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"The Prestige..."

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Tue 21/11/06 at 15:39
Regular
Posts: 2,781
Christopher Nolan is one of those directors where I greatly anticipate his next work each time I see his latest film. I absolutely loved Memento, and what he did with the Batman franchise was masterful. I even enjoyed his lesser-known remake of Insomnia. Nolan, in my eyes, has yet to step wrong, and when I heard that he was adapating the novel of The Prestige, I was instantly interested, and even moreso when I read who had signed on to star.

The basic premise of The Prestige is two magicians (played with gusto and heart by Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman) who, following a tragedy on stage, are essentially competing to wow audiences with the "ultimate magic trick", and what initially started off as a friendship very quickly descends into an epic rivalry. The two main characters will essentially stop at literally nothing to best the other, and their competitiveness very quickly becomes an obsession. To say anymore about the plot would be criminal, as the plot is littered with several twists and turns that certainly caught me off-guard, and all the better for it.

If there were ever a film that was a true exercise in a winding narrative, The Prestige would have to be it. Telling the tale of this rivalry by cutting to flashbacks and then back to present day, things slowly unravel, and we begin to realise just how obsessed these two magicians are with besting each other.

The cast on show is certainly one of the best of the year (and would probably have been the best had it not been for last month's "The Departed"). Christian Bale, who I've yet to see put in an anything less than stellar acting performance, shines as the brilliant and mysterious Alfred Borden, and again proves that he is deserving of an Oscar one of these days. Hugh Jackman also does well in his role as Robert Angier, the opposing, smouldering, obsessed magician.

The supporting cast are also worth several nods - namely Michael Caine in the role of Mr. Cutter, the man behind the scenes, as it were. It was certainly a welcome sight to see Caine acting opposite Bale again (although their scenes together are few and far between), after their superb partnership in Batman Begins. Also, people may be surprised to notice David Bowie lurking around as the brilliant physicist Nikola Tesla. Several of my friends in fact didn't recognise him. Needless to say, he put on a performance that far and away exceeded all of my expectations, and he should absolutely be commended for it. Scarlett Johansson and Piper Perabo as the lucious magician's assistants also do well in their parts.

The film in a technical sense is a marvel to behold. The Victorian Era is beautifully recreated by Nolan and his team, and the various magic contraptions are all interesting to look at on-screen. The scenery utilised in the film is by and large very beautiful, reminiscent of a living painting in many respects. I can bet that the majority of the frames that make up this film would work very well as standalone pieces of art.

The Prestige is a film that keeps you guessing, and the idea of magic is a metaphor for the film itself, in that things appear normal at first, but soon enough, strange things begin to happen, and then the big reveal as the film draws to its climax is like the end of a magic trick. The main theme of the film is whether magic actually exists, or is it all misdirection? Is one of these men a "real" magician? You get answers, and ones I found largely satisfying, although I could see how one could be slightly irked by them, in that they're not what I expected from watching the trailer. My only issue with the surprises and twists is that one of the major ones was perhaps revealed too early, and when embellished upon later, it seemed a tad overstated. Still, there's a wealth of other twists and turns that make it hard to complain about the film, also when one considers just how dilligently crafted the film is.

There is only one complaint that I can level against the film, if you can call it a complaint. Some aspects of the plot were slightly confusing, and the film demands a lot from the viewer in terms of paying attention. I'm guessing viewers will get far more out of this film after having seen it a second time. Still, it's refreshing to see a film that engages one's mind as much as this did with mine - I was discussing it with friends for several hours, debating possible theories and whatnot.

To conclude, The Prestige is a film of the highest order, combining masterful craftsmanship in the technical sense, an absolutely incredible script, and a cast that other directors would foam at the mouth for. Also, I think it's a film that will serve better from repeat viewings. As soon as I saw it, I wanted to see it again to pick on anything I missed, as there's so much to ponder when watching it. It is in a sense an exhausting film to watch, but in the best way possible. It would be a credit to Hollywood if more films were as thoughtful as this one. Christopher Nolan again proves that he's one of the most dilligent directors in Hollywood, and I avidly await his next project, which I hope will leave up to the brilliance he has put on show here.

Thanks for reading,
Reefer.
Wed 03/01/07 at 02:19
Regular
"I like cheese"
Posts: 16,918
Best. Film. Ever.
Tue 21/11/06 at 17:10
Regular
"you've got a beard"
Posts: 7,442
nice one reefer!

this one is definitely on my list of things to spend my tiny amount of cash on!
Tue 21/11/06 at 15:39
Regular
Posts: 2,781
Christopher Nolan is one of those directors where I greatly anticipate his next work each time I see his latest film. I absolutely loved Memento, and what he did with the Batman franchise was masterful. I even enjoyed his lesser-known remake of Insomnia. Nolan, in my eyes, has yet to step wrong, and when I heard that he was adapating the novel of The Prestige, I was instantly interested, and even moreso when I read who had signed on to star.

The basic premise of The Prestige is two magicians (played with gusto and heart by Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman) who, following a tragedy on stage, are essentially competing to wow audiences with the "ultimate magic trick", and what initially started off as a friendship very quickly descends into an epic rivalry. The two main characters will essentially stop at literally nothing to best the other, and their competitiveness very quickly becomes an obsession. To say anymore about the plot would be criminal, as the plot is littered with several twists and turns that certainly caught me off-guard, and all the better for it.

If there were ever a film that was a true exercise in a winding narrative, The Prestige would have to be it. Telling the tale of this rivalry by cutting to flashbacks and then back to present day, things slowly unravel, and we begin to realise just how obsessed these two magicians are with besting each other.

The cast on show is certainly one of the best of the year (and would probably have been the best had it not been for last month's "The Departed"). Christian Bale, who I've yet to see put in an anything less than stellar acting performance, shines as the brilliant and mysterious Alfred Borden, and again proves that he is deserving of an Oscar one of these days. Hugh Jackman also does well in his role as Robert Angier, the opposing, smouldering, obsessed magician.

The supporting cast are also worth several nods - namely Michael Caine in the role of Mr. Cutter, the man behind the scenes, as it were. It was certainly a welcome sight to see Caine acting opposite Bale again (although their scenes together are few and far between), after their superb partnership in Batman Begins. Also, people may be surprised to notice David Bowie lurking around as the brilliant physicist Nikola Tesla. Several of my friends in fact didn't recognise him. Needless to say, he put on a performance that far and away exceeded all of my expectations, and he should absolutely be commended for it. Scarlett Johansson and Piper Perabo as the lucious magician's assistants also do well in their parts.

The film in a technical sense is a marvel to behold. The Victorian Era is beautifully recreated by Nolan and his team, and the various magic contraptions are all interesting to look at on-screen. The scenery utilised in the film is by and large very beautiful, reminiscent of a living painting in many respects. I can bet that the majority of the frames that make up this film would work very well as standalone pieces of art.

The Prestige is a film that keeps you guessing, and the idea of magic is a metaphor for the film itself, in that things appear normal at first, but soon enough, strange things begin to happen, and then the big reveal as the film draws to its climax is like the end of a magic trick. The main theme of the film is whether magic actually exists, or is it all misdirection? Is one of these men a "real" magician? You get answers, and ones I found largely satisfying, although I could see how one could be slightly irked by them, in that they're not what I expected from watching the trailer. My only issue with the surprises and twists is that one of the major ones was perhaps revealed too early, and when embellished upon later, it seemed a tad overstated. Still, there's a wealth of other twists and turns that make it hard to complain about the film, also when one considers just how dilligently crafted the film is.

There is only one complaint that I can level against the film, if you can call it a complaint. Some aspects of the plot were slightly confusing, and the film demands a lot from the viewer in terms of paying attention. I'm guessing viewers will get far more out of this film after having seen it a second time. Still, it's refreshing to see a film that engages one's mind as much as this did with mine - I was discussing it with friends for several hours, debating possible theories and whatnot.

To conclude, The Prestige is a film of the highest order, combining masterful craftsmanship in the technical sense, an absolutely incredible script, and a cast that other directors would foam at the mouth for. Also, I think it's a film that will serve better from repeat viewings. As soon as I saw it, I wanted to see it again to pick on anything I missed, as there's so much to ponder when watching it. It is in a sense an exhausting film to watch, but in the best way possible. It would be a credit to Hollywood if more films were as thoughtful as this one. Christopher Nolan again proves that he's one of the most dilligent directors in Hollywood, and I avidly await his next project, which I hope will leave up to the brilliance he has put on show here.

Thanks for reading,
Reefer.

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