I just watched the movie Primer, twice. In the end, I felt like I had just watched a very good movie. But I’m not sure why I feel this way, since I have not the first clue what happened in it.
Please explain, if you can.
I followed just fine, I think, until the scene when Robert and Phillip return to the garage after having been locked out for a few days, and Abe is there working on something. Abe turns around towards them while they’re talking, and the move is cinematically framed as though something important were going on, and he asks them “What did you just call him? What were you talking about when you walked in?” or something to that effect. Well, I have no idea why he asked that–they didn’t call anybody anything, and they weren’t talking about anything in particular when they walked in. So though I understand that their response (in which they begin to give an account of what happens in the semi-climactic pary scene later/earlier on) begins setting the stage for what happens later on in the movie, nevertheless I don’t understand why Abe is so interested in what they are saying, or even why he asked the question he did. Since the question seems random and unmotivated for me, the purpose of the scene (in terms of plot, not necessarily in terms of exposition) escapes me. It seems kind of crucial, so I spend the rest of the movie a bit confused.
After this scene, almost every plot element left me baffled. Do I understand correctly that Abe was forcing his double to breath that gas, or was that Thomas whom he was forcing it on? If it was Abe, I guess this was Abe-before-the-machine-was-built and Abe had just gone through the “fail safe” machine to a time before the whole thing had started. So… did he kill himself? Meanwhile, what was Aaron doing to hispast self and why? And why would he have had to do this more than once? And I know that it was some phase of Aaron who was the “pests” in the attic, but which phase, and which Aaron eventually pushed his way out of there? And what was the purportedly morally questionable thing Aaron did which made Abe so upset with him in the last scene? And am I supposed to understand how Thomas Granger got brought into the mess and why he was comatose? And why was Aaron trying to “get a three second lead” on the conversations in which he would be participating for the day? What advantage, towards what goal, did this give him? And finally, what was the significance of the idea of “putting one box inside another”? What would this accomplish, and who did what with this idea?
Any and all help and discussion will be appreciated and enjoyed.