Pick a random title Primer

2004 3.0/5 IMDb 7.0/10 (72k) PG-13 SuperHD 77 minutes

Written, directed, and starring Shane Carruth, this low-budget sci-fi thriller centers on a pair of engineers who accidentally create a time machine.

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Shane Carruth, David Sullivan, Casey Gooden, Anand Upadhyaya, Carrie Crawford, Jay Butler, John Carruth, Juan Tapia, Ashley Warren, Samantha Thomson, Chip Carruth, Keith Bradshaw Directed by Shane Carruth

Thrillers, Independent Thrillers, Psychological Thrillers, Sci-Fi Thrillers, Independent Movies, Sci-Fi & Fantasy

Language: English

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  • Nominee, Independent Spirit Awards - Best Feature nominee 2005
  • Winner, Sundance Film Festival - Grand Jury Prize: Drama 2004
  • Nominee, Independent Spirit Awards - Best Director nominee 2005 Shane Carruth
NYT Review: From a Suburban Garage, a New Take on Time Travel

An ingenious first film — made on a budget of about $7,000 by a former engineer and self-taught filmmaker — about the perils of ingenuity. Two young scientists (Shane Carruth and David Sullivan) accidentally invent a time machine in a suburban garage, and must deal with the ethical and metaphysical conundrums the device poses. — A. O. Scott Read the review

Rotten Tomatoes® Scores
  72%   80%
Movie Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Mind-bending thrillers like Primer are terrific viewing with your teenagers. Maybe if you're nice, they'll explain the ending to you.

Michael Booth, Denver Post, 2008-02-08


Scary, puzzling, and different.

J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader, 2007-06-04


This film imagines its viewers to be smart, possessed of a decent attention span and game for a challenge. It doesn't happen all that often.

Jessica Winter, Time Out, 2006-02-09


An unapologetically cerebral movie of ideas.

Leah McLaren, Globe and Mail, 2004-12-03


The ingenious debut of writer-director Shane Carruth, who assembled the film on his home computer and also plays one of the two leads, is purposely designed to be a little bewildering.

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald, 2004-12-03


It takes a lot for a movie to surprise today's jaded, seen-it, bought-the- PlayStation-version sci-fi fan. Primer can. Let it.

Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel, 2004-11-12


A jigsaw puzzle made of pieces that may or may not fit together, it assumes the intelligence and interest of its audience, a brave move that pays off big.

Tom Long, Detroit News, 2004-11-12


Carruth challenges us to imagine the impossible, then asks us to consider the moral, ethical and spiritual implications of what we have witnessed, and put those considerations on equal footing with man's desire to go where no man has gone before.

Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press, 2004-11-12


It is maddening, fascinating and completely successful.

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, 2004-10-29


Incredibly confusing but oddly compelling.

Carina Chocano, Los Angeles Times, 2004-10-22


A dense and dazzling science-fiction mind-bender unassumingly dressed up in a tech geek's short-sleeved oxford shirt, pocket protector and safety goggles.

Scott Foundas, L.A. Weekly, 2004-10-21


By turns inventive, confounding and obtuse, it doesn't always work, but it challenges, nonetheless.

Neva Chonin, San Francisco Chronicle, 2004-10-15


It's one thing to admire what writer/director/composer/actor Shane Carruth wrought on his $1.98 digicam budget; it's quite another to have to sit through the mind-numbing results.

Peter Howell, Toronto Star, 2004-12-03


Like watching something that's always on the verge of being a movie.

Robert Denerstein, Denver Rocky Mountain News, 2004-11-12


Has such an engaging, offbeat first half that it's all the more frustrating when it gets lost inside its own convolutions and delayed revelations.

Steve Murray, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 2004-10-28


It has all the hallmarks of an amateur production: questionable sound and picture quality, crude performances, and dubious editing.

James Berardinelli, ReelViews, 2004-10-27


The first thing Shane Carruth should have done as a director was fire himself as an actor, because I think he gives a terrible performance.

Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper, 2004-10-19


It's dense, and in a way that doesn't begin to reward the effort required to untie it.

Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post, 2004-10-15


Intriguing but flawed.

Mary Brennan, Seattle Times, 2004-10-15