Friday, July 25, 2008

#26 The Prestige


The Prestige
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Written by Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan (based on the novel by Christopher Priest)
Released October 20, 2006

Okay, I admit it: I'm on an insane Batman/Christian Bale/Christopher Nolan kick right now. I got up at 8 in the morning today to take in a second showing of The Dark Knight, this time in Imax (worth every penny for the exploding building scene alone). I'm tearing my apartment apart looking for my copies of Empire of the Sun on DVD and The Killing Joke and Batman: Year One graphic novels.

Luckily, when I was sorting through my Netflix que a couple of weeks back, I had anticipated this, adding The Prestige to my list of movies. I figured I'd want another dose of Michael Caine and Christian Bale in a dark, strange Nolan picture, made after the release of Batman Begins.

At the risk of sounding like almost every review that came out at the time of the release of The Prestige, I have only two pieces of advice; first, note that the entire film is constructed like the 3 act magic trick Michael Caine describes at the beginning, and second, watch closely.

I'm afraid I can't say much more, at least regarding the story, without somehow spoiling some aspect of the movie. All you really need to know going in is that it's a Victorian-era tale about two rival magicians, played by Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale, who go to lengths you can't even imagine to try and top each other.

The look of the film is impeccable, from the period-perfect sets and costumes to the eerie and creepy use of elements like light, fog and shadow. The acting is great, and the roster of performers includes a couple of small but effective appearances by David Bowie and real life magician Ricky Jay.

Overall, I liked The Prestige, though I felt the run time could have been trimmed by about 15 minutes to bring it just under the 2 hour mark. Still, even though I didn't love it, I'm of the opinion that Christopher Nolan has yet to make a bad flick.

You probably won't see the ending coming, but you may or may not accept it when it is presented to you. In a way, it's like finding out the truth behind your favorite magic trick: seeing behind the curtain, so to speak, may make you resent the person for revealing everything.

For more on The Prestige:
- More on the movie at and Wikipedia. Definitely check out the trivia section at IMDB after watching the movie, as there are a few very interesting facts and clues.
- All kinds of fun to be had over at the official movie/DVD site, including a link to buy

The official movie trailer, from YouTube:

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