A Science Fiction Movie “Primer” by Shane Carruth Essay

October 24, 2021 by Essay Writer


Primer is a science fiction movie written, directed, and produced in 2004 by Shane Carruth. The principal characters are Aaron and Abe, characters played by Shane Carruth and David Sulivan. Aaron and Abe are a part of a four man engineering team working in Aaron’s garage when the two accidentally come up with a device for time travel.

The plot of the movie follows the two as they experiment on time travel until differences crop up between them regarding the use of their new innovative secret. The best way to describe this movie is a fictitious puzzle; it provides mystery and suspense in a convoluted manner as shown in its plot/structure, characterization, and location setting.


The film has a convoluted plot; it is hard to identify holes in its plot due to its confusing nature. The first few minutes are understandable to many apart from some technical jargon that is used when Aaron and Abe are constructing the machine. It then becomes confounding as it enters the scenes involving time travel. The presence of the characters’ doubles is quite baffling as it means painstakingly identifying the characters through, either the way they are dressed or through their speech or actions.

A case in point is the earpiece that Abe from another time adorns while the normal Abe does not. Sometimes it is totally impossible to tell which Abe or Aaron it is or how many times they have been through “the box” as they call their time travel contraption. Experiences such as Aaron ear bleeding also leave unanswered questions such as: was he hurt in the past or in the future? And would he be hurt at a different time?


The writer did a lot of research on the technical jargon that is rife in the movie but a keen person may realise that there is no scientific truth in it. As shown by the two main characters, their invention operates on the principles of Meissner’s effect. This and other technical language use lends some credibility to the correctness of the invention. However, the whole thing defies a very basic scientific principle that matter can neither be created nor destroyed by existence of the characters’ doubles.

My take

I do not take puzzles and so I would not recommend this movie to all those of a similar mindset. It is also not a movie for those who watch movies to be entertained. Even for those who have an engineering background or a scientific one, it is not easy to follow the plot, as the formulas and technical jargon employed are quite confusing.

I feel that the plot of the movie does not draw in the audience and is the kind of a movie that one may opt to stop watching halfway. Nonetheless, I commend the writer for the movie is very unpredictable from scene to scene. In addition, the theme of greed as the main characters struggle to benefit themselves with their new invention is somewhat hilarious.


The movie tackles the idea of time travel in a confusing manner. The use of intense technical language does not help either as it limits the audience. However, it is a great movie for those who like solving puzzles. My recommendation would be that the creators create a storyline around the characters that would be easier to follow even through the time maze.

Read more