Monday, November 06, 2006

MOVIE REVIEW: The Prestige

Hello all I'm back! I know it's been a while but it's been a crazy month. Just today I got a chance to see The Prestige starring Hugh "Wolverine" Jackman, Christian "Batman" Bale, Michael "Alfred" Caine and the lovely Scarlett Johansson. I did not realize, until the credits, that this film was based on a novel by Christopher Priest. The screenplay, however, was written by Jonathan Nolan. Director Christopher Nolan does what he does best with sleight of hand directing tricks and crisscrossing back-story to keep your eyes moving from one surprise to another. Very much in the vein of his first film and major hit Memento. I really want to see this one again because I definitely feel I have missed something important. The score is ominous and adds to the mystery of the story. Although I must admit in the end everything seems to be too simple and un-complicated, but you be the judge.

The film centers on two rival magicians Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) and Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) who try to one-up each other in order to become the single greatest magician in history. Their rivalry launches an obsession to learn how each of them performs their respective tricks. This story takes place at the turn of the century, where science and magic converge. Cutter (Michael Caine) uses science to create elaborate machines to help Angier perfect his illusion. He also utters the great tagline describing the three stages of a magic trick. The Pledge, The Turn and finally the Prestige. When Cutter can't take Angier where he feels he must go Angier enlists the help of Tesla (David Bowie), a magician who uses electricity in his act. The question is--Is it a trick or is it real magic?

The film jumps from mystery to suspense to drama back to suspense and to some degree becomes a murder mystery by the end of the film. Batman and Wolverine square off with each other as every encounter gets more and more dangerous. It's so fun watching them sneer at one another. There is a very casual cameo by real magician and actor Ricky Jay who appears and then vanishes from the film without much fanfare. Bowie as Tesla is used to his greatest advantage used sparingly and with an aura of mystery around him. A few months ago I saw the Illusionist, which is another film about magicians, and I said that I would try to compare the two to see which one was the best. Honestly I really loved them both. They are different from each other but they do have a commonality which I will not go into here because it may give too much away. All I'll say is the Turn is very important in both films. Chris Nolan has made an exceptional film and it is definitely one I will be buying once it's made it to DVD. But don't wait for it to come out for the small box, if you haven't seen it yet go now before the slew of Christmas flicks comes out, because if you haven't noticed, the box office for the film is dwindling fast and before long the turn will be without the Prestige.

Grade: 5 Buckets

1 comment:

Speck said...


Watch the movie again. Its so brilliant.

Nolan gives the movie away in EVERY Scene. The Prestige indeed. Amazing writing, and amazing filmmaking.

I am currently reading the novel.