Primer In his alluringly knotty feature debut Primer , writer-director Shane Carruth dramatizes the what-if-and-why-not business of scientific discovery so that the process looks arcane and… Primer In his alluringly knotty feature debut Primer , writer-director Shane Carruth dramatizes the what-if-and-why-not business of scientific discovery so that the process looks arcane and… 2004-10-08 PG-13 PT78M Drama Mystery and Thriller Jay Butler Shane Carruth Casey Gooden Keith Bradshaw Ashley Warren
Movie Review

Primer (2004)

MPAA Rating: PG-13
Primer | WORLD'S LARGEST HAND DRYERThe magic of discovery is on display in a Sundance hit
WORLD'S LARGEST HAND DRYERThe magic of discovery is on display in a Sundance hit
EW's GRADE
A-

Details Limited Release: Oct 08, 2004; Rated: PG-13; Length: 78 Minutes; Genres: Drama, Mystery and Thriller; With: Jay Butler, Shane Carruth and Casey Gooden

In his alluringly knotty feature debut Primer, writer-director Shane Carruth dramatizes the what-if-and-why-not business of scientific discovery so that the process looks arcane and sexy but also mundane and accessible. The movie was a natural, in other words, for the prize it won this year at Sundance in the realm of ''advancing science and technology in film.'' That this coolly ragged, adventurous project — shot on Super 16 in home kitchens and garages, packed with shoptalk, as lightly disembodied as a dream — also won the Dramatic Grand Jury Prize attests to Carruth's skill in the realm of low-budget, big-idea storytelling.

And really, the surprise scientific breakthrough effected by industrial engineers Abe (David Sullivan) and Aaron (Carruth) couldn't be bigger. Yet even when they stumble upon a moment of cosmic eureka!, the two unspool their entrancingly dense dialogue in mild voices — a couple of interchangeable colleagues at work in a perfectly chosen neutral environment. The contrast adds to the movie's dry verve: Consider Primer a successful lab experiment with, as they might say in techie chat rooms, significant indie-cred applications, IMHO. Oh, and :-).

Originally posted Oct 06, 2004 Published in issue #788 Oct 15, 2004 Order article reprints
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