Top 20% of all time (see others with this rank)

Festival Year

2004 (click here to see all competition films from this year)


Dramatic Competition


David Sullivan, Shane Carruth, Carrie Crawford, Casey Gooden, Anand Upadhyaya

Non-Cast Credits

Shane Carruth, Anand Upadhyaya, Daniel Bueche, James Russell, Reggie Evans, David Sullivan


Someone once said that independent film resists categorization because... itís independent, and this is nowhere as evident as with this yearís Dramatic Competition feature Primer. As dense as it is dramatically tense, overflowing with nonstop dialogue yet intermittently incomprehensible, Primer is a film which, in the words of its creator, Shane Carruth, was "shot for about the price of a used car." The result is a truly unique and stimulating vision.

Primerís narrative is impossible to summurize, but the story begins with four men in a suburban garage who are building highly technical devices. Partly by accident and partly by design, they discover a mechanism whose power enables them to have almost anything they want. This revelation could literally change their world.

Faintly reminiscent of both the thrills and obscure machinations of Pi, Primer takes you on a ride and remains engrossing even if you don't know whatís happening. It forces its audience to crack the puzzle of its story line at the same time its characters do. Shot in a compelling visual language and impressively acted, Primer almost demands repeated viewings and is one of the few films that make revisiting it worthwhile.


Geoffrey Gilmore (see other films reviewed by the same reviewer)

Film Takes Pace.