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Sunday, July 21, 2024


The movie-Primer-released in 2004 gives the viewers the feeling of a home-made movie. It’s technically flawed, the script is overly ambitious and the whole movie experience seems like a passion project from some tech nutcase.

But it does one good thing-it makes you interested about the art of coding.And that’s no easy feat to attain.

Primer is indeed Director Shane Carruth’s passion project. Carruth a New York based music composer made this movie with a $7,000budget. It earned him $424,760 and a Sundance Film Festival award.

The movie however is anything but a layman’s cup of tea. So the money understandably comes from a group of cult followers who held this movie in high regard. And truly there are elements inside the movie that justify its fame among the cult.

Before delving into put the movie under a reviewer’s scanner, let’s leave you a teaser. You remember the first time you saw The Matrix and you how could barely keep up with what was going on, trying to piece together the pieces of what you were being told into a coherent story?

Primer is exactly like that;obviously it’s not ‘The Matrix’ and it barely leaves the audience with a need for as equel. The first half or so is fairly linear, but then it gets weird, in a good way. OK to give a better juxtaposition, in one of our earlier issues of Fintech, were viewed ‘Pi’-director Daron Alfnosky’s passion project before he got famous with ‘Black Swan’.

In terms of weirdness, ‘Primer’ is in the league of ‘Pi’, but as it was mentioned earlier, it’s not a layman’s cup of tea. But for those who can swallow it, it’s the finest pick from Darjeeling.

‘Primer’ is probably the first venture capital suspense thriller of the world. The film unfolds in the bland suburban living rooms and office parks of bright young men trying to reinvent their lives-I’ll warn you now that there are scenes offend-raising barbecues – and at first it doesn’t -matter what Aaron (played by Aaron Carruth himself) and Abe (David Sullivan) are trying to brainstorm.

They and their colleague shave engineering degrees,good jobs, wives, small children, and all those things are secondary to the machine in the garage that’s not working the way they want it to.

When the machine does work, it’s in ways none of them expected. The power stays on after being unplugged,for instance, or a widget placed inside comes out covered with a strange green fungus.

For a long stretch, “Primer” plays out as a mystery, with Abe and Aaron gradually shutting out their associates and feverishly discussing such things as parabolic loops. We sit there in the dark with them, and the crucial question is never “what does the machine do?” but”what’s the application?” They’ve got that most modern form ofhubris, start-up blindness.

Eventually, both Abe and Aaron started time-traveling with the machine. At first they only go back a few hours to trade stock sand make money, but each character starts going back even further without the other ’s knowledge, causing all sorts of paradoxes and problems for each other. Things eventually come toa point where there are now multiple copies of each main character, and the time-traveling doubles have to part ways so they don’t mess things up anymore.

The logic behind time travel in this film is that you can enter afield that is constantly moving between two points and exit that field at a point earlier than when you entered it.

I couldn’t tell you if the theory behind this is based on real science or if it was made up by the writer, but either way it presents a big challenge for the film. Basically the movie has to present a linear plot line while interweaving all sorts of paradoxes and recurring scene sand themes without getting overly complicated or redundant. And it pulls it all off beautifully.■


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