Sunday, April 24, 2005

There are two ways to twist drama. One is to take the ordinary and sensationalize it. (If a man proposes marriage, he should do it in a gorilla suit in a hot air balloon) The other is to take the extraordinary and make it more realistic. (If two guys invent a time machine, they should do it in dress shirts in a two-car garage) Primer is the latter. How else could one make a science-fiction film for $7,000. Now, I’m not one who would call myself a science-fiction fan. I’m not familiar with the literature and I don’t run to the theatre to see the latest Star Trek film. But, that is not to say that I avoid the genre. Rather, it is to qualify for the avid sci-fi buffs out there anything I might say about Primer. That now being out of the way, I can say the Primer is one of the best science fiction films I have ever seen. I didn’t completely understand the plot, but I didn't have to. I understood the story. That’s a testament to just how well it is put together. Like the film Yesterday, which we saw. . . yesterday, as early as the opening shot, you realize that you are in the hands of a director who knows what he is doing. It’s a geometrically composed image of lights and curious angles that reminds one of 2001, but as soon as it begins moving, we realize that we are in the garage of a small suburban home. What a perfect way to capture the essence of the film in a single shot. It’s a shame that though the film is so masterfully put together, Shane Carruth seems to exhaust himself trying to downplay what he’s accomplished. Was he abused as a child or is he just desperately humble or is there a secret confidence somewhere in there? I can’t wait to watch this movie again. One audience member made a point to say to Carruth as he sat on stage with Ebert, “Listen to the man on your right. Get some money and make more movies.” Carruth did say that he was halfway through his second script which he briefly described as having something to do with kids and the beginnings of religion and ideology. Huh? Sign me up.

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