May 27th, 2005


more trailers Primer

Still of David Sullivan and Shane Carruth in PrimerStill of David Sullivan in PrimerShane Carruth at event of PrimerStill of David Sullivan and Shane Carruth in PrimerStill of David Sullivan and Shane Carruth in PrimerStill of David Sullivan in Primer

Four friends/fledgling entrepreneurs, knowing that there's something bigger and more innovative than the different error-checking devices they've built, wrestle over their new invention.

Release Year: 2004

Rating: 6.9/10 (25,969 voted)

Critic's Score: 68/100

Director: Shane Carruth

Stars: Shane Carruth, David Sullivan, Casey Gooden

At night and on weekends, four men in a suburban garage have built a cottage industry of error-checking devices. But, they know that there is something more. There is some idea, some mechanism, some accidental side effect that is standing between them and a pure leap of innovation. And so, through trial and error they are building the device that is missing most. However, two of these men find the device and immediately realize that it is too valuable to market. The limit of their trust in each other is strained when they are faced with the question, If you always want what you can't have, what do you want when you can have anything?

Shane Carruth - Aaron
David Sullivan - Abe
Casey Gooden - Robert
Anand Upadhyaya - Phillip
Carrie Crawford - Kara
Jay Butler - Metalshop Worker
John Carruth - Man On Couch #1
Juan Tapia - Man On Couch #2
Ashley Warren - Hostess
Samantha Thomson - Rachel Granger
Chip Carruth - Thomas Granger
Delaney Price - Laney
Jack Pyland - Aaron's Co-worker
Keith Bradshaw - Clean Room Technician
Ashok Upadhyaya - Laboratory Technician

Taglines: What happens if it actually works?


Official Website: Official site |

Release Date: 27 May 2005

Filming Locations: Addison, Texas, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $7,000(estimated)

Opening Weekend: $28,162 (USA) (10 October 2004) (4 Screens)

Gross: $424,760 (USA) (19 December 2004)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

The device in the movie is a person-sized, metal box that hums. One scene features Abe and Aaron standing behind some trees, as they watch themselves enter a U-Haul Storage facility. This scene was filmed in Carrollton, TX (a suburb of Dallas, TX), and in 2005 these trees were cleared to build a Hummer dealership.

Crew or equipment visible: When Abe and Aaron are in the walk-in freezer at the university lab, at the end of the scene, the knee of a crew member holding the mike is visible when they walk out the door.

[first lines]
Aaron: [Sound of a phone ringing. Aaron, voiceover:] Here's what's going to happen. I'm gonna read this, and you're gonna listen, and you're gonna stay on the line. And you're not gonna interrupt, and you're not gonna speak for any reason. Some of this you know. I'm gonna start at the top of the page.
Aaron: Meticulous, yes. Methodical, educated; they were these things. Nothing extreme. Like anyone, they varied. There were days of mistakes and laziness and in-fighting, and there were days, good days, when by anyone's judgment they would have to be considered clever. No one would say that what they were doing was complicated. It wouldn't even be considered new, except for maybe in the geological sense. They took from their surroundings what was needed and made of it something more.

User Review

No Maps for These Territories

Rating: 9/10

It's not easy to follow. The production values aren't perfect. There's not an obvious 'good guy' or 'bad guy.' But was this movie any good? Oh hell yes.

This movie has been compared to "2001" because of the sci-fi angle. But while the movie has one sci-fi element in it (the device), the movie isn't even about that. It's about these two guys, and how it affects them individually, and their relationship with one another.

I found this movie to be fairly challenging, but worth the ride. I was up for hours discussing this movie with friends, and if that's not what you like to do with your movies, then this one probably isn't for you. But if you like something that tweaks your brain, that you can watch repeated times, that you can really chew on... then here comes "Primer," like a ghost in the night.

It's too early to tell where this movie will reside in cinematic history-- revered, forgotten, or somewhere in between-- but it's already won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance (where it beat out 'Garden State'), and just won't go away. It moves along, it's clever, it held my attention. Even "Pi" didn't do that, and if you're a film nerd, that's saying something.

If you're not a film nerd, approach this one with more caution. Remember, Shane Carruth had no idea even how to make a movie when he started making this one, but the end result is something far more fascinating than your typical film-school snob could ever put together. This is wholly original, and took me someplace I have never been. And that alone makes the "2001" comparison start to look more and more accurate.....