The “TENET” and the movie referred in here, a low-fi time travel classic ” Primer “, some nerdy reddit user went as far as on to say that TENET is just a 250 million dollar Primer!. Considering the complexity of the plots of the teo movies, primer might even exceed the TENET’s majesty.

Why “Primer” Is The Most Cerebral Time Travel Movie of All Time | Taste Of Cinema - Movie Reviews and Classic Movie Lists
A dense, convulted, sophisticated, complex, cerebral, puzzling and at the same time delightfully entertains the hardcore fabs of the genre in a not so obvious manner?
A plot with such complexity that in order to grasp at least a good 75% of it, you would need multiple viewings of the movie itself, then multiple explanation videos on youtube, time line graphs with 9 layers of what happened ” when ” and finally a hefty bit of familiarizing with your routine grandfather paradoxes!

The Plot

Four friends presumably in their early thirties, engineers by profession, inventors by passion, as a routine work on their side projects in their spare time at one of them’s garage. Their ultimate goal is to secure enough funds from venture capitalists who might take an interest on their creations and take them to the next level in order for them to become more financially secure and eventually be freed from usual monotonous 9 – 5 white collar dubious life. After reevaluating the contributions of the four people towards their pet project and one of them clearly stated that after spending 50 hours per week on the job and another 30 on the project, he does not have much free time left on his hand, two of them, Robert and Philip are secretly kicked out by the two main characters Aaron and Abe.
Their ambition is to build something groundbreaking and then to keep the profits for themselves in order to make thire future more secure in this highly demanding environment.
Primer (2004)
” Do you know what they do with engineers when they turn 40? They take them out and shoot them! ” Aaron jokes. They plunder out few electronics and take their important parts ( a fridge for freon, a car for platinum and many more ), observe mould growth worth of few years in a mere few days inside their mysterious creation and finally accidentally drop a watch in to see time slows down by a considerable amount, which prompts Abe to say that ” this is the most important thing any living being has ever witnessed! “. Aaron and Abe have accidentally invented a machine that could be used to go backward in time.

Primer's Time Travel - Hypothesis & Reallity

Time Travel in Primer
There is this box size of a mini fridge, which hums consistently powered up by two car batteries, your time machine. Let’s say for an example if you’ve swiched on the box at 9 AM and went on with your life for few hours and then decided to come back in order to enter inside the box at 12 noon. Then you have to spend three hours inside the box and will be reemerged morning at exactly 9 AM after travelling back three hours worth of time.
If you decided that you will be doing one time travelling trip worth of three hours per day, you will be spending a total of 30 hours within a day ( twice 9 – 12 travelling forward, once 12 – 9 travelling back ) instead of the usual 24 hour day resulting in you getting old at a quicker rate than the people around you ( you could only travel the time back, not revise the ageing process ).
So between 9 am to 12 noon, there will be two copies of you existing on this earth, one living his/her usual life and the other laying inside the box travelling back in time. After 12 o’clock one copy will cease to exist leaving the other to carry on with his /her life. This is the basic principle behind movie’s time travelling
But in practicality our two main heroes, as the london city girl puts it mess things up pretty royally for themselves.
They keep failsafe boxes to return to the first ever instance that they’ve started time travel resulting in permanent multiple copies of them. Create multiple time lines, convulting and complexing their own lives and the movie’s plot and in the process damage their friendship irreparable along the cause of relatively short tine span of four days the movie spans about after they’ve started it in the first place.

Low Money but high gain

Made out of a mere 7000$ budget, Primer made rather brilliant 420 000 plus in the box office thus by making it one of the most successful movies box office to budget ratio wise. Shot on a cheap 16 mm film stock and bigger portion of the budget actually going through to buy the film stock, most of the actors and facilitators who worked on this project were the director Shane carruth’s family, relatives and friends. In addition to directing, carruth had written, produced, edited, acted as the titular character Aaron and even composed the background music for this one man show of a movie.
Shane Carruth-Primer
He was a former software engineer who taught film making to himself and painstakingly took two long years in the post production. Primer won the grand jury prize at the 2004 Sundance film festival as well as the alfred sloan for the best science related film at the same event.
The realistic, somewhat rusty, yellowish radioactive like feeling created probably by the lack of budget and resources actually works perfectly into the advantage of this ambitious filmmaker, who wanted to portray the scientists as just everyday blokes working nonstop in achieving their passionate goals rather than larger than life metal suit wearing superheroes as mainstream hollywood often does. 
Shane Carruth : Primer (2004) Behind the Scenes

Carruth refused to dumb down the scientific jargon in order to moviegoers to understand them easily and expected the fans would return again and again till the fully grasp the content therein. He completely ignores the cinematic or rather literature norm ” Show, don’t tell “. the characters start the time travel in a very risk averse manner, yet when perfecting bit by bit, just go full on nuts creating this unfathomable web of timelines that ironically consume their mental and physical wellbeing.

Definitely not being your everday run of the mill back to the future type time travel classic, if you prefer big flash lights exploding in huge thunderbolts while characters screaming ” yee-how ” kind things, you should avoid this movie by all costs. Primer is a movie for nerds, braniacs people who do have a interest deep science, maths or even philosophy.

I would like to rate this N for nerds only and give it 8.5/ 10 stars!. Make sure to watch it absolutely more than one time and be prepared to be your mind blown as you go holding it’s trembling hands.
A Review by : Kanchana_Rathnasekara



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