Posted on Wednesday, October 5th, 2011 by Russ Fischer
Shane Carruth‘s time-travel film Primer is one of the smartest sci-fi movies of the past decade. It is also a particularly compelling one because it tells a time-travel story with a very unadorned indie aesthetic. The look of the film may be born out of budget and necessity, but it makes Primer stand out, and makes the very detailed explanation of the film’s mechanics feel more grounded, and consequently more effective. The film is Carruth’s only movie, and we’ve been eagerly awaiting a follow-up. (So much so that word of his participation on Rian Johnson’s new film Looper was enough to cause ripples of excitement.)
Primer is meaty enough to withstand a great deal of conversation and scrutiny. As we wait for another film from the director, there is still plenty of territory to explore in his first. If you’ve already memorized the DVD commentary track, check out the infographic below, which seeks to sort out all of the film’s many timelines. It could make the events of the movie more clear, but perhaps not at first glance.
This isn’t going to do much for those who haven’t seen the film, and you might need a refresher viewing to properly place all the details. A glance at this graphic, explaining the basic way time-travel works in the film, might help, too.