Our Daily Trailer: PRIMER

Smart Sci-Fi Week continues with Shane Carruth's staggeringly intricate time travel movie.

Just look around. Chris Nolan's Interstellar is in theaters. Jonathan Nolan's adapting Isaac Asimov's Foundation trilogy for HBO. Alex Garland's directorial debut, Ex Machina, looks like it's going to rock. Neill Blomkamp is bouncing back from Elysium with Chappie, which may or may not be a stealth remake of Short Circuit 2. My friends, I submit to you that it is a great time to be a hard sci-fi fan. As such, we thought we'd celebrate by making this week's batch of Daily Trailers "Smart Sci-Fi" themed.

And what "Smart Sci-Fi" lineup would be complete without Shane Carruth's Primer? For my money, Primer's the smartest time travel movie ever made, a brilliant little puzzle-box of a film that - even after a dozen or so viewings - I'm not sure I've completely wrapped my head around. Indeed, I'll put Primer on every six months or so, and each repeat viewing reveals some tantalizing new detail that somehow escaped me on previous visits.

Yes. I'm aware that a quick Google search would yield dozens of lengthy "solutions" (read: dissections) of the film, endless blog posts breaking down Primer's every moment in excessive detail. But for the most part, I don't see the appeal in having someone else overexplain Primer to me. I'd much rather continue untangling Carruth's film via my own little rewatch campaign, digesting it slowly and on my own terms. Okay, fine -  I've taken the occasional peek at some of those insanely detailed infographics/timelines people have constructed around Primer's branching, fractured narrative, but most of 'em only seem to complicate matters. For every easily understood flowchart...

...there seem to be another half dozen that look more like this:

How big is that timeline? So big that we can't plug it into this post (you can see the full-sized version over here, courtesy of Unreality Mag). I mean, kudos to whoever took the time to put all that together...but my god, man, I get a headache just looking at that thing. That's probably Primer's way of punishing me for trying to cheat.

Anyway, Primer's been around for a decade now, and the BAD audience is pretty savvy. So my guess is, most of you have already seen Carruth's debut film (and probably more than once). But if you've never gotten around to checking it out, I really can't recommend Primer highly enough; Primer stands alongside every other all-time great time travel movie. Yeah, it's dense and weird and is sometimes maddeningly stingy with vital details, but it never feels like it's cheating. All the pieces are there, just waiting to be assembled. Give it a shot if you haven't already (or watch it again, and then maybe you can explain to me how the hell Thomas Granger ended up in that car outside Abe's house).