Horror 365, Movie 139: Primer

Ring-me-moother I thought Timecrimes was tough to follow! Really, I knew this was gonna happen. I wrote about Timecrimes yesterday, and that led me directly to a rewatch of Primer. Yowza.

I mentioned yesterday how the “timey-wimey stuff” gets me to the point where I don’t have enough breadcrumbs to get home. Ten minutes into Primer, I said “Well these sure as hell ain’t gonna help” and just chucked ’em all into the air. This makes the third or fourth time I’ve seen Primer, and I still didn’t follow or understand it any better than the first time.

Ironically at a scant 78 minutes, Primer is not brisk. Not boring either. More like fairly dense. Unfortunately, so am I when I’m watching. I feel like if I understood even a single speck from The Great Sandbox Of Physics, I’d get it. I also have a theory that if I got really high or huffed a Scarface-sized pile of blow or both, then maybe, just maybe, the secrets of Primer would reveal themselves to me. To date this theory remains untested. Nonetheless writer/director/producer/actor Shane Carruth manages to elicit a good deal of tension from his premise.

If you’re not familiar, that premise revolves around 4 guys experimenting with a bunch of science-y bits & bobs in order to build some kind of science-y device that does some kind of science-y… stuff. It has something to do with electromagnetic fields, superconductors, and anti-gravity. Gimme a sec whilst I toss these breadcrumbs in front of a box fan. Seriously that’s about as much information as we get for a good while. During this surprisingly intriguing but, for me, unintelligible process, two of them, Abe and Aaron, accidentally discover time travel.

Like ya do.

It has something to do with a protein coating they have to keep wiping off the Weeble (remember those???) they use in the experiment. The protein is a excreted by a fungus called aspergillus ticor. The amount of protein they wipe off would take 5 years to accumulate in regular time. Wow, that actually kinda makes sense. Huh–good for me! Personal growth.

One of the other things I could understand is what these guys do with their time travel ability. They use it to capitalize on the stock market by tracking a given day’s stock market activity then going back about six hours to daytrade accordingly. Naturally there are complications. One is physical side effects–at one point Aaron begins bleeding from the ear, and they both start having problems trying write things on paper.

Another, and bigger, complication is the multiple Abes and Aarons. Late in the movie when some events start to repeat themselves, I have no idea which Abe or Aaron is doing what. This, however, works in Primer’s favor since it seems that they all grow increasingly confused about where which versions of themselves are in the time loop and what they’re all doing. By the end, I’m not even sure how many versions of how many people there are. In fact it seems that we aren’t supposed to know any more about anything than Abe and Aaron do which works out just fine for me cuz I sure as fuck don’t.

Supposedly this can all be reasonably explained by something called a Feynman Diagram. I looked at one of these. It makes about as much sense to me as the doodles I make instead of paying attention during faculty meetings. But here’s another diagram* I found on The Wikipedias which is where I turn in desperation when I have no place left. Perhaps it will help you out as much as it, uh, “helped” me. Bahahahahahahahahaha!

BODIES- Varies depending on timeline, plus at least one guy in a coma
For rent on Apple TV, iTunes, Google Play, Prime, YouTube

*By derivative work: Tom-b (talk)Time_Travel_Method.jpg: Original uploader was William lee0 at en.wikipedia – Time_Travel_Method.jpg, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5311985

4 thoughts on “Horror 365, Movie 139: Primer

  1. I too, don’t fully get it but, I think I do and then I guess I don’t. It’s been a few years since I’ve watched it but maybe your diagram will help things out when I can see it on a bigger screen. Small phone screens don’t help me do much either. I might have to test your theory though.

    Liked by 1 person

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