didn’t particularly care. It’s as if the filmmakers hoped to boggle the minds of the scientifically-deficient viewers so they’d accept everything as having this allure of intellect. Instead, the inane story is only highlighted by the complexity of the exposition. Primer is like those math application questions at the end of each section in your high school algebra book: while trying to convince there’s a purpose to all this, one is constantly aware that the application is secondary to the lesson

©2004, David Perry,, 30 July 2004