Excerpt: Shane Carruth's debut, 2004's Primer , was an arthouse success story. It cost Carruth $7,000 and several years to make the film almost entirely on his own, but the rewards more than made up for it— Primer gained the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and a cult following. It also gave Carruth some big-name supporters, like Rian Johnson ( Looper ) and Steven Soderbergh ( Out of Sight ). A lot of people are going to hate Upstream Color .
Excerpt: When Shane Carruth's Primer emerged at Sundance nearly a decade ago, it seemed perversely inscrutable, a left-brain puzzle film made by and for the mathematically inclined. An intimidating degree of obfuscation, of course, was very much part of the point, our confusion before both the mechanics and implications of time travel designed to reflect the characters' own, but the film's conceptual rigor nevertheless invited the scrutiny of close reading.
Conclusion: Upstream Color is a niche film to be sure. As I described the plot to a mainstream-friendly pal I was certain would not watch it, the response was, "I hate this movie," despite him having never seen a frame. It's aimed squarely at those who appreciate an artful touch and who can accept an experimental presentation that forces you to think and contemplate what you watched, rather than being spoon-fed.
Excerpt: When Shane Carruth came out of nowhere—nowhere being the suburbs of Dallas, Texas—to win the 2004 Grand Jury Prize at Sundance with his exceptionally frugal brainteaser Primer , the story of its making got ahead of its significant accomplishment. And it was a great story: In the face of a still-nascent digital revolution, well before the technology caught up with the impulse to shoot on video, Carruth rejected the cheaper format and shot Primer on 16mm for $7,000, a...
Summary: A kitchen-sink time travel flick made pretty much singlehandedly and for just thousands of dollars, Shane Carruth's 2004 debut Primer is a fascinating footnote in film history. Having disappeared into the ether for the past decade, this talented writer/director/actor/etc returns with a metaphysical sci-fi love story so formally experimental it could be a student film, except for the technical mastery on display.