Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Primer

When you make a science fiction movie for only $7,000, you would expect it to have some shortcomings.

Two engineers, Aaron and Abe, accidentally invent a time machine.  If they sit in the box for 6 hours, they can go back in time 6 hours, and maybe longer depending upon what time they activated the machine.  At first this works out well for them as they day trade stocks with the knowledge of which ones are going to go up.  However, they start to have physical side effects.  Then suspicion develops between them when someone they know appears to have also traveled back in time.

The shortcoming of this movie is that it is not long and important key plot elements get compressed at the end.  This makes it hard for the viewer to understand what is going on.  I didn't try.  I just understood that things had gotten out of control.  There is a sense of chaos in the last part of film.

This is the kind of movie that after you see it, then you read about it on Wikipedia to try to understand what it is that you just saw.  (For another example, see the movie "Enemy".)  There is much the movie doesn't explain; it doesn't have the budget for it.  According to the Wikipedia article, mutual distrust causes both Aaron and Abe build their own time machines so that they can each go back in time without each other's knowledge.  The cautious Abe feels that things have gotten out of control and tries to stop time travel from being invented.  However, the adventurous Aaron travels back in time to stop Abe from what he is doing, and has at least two versions of himself scheming together for personal benefit.  Both characters start looping the same events over and over.

However, I didn't really understand all of that as I was watching it.  I just enjoyed the movie for its atmosphere.  Apparently the time travel shenanigans are so complex that you need this graph to understand it.

This is the kind of ultra low budget film that is entertaining enough to get remade with a real budget.  I just hope that the remake is a little easier to understand.

Rating: * * 1/2

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