Friday, September 19, 2014

Primer (2004)

Listening to the director's commentary, the logistics that Shane Carruth worked through when putting this film together are staggering. The fact that he completed and released the film is astounding.

But all of it for what? "Primer", on a technical level, is a gift of high intellect. But the film itself is hollow. It literally has no emotion, no soul. Carruth's genius allowed him to put together the film, but the finished product means nothing. How ironic.

Carruth has said that he wanted to display scientific discovery as accurately as possible. I wonder if he has done something of the opposite. Because doesn't true scientific discovery come from insatiable curiosity? A sense of discovery? A place of passion? The discovery in the film, looking through the abstruse dialogue, is soulless and clinical. The boys are cold and mechanical, which is far beyond objectivity.

Carruth has also said that he wanted the central theme of the film to be about the breakdown of Abe and Aaron's relationship. What relationship? There is no relationship. Abe and Aaron are not real people, not even close. They do not have visible personalities, nor do they show any emotion.

Shane Carruth stood in the role of Aaron. Literally. It would not even be enough to say that Carruth was unconvincing. The truth is that he cannot act on any level. So what on earth was he thinking, casting himself in the lead role? I know for a fact that he didn't do it to please his ego. The other lead opposite him, David Sullivan as Abe, at least did a solid job. Sullivan was natural and believable.

For all the technical marvel that the film boasts, it has no heartbeat, and communicates nothing. Is this the work of a highly intelligent but emotionless psychopath? Or is this just the work of a highly intelligent person working in the wrong profession? I hope for the latter.

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