Thursday, September 01, 2005

Primer

I was recommended this film by a friend but having just endured it I think it's because she wanted to discuss this extremely complex movie with somebody.

I'll try my best to explain what happens...

2 geeks build a machine that exists in 2 places in time. When it is started up it records point A and when you enter the machine later on at point B you then fluctuate between those 2 points. The geeks discover that if you entered the machine at point B you could emerge at point A. So they devise this plan that sees them spending the day starting the machine up first thing in the morning then going and spending the day in a hotel. In the afternoon they find what share prices went up then go back to the machine, enter it and then emerge at the point the machine was turned on whilst their former selves are making their way to the hotel. They then bet on the shares then return back to the box, exiting at the point they entered it.

That's the easy bit.

They then discover that they could become trapped in the time loop if the machine is turned off at the wrong time so they build a failsafe machine that is constantly running that they can use to get them back should things go wrong. One of the guys uses the machine first then inadvertantly gets in contact with the other self which starts some weird chain that ends up with copies of both guys running around, although for the majority of the film we only see 1 of each. You just don't know which generation of which are in the same scene.

If I told you that I think the film starts with the 1st iteration of one guy speaking to the original other guy you'd think I was on drugs but I think that is what happens; it's even more confusing when you discover that the guy who has already been through the machine doesn't let on so you think they're both the originals.

There's another side story about a guy with a shotgun ruining a party and the guys going back in time to deal with him as well as they can, and another story where a guy discovers the machine then gets caught in a recursive loop, and just to cap it off you have one of the original guys being drugged by his 1st iteration and then the 2nd iteration trying to knock the first out but being too tired to do so.

At some point I think there is mention of one of the guys carrying a small version of the machine into a bigger one and effectively nesting the whole process. My head was hurting way before that happened.

It's definitely a film that needs several viewings and perhaps the director's commentary, which those in the US already have as it was released last year. If you liked "pi" or "memento" then you might like this, just give it plenty of time to understand what is going on.
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