Guest / Limited Access /

In a day when blockbuster movies often cost well over $100 million to make, a "low-budget" film might cost, say, less than $5 million. Rare is the film that cost less than a "measly" $1 million. There's the occasional shoestring budget smash hit, like 1999's Blair Witch Project, which was made for $40,000. But now along comes Shane Carruth, an introspective dreamer who has proven you can make a good movie for $7,000. That's not a typo: Carruth made Primer, his film debut, for seven thousand bucks. Carruth, 31, took three years, working 18-hour days, to make the film, wearing just about every hat himself; he conceived it, financed it, wrote the script, directed, edited, scored it and even acted in it, playing one of the lead roles—all (mostly) to save money. The result is a heady-but-quirky sci-fi gem that is fast gaining acclaim, winning the Grand Jury Award at Sundance, and receiving high marks at other festivals and by critics everywhere.

Primer (PG-13) features two young engineers, Aaron (Carruth) and Abe (David Sullivan), who work for a large corporation by day and do experiments in the garage at night. When one of their experiments turns into a time machine, the guys discover they can have anything they want. Taking advantage of the opportunity is their first challenge; dealing with the consequences of their choices is the next. It's a fascinating story, though not a simple one. Esquire exclaimed, "Anybody who claims they fully understand what's going on in Primer after seeing it just once is either a savant or a liar." But Esquire also called it "the headiest, most singular science-fiction movie since Kubrick made 2001." Heady praise indeed.

Meanwhile, New York Times critic A.O. Scott wrote, "I wouldn't say that ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Tags:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueRon Sider: Why I Am Voting for Hillary Clinton
Subscriber Access Only
Ron Sider: Why I Am Voting for Hillary Clinton
This election, there are only two meaningful choices for president. Why one is the far wiser choice.
Current IssueJimmy Carter: Pursuing an Arc of Reconciliation
Subscriber Access Only
Jimmy Carter: Pursuing an Arc of Reconciliation
The former president has a new hope for racial justice— starting with the church.
TrendingResearch Says: Young People Don't Want Hip Pastors
Research Says: Young People Don't Want Hip Pastors
A study of 250 congregations suggests that youth and young adults want substance rather than style.
Editor's PickOld Hollywood’s Abortion Secret
Old Hollywood’s Abortion Secret
What a culture of death tells us about a culture of life.
Christianity Today
A Primer on Filmmaking
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

October 2004

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.