The Prestige (2006)

I wrote this review up a few years back, and the movie still holds up the exact same way for me, so here’s that review with slight edits.

When The Prestige first started playing, I was immediately worried that Christopher Nolan was going back to the Memento well, starting a movie with the ending and so forth. My fears were put to rest soon enough, as I grew familiar with the non-linear story structure and immersed myself into the magical world Nolan crafted for this film. Essentially the movie is all about the obsession two magicians have with besting the other in their chosen field. Former partners Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) head off in different directions after breaking away from magician ringleader Cutter (Michael Caine). Angier is a natural showman and while his tricks aren’t of the cutting edge variety, he’s a far better entertainer than Borden is at first. Borden’s got a few tricks up his sleeve though, one of which completely mystifies Angier to the point of stealing it and adapting it for his own show.

That’s all the backstory you get. The rest is shrouded in mystery for now… unless you’ve seen the movie of course. Let’s get it out of the way now, yes, it’s Batman vs. Wolverine. Christian Bale brings his trademark A game to the part of Borden, giving him a shady feel to the point where you wonder just how far he’ll go to triumph over Angier. It makes you wonder exactly what you were witness to in that first big scene, the real ending or a variation on it. Jackman is fairly decent as the relatively upper crust magician, though at no point in the movie are you sure whom you should be rooting for.

As you may have read elsewhere, the twist is somewhat predictable but in a fairly good way. It’s not a cheat by any means, there were hints dropped throughout the movie and it bears mentioning that this movie demands a second viewing.  There are wonderful performances throughout, the story is fantastic, the supporting cast is excellent and David Bowie is tremendous in his small part. The movie looks gorgeous, capturing the perfect moods for every scene.  The one thing I didn’t like was the constant one-up-manship that reached a ridiculous level late in the movie. Yeah, I get that they’re both smart and cunning, but apparently not smart enough to allow the same trick to be played on each other.

4.5 / 5

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About SkoochXC
Long-time blogger, Canadian, cine-snark-aphile, Tweeter and generally lonely hearted guy.

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