Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Don't Forget To Set Your Clocks Back...Or Forward?

Primer(2004)directed by Shane Carruth

If you've ever had a serious conversation about time travel, almost an oxymoron, but its more likely than not you have or thought about, you know it can get confusing. Primer is confusing, it wears its paradoxes on its sleeve.
Two young scientists, accidentally stumble across a way to send objects through time. Before they can really iron out the details, the machine is already built, and they can see multiples of themselves walking around, from the future, or the past, or you see where I'm going with this.
First they play the stock market, but otherwise do the best they can not to disrupt the time/space continuum, they sit in hotels trying to iron out the details, and they come to a plan, to make themselves heroes, by stopping a man who shows up a party waving a shotgun, "only a matter of time til he does something worse, we can fix that". All the time they're hatching more schemes, there ignoring more and more of the serious ethical and logistical problems of their machine, when they go back in time, what are they gonna do with their selves in the past, they cant have them just running around, they cant kill them, can they even begin to explain, and are there still selves in the more distant future, thinking the same thing about them in the present. More pressing can they trust each other. If you don't have a headache by the end of this movie you weren't paying attention. Most scientific discoveries happen like this, by accident while trying to develop something practical, and before the odds and ends can be worked out the discovery has taken on a life of its, own. Hell most peoples lives happen like this.
I love this movie, I love it because I notice new details every time I see it, its not a film you can watch casually, and I don't think its a film you can ever master. But it has no special effects, and is one of the most fascinating sci-fi films ever made.
In fact, anyone could have made this movie, in their garage, a storage facility, and with a few friends, that exactly how it was made. It's no-budget cinema at its finest.
"Meticulous, yes. Methodical, educated; they were these things. Nothing extreme. Like anyone, they varied. There were days of mistakes and laziness and in-fighting, and there were days, good days, when by anyone's judgment they would have to be considered clever. No one would say that what they were doing was complicated. It wouldn't even be considered new, except for maybe in the geological sense. They took from their surroundings what was needed and made of it something more."

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