Primer podcast

Regarding the causality discussion...

I think they start off with firm rules for themselves because Abe and Aaron admittedly have no idea how causality works. However, Aaron is more skeptical about the ill effects of causality. He says "I don't believe in that crap anyway...kill your mom before you're born or has to work itself out somehow."

I think the key moment for Aaron is the cell phone incident.  After he breaks symmetry by being careless, he begins to realize that nothing bad really came from that.  He didn't die, or blow up, or disappear while playing 'Johnny B Goode.'  He gets bolder. I think that is when he first gets the idea that it would be ok to start messing with his and Abe's past selves, as far as paradoxes are concerned.

So I think Jim and A-ron are correct when they suggest that causality is something that doesn't matter in "Primer."  It just took the characters a little bit of trial and error to figure this out for themselves.



  • Great podcast!
    It was awesome hearing how excited Jim was for this podcast.
    One of my favorite films.
    I too would love to see a big budget sequel.
  • chriskchrisk Indianapolis
    edited September 2016
    Man. I have problems with this movie. I love to think about it, but the experience of actually watching it? 

    The problem I have is that usually with these noodle baking movies, there's a character or two and a goal I can hang my hat on. An emotional core. This character wants this, and I want them to have it. I have some sort of vested interest to tide me over until the details start to fill in and I get a better understanding. In this movie, without understanding the plot on some basic level, you don't have much. 

    Given that, if I watch this movie once and never get around to repeating it, what can I say about it? Having said that, there are 4-5 Coen movies I didn't like at first, and now I love them. Still it seems different somehow. Not sure this would ever be as fun to watch as it is to think about.

    Now having seen it twice and gone over a few things again, and doing some reading, I have some greater appreciation for it. Still not sure it's a good movie. More like an experience or an experiment. I'm not sure how else you could do it either. This can only be a movie, I think, which is interesting. A book would be exhausting and torturous, trying to delineate the character versions and timelines. Sometimes you hear of books being unfilmable, but this seems like a movie that's un-bookable.

    The knocks some make on the film quality and the acting is interesting. I thought those guys were totally credible in those roles. And the picture is grainy, but eh - big deal. There were still some nice touches - the weird little mini-"tracking shots" showing them both getting into their boxes really sold the moment, same for the slow pan over to the open storage bay to reveal the boxes themselves. Thought the graininess helped overall in a weird way. 

    Also - these guys really like their ties. They're away from their day jobs, in the garage, drilling holes, cutting pipes, etc.. No big deal, just tuck the tie in the shirt and get to work.
  • That's funny. I had the same thought about their clothes.

    These guys dress pretty formally to be doing work in their garage.
  • Hahaha... that reminds me of a post in the Primer IMDb page I saw a long time ago...

    Some person also complained about the shirts and ties, saying it was "douche-y" and "unrealistic."

    Another poster wrote "If you think shirts and ties are unrealistic, you're really going to hate the part where they start travelling through time."

    LOL That killed me!

  • chriskchrisk Indianapolis
    I saw that too when researching. Would love to see them do it for Game of Thrones.
  • The shirts and ties seemed right on to me; they're aspiring entrepreneurs who dress the part. And I loved the dialogue and acting in the first part. In a normal movie we would get super-passionate talking points about this super-important project, because typical Hollywood writing portrays the characters as if they know, at least on an emotional level, that they're heading towards a climax. The "wooden" performances help to establish a very mundane, believable world in which the extraordinary discovery is truly extraordinary, not inevitable.

    To me, that's what stands out about this film, not the circuitous plot. I think a high-budget sequel would be terrible.
  • I understood the suits and ties to mean they were coming to the garage after their day jobs.  They say something about their other jobs at the dining table in the beginning.
  • I agree with alexander. I happen to like the dialog at the beginning... with the interrupting, repeating etc. It sounded genuine and authentic, like it could have been four of my buddies talking.
  • LukeLuke Central Illinois
    I didn't find the time travel parts of the movie all that confusing.

    My issue was the film never gave the characters good motivation. The whole plot seems to turn on creating the 'perfect moment' at the party when the boyfriend brings a shotgun.

    The movie never really gives us a good reason why Aaron would screw up the symmetry they had going and create doubles of himself just to look good in front of what is essentially the girl they manipulated to get funding from her father.

    It also never delved into why Mr. Grainger would have come back. This didn't feel like it ever paid off, and IMO could have easily been cut from the film without much loss.

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