Directed by Shane Carruth.
Starring Shane Carruth, David Sullivan, Casey Gooden, Anand Upadhyaya and Carrie Crawford.
We live in a pretty interesting time for movies, from a technical standpoint. They’ve become so cheap to make that any two-bit hack can get a camera, shoot his own feature and edit it on his Mac. And, here’s the best part: Hollywood will actually distribute it. This is both good and bad. You get outright crap like The Blair Witch Project, you get derivative crap like Napoleon Dynamite, and then, on a really good day, you get surprising, impressive stuff like Shane Carruth’s $7,000 debut feature, Primer.
Carruth hides his extremely low budget pretty well. Shooting it on film rather than digital video was a good choice. For the most part, he knows what to do with the camera, too — the colors are terrific, and the film is mostly well-framed, only infrequently suffering from too-eager-to-impress camerawork. Much of the dialogue in the first half hour seems to have been re-edited, with lots of shots obscuring the actors’ mouths and more shots where the voices and the mouths don’t really match up. It’s a common enough trick for avoiding extensive reshoots, but it’s not usually used as pervasively as it is in Primer‘s first act. The result is a little bizarre, but given the film’s budget, you have to overlook some of the film’s technical quirks.