Monday, October 18, 2004

Primer-ey Colors

At Seth's suggestion, I took in Primer on Saturday evening. It's certainly a though-provoking piece of filmmaking, but not necessarily in the philosophical sense, but more in the "what the hell was going on?" sense. I'm not opposed to those kinds of movies at all; I enjoy David Lynch films quite a bit, and part of the fun is using the film's logic to try and deduce what's happening. Lynch is a stickler for in-film logic and continuity; he's so meticulous (on the set of Blue Velvet, he went as far as to put dust bunnies under the radiators and furniture) that it's doubtful anything in the film is arbitrary.

Primer was 95% of the way there. Throughout the film, they used really sharp editing to tell the story very quickly - several times, you had to make logical leaps as you realized a good deal of time had passed since the last scene and the next, and then play catch-up. The sound was mixed terribly. There's a scene of the main characters standing in a fountain, and it sounds like it was recorded with one boom mike on a camcorder - so the dialogue was lost for some stupid sense of "realism" that could have easily been cleaned up in post-production. And, sadly, in the last 15 minutes of the film, the editing style began to work against the picture, to the point where you could no longer tell what was going on. Things happened so quickly, you could only take bits and pieces and try to assemble the whole, which is a pretty sloppy way to finish a movie.

All in all, it was a great premise with solid acting and pretty good filmmaking skills, but the limitations of the medium - and the director's own artistic vision - cut the story off at the knees. It's really kind of sad when the director's own attempts to be artistic ended up shortchanging the entire picture, but that's what seemed to happen: it was a great build-up with a confusing and unsatisfying end.

I guess I'll have to watch Lost Highway again.

No comments: