Primer is one of the finest low-budget movies ever made. Period. It is difficult to make a serious film about time travel. There are just too many ifs and buts, before you know it paradoxes are being brushed under multiple contradicting carpets or worse the whole thing becomes a boring science lecture.
Two techy types stumble across a time machine and try to make some money out of it. The characters have seen Star Trek so they try their best to avoid causing any of the usual problems.
Primer is an incredible showcase of Shane Carruth’s (actor/writer/director/producer) talents and a gripping, thought provoking and complex story of modern day time travel.
The whole concept is displayed in a very subtle manner. No dazzling CGI or amazing scenery. No big cast with scripted jokes and colorful characters.
This is truly a B-movie in every sense of the word, but most definitely not when it comes to storytelling. It is amazing to see what the makers of this movie were able to pull off with so little money.
There are few films that display this level of uniqueness, or “puzzle” quality that demands solving, ratheer than offering passive resolution. Primer is a starter course in physics, underlying a simple story about self-interest ruining a friendship.
If one guy in his garage can make something like this imagine what we could do with 100M budgets. But to be honest, if they did, it would lose some of its raison d’être, its spirit.
Time traveling movies are a tough nut to crack. This film is based on the short story “All You Zombies” by Robert A. Heinlein, which for many years was thought to be unfilmable.
Almost nothing written by Robert Heinlein has been translated from novel to screen. In fact, only his minor works have ever been done, and until now, the film translations of these minor works have failed or at least disappointed (Puppet Masters; Starship Troopers; 2-3 low budget 50s movies).
Well, the short story that Predestination is based on is still a minor work, but the realization on film is jawdropping.
What the Spierig Brothers, the writers and directors of the film, have done here is tell a story that’s faithful to the source material and give their own changes to it that adds to the story rather then takes away.
Cast and Performance
The film stars Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook, and Noah Tyler who are all great in this film. What’s really great about this film is that it’s a sci-fi story about time traveling but the filmmakers and actors ground it by making it a character story and that’s where Sarah Snook comes in.
Sarah Snook plays a character that has had a really troubled life. I don’t want to spoil anything but she shines in this movie and I think her performance that was really overlooked last year.
This is a wonderful Sci-Fi time traveler story that will keep you guessing all the way through. If you have a mind for this type of story then you’ll have fun guessing what’s going to happen next. We highly recommend this film if you are in the mood for a great time travel movie.
4th: Twelve Monkeys
An intriguing portrait of a dystopian future, an insane meditation on madness & an interesting take on the idea of time travel, reality & memories, Twelve Monkeys must’ve been one of the most creative examples of science-fiction filmmaking when it was released but looking back now, it doesn’t feel as impressive anymore despite the innumerable twists & turns it has to offer.
The story of Twelve Monkeys presents a future in which almost all of humanity has been annihilated by a deadly virus which has forced the remaining survivors to live beneath the surface.
The plot concerns a convict who’s sent back in time to collect more data on the man- made virus, which seems to be connected to a mysterious organization called The Army of the Twelve Monkeys.
Directed by Terry Gilliam, the film has a strangely unnerving atmosphere looming over it from start to finish which is further helped by its eccentric set pieces, clever use of camera angles & unconventional editing which tries to engage the viewers with its constantly shifting tones & twists. And its background score is no slouch either for it further enhances its moody ambiance.
Coming to the performances, the cast of Twelve Monkeys stars Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt & Madeleine Stowe, and all three of them are crazily good in their given roles.
Willis chips in strongly as the convict who’s sent back in time, Pitt is completely deranged in his role but is also the most impressive of the three, and Stowe’s character is able to hold on to her sanity for the most part.
On an overall scale, Twelve Monkeys is full of intricate themes, ideas & homages that are presented in a manner not everyone is going to enjoy.
It does play with the viewers’ minds & is a bold piece of filmmaking but its acting also comes off as exaggerated on many occasions, its romance subplot feels unnecessary, the entire production appears somewhat dated & for me, it also failed to live up to its legacy. Multiple viewings advised.