Netflix has this great feature called Play Now for some of the films in its ginormous library, which is large enough to impress even the likes of Burgess Meredith without his glasses. Anyway, based upon several recommendations, including one from my alter ego/son, Nicklas Hughes, I watched the film Primer through Netflix on my computer. I felt wonderfully high-tech and hip while doing it, which means I am neither.
The opening scene of Primer sucked me right in, and the hyperrealistic dialogue, as un-understandable as it was, had me reeling in a good way. Basically, the film follows two friends, who are amateur inventors looking to make the next big discovery, when they realize (SPOILER ALERT - YOU'VE BEEN WARNED) the anti-gravity machine they've constructed also doubles as a time machine of sorts.
The film moves well and has an uneasiness permeating every scene. You keep waiting for that inevitable disaster to happen, and it does....or at least I think it does.
You see, once the third act began, I couldn't follow a damned thing that was going on in the movie. This is to be expected somewhat when you're dealing with time travel, paradoxes, multiverses (?), etc., and especially when the story is about two engineers speaking in jargon the entire time. But alas, I couldn't piece together what was happening at the end, and not even a little quality time on the IMDb forums was much of a help. To sum up, here's what I read about the movie:
a) It requires multiple viewings. And even then, you still might not get it.
b) Many, many things are left unexplained.
c) No one can actually agree what is going on in the film.
Now I for one enjoy a lively debate about a movie as much as the next guy, but when the confusion reaches a certain point and when there is so much left up to the viewer to decide, I think a story has lost all meaning and worse, any sense of purpose. I'm not talking about a "Lady or the Tiger" scenario, I'm talking about where you just have no effing clue what is going on in a story, and even the people who praise the story don't seem to know much more than you do about it.
So, where's the line between complex, mysterious, thoughtful and subjective meaninglessness for you?
All that being said, I do recommend Primer because it is well-filmed, moves quickly, and was shot for a ridiculously low amount of money. It goes to show that creativity can triumph over low budgets and limited resources. My hat's off to Shane Carruth, the writer/director. I'd love to see more movies from this guy.
5 days ago