The Film ‘Primer’ Still Makes Me Angry

by robinhardwick

Shane Carruth, filmmaker la douchier, made the film Primer which was supposed to be the “new” wave of time-travel movies. It was raw, it was technical, it felt like it could actually happen. So much so that he bored and confused viewers to death. People who like this film just say that. Nobody actually likes it. People may appreciate it, but jesus christ, when you need this to understand it, what the hell?

Since then, I’ve heard about other :indie” time travel movies. You don’t need a lot for it, especially since when you go back in a time machine, you appear in the same exact physical space you left from, not automatically transported to the kingdom of the ancient Egyptians or some shit. [Also, for the definite essay on time travel, look no further than the the brilliant Chuck Klosterman in this essay.]

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So there are now time travel movies that are simpler, and rely on one individual’s story. Two I found recently are Timecrimes and Triangle. One could say that the former copied from the latter, but time travel is a general thing that anyone can write about. Both are similar in they start out pretty non-extraordinary, tedious even. Then there’s the inciting moment and shit gets real. Suddenly nothing makes sense and you have to watch to see how it will end up. You maybe even have to map it out, though not as ridiculous as the one above. This is a brilliant ploy in a film because it incites the viewer to solve the movie. Those that “get it” are satisfied, no matter the quality of the film. The other charming thing is both are a bit shoddily acted, but that just adds to the charm somehow.  There’s also a masked figure involved in both, which is actually needed in time travel films, as you’ll see why.

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