Tuesday, April 19, 2005

KBT Presents: PRIMER


It is getting increasingly difficult to make a good science fiction film. Since computer generated special effects are very good these days, that is where the emphasis lies. Stories that fit the Star Wars or Star Trek mold, with little time or energy spent on the story or script, are making to the genre begin to creak. There have been a few recent great science fiction films. Pi, Solaris and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind are the best examples, but you will notice that these films have more purpose behind them than simply space battles and computer graphics.
Primer is a structural mindbender of the highest order (think La Jetee scripted by Robert Altman and shot by Steven Soderbergh) . It is a 'hard' science fiction film without any special effects and set in the present. It is dialogue, dialogue, dialogue over gritty and disorienting camerawork. It was made for very little money, about $7000, before the ThinkFilm did some image and audio clean-up work. The end result is undoubtedly a new classic puzzle-box film which recalls the initial viewing of the modern noir classic Memento (only Primer is several times more disorienting).
The audience is like a voyeur over the lives of several engineers who invent something which could change the world, but fear, paranoia and greed supercede any chance of trust. These young entrepreneurs wear their pressed white shirts and $20 ties not just to their day jobs, but even while they work on thier side-projects in one of the guys garage. They bicker, they fight, and they are petty little boys.
I will go no further than this in discussing the film; it is best to go in cold. You will either be fully engaged at untangling the narrative or possible lost in its labyrinthine structure and procedorial minutae.
If causality, paradox and nested reality pique your interest or you just like a good puzzle, this is not to be missed. A post screening discussion is demanded. I believe that I have pieced all the stuff together, but a second viewing is required to test theories discussed after the 2004 Toronto Film Festival Screening.
Primer is not just a puzzle however. There is a lot of 21st century post-tech boom subtext from the characters behavior and it has a lot to say about the way things are done in high-tech (nay the entire business world) sector since the 1990s of instant-riches-today, burnout-crash tomorrow.

Drinks at 8:00. Showtime at 8:30. The film runs a lean 78 minutes, so there is certainly time for a post-screening discussion for those confused.

2 Comments:

Blogger grace said...

thanks for the tip... will have to tell the boy to netflix it. :)

8:12 PM  
Blogger grace said...

did i tell you i watched it?

my god.

my god.

my god.

2:11 PM  

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