As we've mentioned before, we're fans of "Primer," the hardcore nerdy 2004 sci-fi Sundance hit. There a lots of reasons to like it -- its lo-fi approach to science fiction, its frighteningly chilly tone, its clinical dissection of why the power to time-travel would actually be terrible -- but perhaps our favorite thing about "Primer" is that it's utterly baffling. We trust that writer/director/producer/co-star Shane Carruth worked out the physics of his story about two guys who stumble upon the ability to bend time and space, but, honestly, who cares? The endless looping-back-on-itself vertigo of "Primer" is its greatest feature. You don't want to unravel it; you want to get lost in it.
At least we do. Other folks want to get down to the mystery of "Primer." Hence this incredibly dorky "Primer" timeline.
What the chart does is lay out the nine timelines going on in "Primer," explaining what's happening in each and what moments from each are actually seen during the film. Yeah, it's totally nuts and if you try to take it all in, you'll probably explode. But while this has been described as "definitive," even the guy who put this up on the web, Paul Tassi, notes pieces of the timeline where he's sorta guessing what's going on with the movie's different Aarons and Abes. Even those who profess to have finally "solved" "Primer" are still sometimes taking stabs in the dark.
We tip our hat to Tassi, but we confess that we're gonna do our best to forget all that we've seen here. We're glad someone went to all the trouble to figure out all the twists and turns of Carruth's mind-bender, but this is one of those moments where we prefer to live in ignorance and let the movie's spell wash over us. After all, isn't the lesson of "Primer" supposed to be that you shouldn't mess with things you can't possibly understand?