Winner of the grand prize at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, Primer mixes the straight, middle-American white male angst of Neil Labute’s In the Company of Men with the sci-fi trappings of Darren Aronofsky’s Pi. This is not a good thing. Triple hyphenate writer-director-actor Shane Carruth stars as Aaron who, along with fellow white-collar buddy Abe (David Sullivan), creates a homemade time machine in a U-Haul storage facility. You’ve seen Back to the Future, and so has Carruth: doubles of characters soon start appearing, continuums get knocked out of whack, much technobabble is spouted—all that’s missing is the doctor with the shock-white hair screaming about flux capacitors. In all the narrative steals are potentially profound statements about scientific responsibility and human interaction, but this is clearly a calling card project, made not from a passionate desire to create, but out of the misguided let’s-put-on-a-show mentality that afflicts many a pretender to cinema’s throne. In other words, Primer is perfect Sundance material, its bland, anonymous actors and competent, Sprint-commercial mise-en-scène masked in the guise of independence, all the while secretly and shamelessly chomping at Hollywood’s dangling dollar signs.
- 77 min
- Shane Carruth
- Shane Carruth
- Shane Carruth, David Sullivan, Casey Gooden, Anand Upadhyaya, Carrie Crawford, Jay Butler
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