Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Film Review--Primer

PRIMER
starring...oh hell, I don't know them.

In what seems like a typical garage/IT startup, four friends develop error-checking devices that they intend to market.  Two of these men, however, feel that there is much more they could accomplish.  Through constant revision, these two create a machine of incredible power.  They realize it is too valuable to market...and their trust in one another begins to fray.

First off, a special shout out to my friend Neutron Frog who gave me the hookup for this film (geez, could I have been any more slangy?)

Although you may not think so at first, this is most emphatically a science fiction film.  The driver of the plot is an advancement in technology.  The story itself is the effects the new development has on the characters. More than that, the movie is a prime example of science fiction done well without a mega-budget (in this case it was a pittance, really.)  No, the genre does not mean "an action movie in space" or "expensive, futuristic graphics play on as a gunfight unfolds."  No aliens.  No spaceships.  In fact, we never even really find out what the machine is or what exactly it's supposed to do.  It's all about ideas.
That's another fine aspect of the film.  There are so many questions.  What exactly is this machine?  The characters themselves aren't even sure what is happening or if they do know, they cannot seem to face it directly.  They constantly second-guess themselves, seeming to spend most of the narrative in a sea of uncertainty.  I attribute much of that sensibility to the fine acting of the cast.  You (me too for that matter) may never have heard of these people, but they make the film seem so...organic.  Almost nothing feels scripted.  I honestly believed that I was watching real lives unfold before me and I don't mean that in the dopey, "found footage" sense that has been all the rage for over ten years now.

This is a good one, even if complicated and hard to follow at times.  I have heard from others that it actually requires repeated viewing to become fully...or even sorta...understandable.


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