10 Time Travel Movies To See Before You Die

From Primer to Donnie Darko, via Interstellar.

Donnie Darko
Newmarket Films

The film industry's technological capabilities have grown exponentially over the past few decades, and with such advances have come the ability for directors to make their rich visions a reality on screen.

Time travel and cinema are the perfect combination, as the inherently visual medium allows for an expansive form of storytelling that can take us to any time and place - and back - whilst retaining narrative consistency and coherence.

That said, coherence is not always the name of the game when it comes to time travel on the silver screen, as many writers and directors thrive on presenting us with labyrinthine stories that require multiple viewings of a film just to get to grips with.

With the time-bending Tenet cresting the horizon, presenting something of a new dawn for all the tried and tested time travel concepts, there may never be a better time than now to dig into the rich recent history of temporal tinkering cinema and shine a light on a selection of features that demand to be viewed.

From moody indie hits to glossy superhero blockbusters, micro crews to all-star casts, mind twisters to action standards, there is a transtemporal flick to suit every taste.

10. Primer

Donnie Darko
IFC Films

Whether being used in physics lectures to get undergrads psyched for quantum mechanics, or having its virtues extolled by hipster film buffs over a schooner of double-dandelion hop reduction, Primer (and its nigh-incomprehensible plot) has been the talk of the time travel town since its release.

The film follows two engineers who accidentally discover time travel in their garage. After using their machine to secure financial gain, the pair become increasingly divided and obsessed over the its uses, possibilities and dark consequences.

No matter what, it cannot be denied that Primer has a depth and complexity when it comes to time travel that few other films have broached. In fact, if this list were purely concerned with the most realistic and detailed representation of time travel, it would surely be number one.

But Primer's lack of lack of narrative clarity or cinematic prowess earn it something only a little higher than an honourable mention.

To its detriment, the film banks everything on realism, with an almost obnoxious disregard for its audience - somehow forgetting in all its cleverness that, without an audience, there is no film.

This is definitely one to see - several times over - but don't expect philosophical insight, artistic revelation or jaw-dropping spectacle.

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