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30

Primer is a very complex movie and hard-to-impossible to understand in the first watching. This is due to the fact that we only see a small part of the actual happenings in the story, and the scenes are not in a chronologically correct order. This is hard to spot, as the scenes seem to fit after each other, but sometimes they are reruns of a scene that is ...


30

Here you go. A picture depicting the 9 different timelines of the movie :)


18

It is implied that something happens in the future. We are left to assume it has something to do with Rachel dying or being injured some time in the future. Now if we followed the events that are implied to have happened, we would have watched Abe and Aaron grieve over her death, remember that the boxes have been running since before her death and then they ...


9

Q: What I'd like to know is how things would work out if before ever inventing my first time-travel machine I'd fix to myself the very simple rule above: "Always enter on 2013-oct-15 at 6pm and on 2013-oct-15 at 6pm only, unless I've seen my future-self come out". A: There would be two versions of you in existence. One version -- "You A" -- would be 12 ...


9

In the original timeline, Rachel is injured or killed at the party. The first Aaron to emerge from the original failsafe box (hooded Aaron who drugs his "innocent" pre-time-travel self) knows this. When he is challenged by the later version of himself, he agrees to leave because the newer copy of himself has already done what he intended (record the ...


8

Here's my thoughts: Granger goes into a coma because he has become an unresolved paradox. It's unclear when he arrived - we can guess 5pm, after Abe turned on the machine - or what, exactly, went wrong. We'll never know. "The permutations are endless." What we do know is this: when Thomas Granger interacted with Abe and Aaron, he prevented himself from ever ...


8

I have always thought from watching Primer (3 times in one evening) that the problem that the users of the time-machine experience is not from duration in the box, but the number of times they have used it. Since by the rules of the time-machine mean that you can't go forwards at all, and can only go back as far as the box existed, then the box acts like a ...


7

The easiest explanation I have yet found of Primer can be found in an article on a sci-fi/astronomy site: Inventors Aaron and Abe try to develop technology capable of making the mass of objects lighter by blocking gravity, but instead inadvertently invent a time machine. Abe then builds a time machine big enough to hold a human being, and ...


7

Several difficulties/problems come to mind: Given the time setting of the movie (based on the type of computers and cell phones they use), they don't have the same technology we currently have. It would have been hard to design something that autonomous that still worked inside the storage unit. I don't think looking up the stock info from inside the ...


6

This interested me a lot too. What happened to Thomas Granger, why did he come back and why does he pass out. Firstly as soon as they discover that Granger has come back they realise it could only have been because of an emergency. It could be argued that since he was financing Abe and Aaron he would have been in the best position to discover or be told ...


5

There's no absolute answer in the movie, but Aaron gives us a hint as to what's happening in this scene (later in the movie): I can see the letters. I know what they should look like. I just can't get my hand to make them easily. Try comparing it to your left hand. Mine looks the same. Clearly they've suffered some sort of neurological damage. There are ...


4

Spoilers everywhere. (Note that this answer will not make any sense at all to someone who has not seen the film yet.) Aaron and Abe never definitively answer the question in the film. But there's a hint in the early scene where Aaron recoils his hand from the machine. He thinks he feels something, but isn't quite sure, saying "I don't know if I'm making ...


4

The narrator himself (Aaron2) is an Aaron who encountered a future Aaron (Aaron3) who looped back to do the party a second time. Aaron2 himself has been convinced by Aaron3 to not do the party, instead letting Aaron3 attempt to perfect it: "So I left. He had already performed the task as I intended to, by recording the conversations of the day just in ...


3

I think he came back to stop them from creating a paradox (and some "emergency") by punching the guy in the face and then telling themselves not to. He does stop them but ends up in a coma when he comes into contact with them. Maybe because that created a paradox itself? Either that or he didn't wait for the machine to be low-functioning when he exited (too ...


3

There is a rather crude way to get this done. We know that Aaron and Abe are both capable of drugging their alternate selves unconscious. One of them could use two boxes and repeat this dark ritual multiple times, and then clean up the mess. Start box A. Start box B. If you receive a voicemail from yourself saying 'mission is go', use box A and go to step ...


3

As they begin their exploitation of the stock market, both characters are afraid of bringing about any possible "paradox" situation. They sequester themselves in a hotel room. They do not communicate with anyone until they go "back" (second time through the same day), except to check the stock market. Only when the forgotten cell phone rings when they are ...


2

Along with the answer given by another, it would create a paradox given the way that time travel works in Primer. The alteration of one's past self creates a paradox self, which is why, later in the film, one pair of Abe and Aaron lose the ability to write. With them going back in time, it allows them to take the full benefit of time travel without the risk ...


2

The whole point of the Granger subplot is that they cannot know why he travelled back - Aaron states as much in the narrative. Thomas Granger falls unconcious whenever in proximity to Abe because the sharing of information between them would create a paradox that the Universe cannot allow. This revelation is what convinces Abe to return to the failsafe point ...


2

When Abe and Aaron first exit the box together, they get into the vehicle to talk about it. The audience is left wondering "where did Abe get the funding to build such a thing?". At that moment, Abe's Cellphone rings, he picks up and says "Hi Rachel". At this point, we dont know how many times the box has been used (once at least, as we saw an Abe clone ...


2

I don't have much to add to these interesting speculations. But the director's commentary on the DVD indicates that he was asked this very question at a tech conference. Carruth explained that he intentionally wanted to leave it open how Granger figured into the narrative. I'm paraphrasing from memory, but he liked the idea that certain aspects of the story ...


2

At the end of the film Abe considers both himself and Aaron to be hopelessly corrupted by what they have done. There is no trust between them and they cannot plausibly return to their previous lives. Abe wants a version of Aaron to continue being a husband, father and entrepeneur, for the sake of Aaron's family, and a version of himself to live the life he ...


2

In the causal trail, if the first set of Abe and Aaron don't create the time machine, that should ideally reset the timeline right to the beginning. There would never be a successful time machine created. Abe and Aaron would give up and move on to other projects. None of the skewed timelines would exist and none of the other Abes and Aarons would exist. ...


1

My future-self comes back and from my point of view it is just that: my future-self that knows what the lottery number are going to be that day etc. Not necessarily! You might see no one emerge from the building. If you decide to use the binoculars, from your point of view, it is possible you will see yourself, and it is possible you will not. Note that ...


1

How and why Thomas Granger came back was deliberately made vague in the film. As per an interview with Shane Carruth (Primer writer and director, and also the actor who played Aaron) (emphasis mine): Q: Does everything add up, or did you deliberately leave a few loose ends? A: It’s never tidily summed up, but I’ve made sure the information is there. ...


1

Abe and Aaron (A&A) attempted to keep symmetry where possible throughout their travels, and failing that to 'have a reset,' albeit a double-inducing reset, via the failsafes. What I find interesting about the Thomas Granger Incident (TGI) is that we as the audience do not follow the narrative thread that finalised these events. Rather, we experience '...


1

The answer is simpler than you think. The paradox they were attempting to test (punching Platts) caused some unknown future emergency which required Granger to be contacted and brought into the loop. Granger gets into one of the boxes that Aaron was already using to go back in, which is why he can't get near to Granger (quantum entanglement?) without ...


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