“Primer” (2004) Analysis

The 2004 movie, “Primer” was made with a rather small budget yet features a very interesting narrative and structure through which this narrative is addressed. As in most films and movies, montage is ever present in “Primer.” There is a large use of rhythmic montage used in the movie, switching the person in view of the camera as they are talking, giving a sense of the people talking to each other. It is also used to give continuity to various movement in the movie, such as one of the characters unplugging the batteries and then kicking then under the table, which we then see the sliding of the batteries on the floor. Rhythmic and tonal montage are also used in the movie, to elicit some response. During an early scene where one character is trying to explain how a machine that they have been working on works, there is a series of very fast cuts, sometimes not even changing the character in the frame, but changing the focus or the zoom of the camera. These rapid movement create a sort of jarring and incomprehensible feeling, mirroring the character in the shot who is having a hard time understanding what he is being told about this machine. Color also becomes very important in this movie. For the most part, most of the movie contains very earthy tones and colors that match those of the characters dress or skin, giving them a place to sit in the scene and they do not feel out of place. However, in scenes where their “time machine” is present or there is great distress between the characters about the machine, cooler colors are used, isolating the characters from the strange science that they have stumbled upon and from each other. Motion is also important in this movie. Very rarely are the characters centered in a shot or that the shot is on the same level is them. The camera also often moves around the characters often, giving them a larger atmosphere that they are standing in. The strange angles and fast movement of the camera helps add to the obscurity of the machine and its exact working. Along with characters often moving toward or away from the camera in a way that is out of the scene, heading into another scene unknown to the viewer. Overall, this movie, I felt, was very successful in its exploration of the idea of time travel. The cinematography added to the feelings trying to be conveyed in the movie along with the estrangement of the two characters by the end of the movie. By flashing back repeatedly to earlier scenes, it also made the idea that they were time traveling seem more real. The idea of the ear-piece, feeding the characters lines to say that they said before in that same situation also contributed to the idea of time travel. Although made on a small budget and may be confusing at first, this movie presents interesting concepts and ideas regarding time travel and what such a powerful idea can do to the bond of friendship.

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