Directed by Thabiso Christopher, Netflix’s 2023 film, Prime very interestingly amalgamates religious concepts with psychological aspects and weaves a narrative where the latter gets affected by the former. There are a lot of things that are shown in an abstract manner, and the director leaves it up to the audience to formulate their own theories and speculations. So, let’s find out what was happening in Prime film, why Marius was hallucinating, and if he was able to defeat the demons of his past life and erase the traumatic memories of his childhood.
Why did Marius hate his father?
Through the various flashback sequences and Marius’s confession, we got to know that his mother was suffering from severe depression. Because of his father’s actions, his mother was in such a state. Marius’s father, Pieter, was an unfaithful man, and he got attracted to a woman much younger than him and had another son with him. Pieter knew that his wife wasn’t financially independent, so he took advantage of that fact. He went and married the younger woman, and that figuratively pushed Marius’s mother off the cliff. Unable to deal with the pain, she decided to end her life. Marius was quite young at that time, but he remembered everything, and those visions of his mother closing the door behind her, of her surrendering to her misery, of her shouting and crying, kept haunting him throughout his life. When Pieter died, Marius didn’t feel even an ounce of remorse.
The death pushed him into a state where his mind started playing tricks on him, but that was not because he loved his father. For years, he sought love and validation from him, but he could never understand his son. Marius didn’t want any share of his property, though Thembi asked him to take it and do something meaningful with it. Marius went and asked for confession for his mother, but the priest told him that in Catholicism, there was no forgiveness for suicide. He said that intermediaries like him cannot negotiate on such matters and that his mother would have to deal with the almighty directly. Marius knew that his mother was not at peace; he could feel it in his bones, and he wanted her to rest, but he realized that probably her eternal damnation would never end.
What did Eva symbolize?
The first time we saw Eva was when Marius opened his laptop and saw the video of a girl who provided escort services. Then, one day, he saw the same girl on the beach struggling with a man who was trying to snatch her purse. Marius saved Eva, and that’s when it became apparent that she was probably not present in real life and Marius was just imagining her. I believe Marius must have seen Eva at some point in his life, and then he just allowed his mind to play tricks on him. It is interesting how, during the first conversation Marcus had with Eva, he referred to her as Namaah, who, according to a particular school of thought in Jewish mysticism, is considered to be a monster who used the desires of humans to give birth to all sorts of evil in the world that plagued mankind.
Eva was a personification of that devil, and from the very beginning of Prime, she was feeding on the fears that Marius had embedded deep inside his core. Eva made sure that Marius was made to be a prey to his actions, and he became just like his old man. There was a scene in Prime where Thembi understood how much Marius hated his father, and she told him that he was not like him. She told him that he was not selfish, he was not racist, and he cared for his community, which made him a far better man than his father could ever be. But Marius knew that the ancient evil was getting the better of him, and it was forcing him to do something that he would regret for his entire life. Eva, aka Namaah, was tapping into the innate evil that is said to be inside each and every human being. Up until then, Marius had fought quite hard and not let his demons get the better of him, but now even he knew that the rope was slipping from his hands and he was going to fall into a pit from which he could never escape.
Was Marius racist?
To begin with, we are shown in Prime how Marius wanted to take a stand for his community. His mother always wanted to open a cafe where she could sell her fish and chips. Marius always said that he knew what it was like to be a fisherman. He said that he wanted to spearhead the project. He wanted to support the cause of the local fishermen and make sure that they had enough to sustain their livelihood. When a man is so socially aware and empathetic towards the plight of others, you don’t think that he could discriminate between people on the basis of their religion, caste, color, color, or anything else. But a conversation that happened at the end of Prime made us realize how the traumas of his past life—his grief, his madness, his pain—made him racist, and the worst part about it was that he became like somebody he absolutely hated, i.e., his father. Chris, Marius’s colleague, came home, and after a heated discussion, he told Thembi that Marius was upset about the fact he could lead the project, but what bothered him so much was that a black man took all the credit. Thembi was distraught, and when Marius wasn’t able to defend himself, she realized that Chris was not lying. He inherited his father’s original sin, and he embodied his ideologies and beliefs. Now, Marius knew that there was no going back.
Did Marius take his life in the end?
Thembi was an extremely supportive girl, but she was let down by Marius, and till the end, she lost all hope that she could ever have a life with him. After his father’s death, or maybe even before that, Marius was in a very depressed state of mind where he couldn’t differentiate between what was real and what was not. He blamed his partner for being unfaithful to him, but in reality, Thembi had been assaulted by a friend of hers. With no one in her life to support her, Thembi was finding it very hard to make ends meet. She wanted a job, and her friend tried taking advantage of her desperation. Thembi never said anything to Marius because she knew that he already had a lot on his plate. But she lost her mind when he blamed her for cheating on him with Chris and other men, too. Thembi told her how he couldn’t even provide emotional support for her. In the end, the evil completely grabbed hold of his conscience, and we saw Marius walking towards the ocean.
Prime‘s ending doesn’t reveal if Marius actually took his life or not, but I personally believe that evil won the battle this one time and coerced Marius to commit the unforgivable sin of ending his own life. Marius probably relayed that he couldn’t escape eternal damnation, and he stopped fighting and surrendered to his fate.