If you are going to make a movie about the last man on earth you better cast the best actor you can. All you’re going to have is one man to make the audience invested in his fate and the fate of humanity. It’s has to be someone big, big enough to fill the screen as an actor and as a persona. This movie must be built upon this performance, shaped by it and anywhere it goes has to come from that. Who do you cast? Will Smith. Then you fill your movie with CG vampires, horrible plot twists and a handful of awkward scenes.
SPOILER ALERT: I strongly advise you watch the film first before reading further. (It’s on Netflix instant for those who subscribe)
Primer is one of those true indie movies, made for such a ridiculously small amount of money that all that is on display is the quality of the filmmaking and screenwriting. The man behind it is Shane Carruth, who not only wrote, produced, acted and directed the film but also edited and scored the picture. For a meager $7,000 Shane crafts a simple, mind puzzling, time traveling picture that packs in more depth and geekery in its 77 minute runtime than many a sci-fi picture.
District 9 suffers from split personality. One is a mock-documentary with all the style and conventions expected of the genre. The other is a slick action film made on the cheap. While both cover the same story, they never feel like the same film. In fact, the two halves often simply compensate from the shortcomings of the other half.