Part of the beauty of Shane Carruth’s Primer lies in its alienating density. Carruth doesn’t care if you don’t get it; nothing about Primer is inviting or accessible. You will not understand Primer the first time through, repeated viewings are necessary. Even with a timeline walk through, Primer is conceptually intimidating.
Unlike most films, the thematics of Primer are hiding in plain sight. The challenge of Primer is following the details of the plot.
When I sat down to watch Primer again with the idea in mind of writing about it, I decided to ignore the time-travel elements. Chuck Klosterman had already written an excellent essay on Primer’s time-travel and I’m unsure if there’s anything left to be said on the topic.
So, this time around, I pushed through the fantastically constructed physics and focused the characters.
I was shocked to find an entirely new movie emerge.