Willa's Flic Pic: The Prestige * * * ½
- Christopher Nolan
- Drama/Thriller, 2006
* * * ½
Alfred Borden: The secret impresses no one. The trick you use it for is everything.
Last week when I discussed Thr3e, I said, "A film can play slight of hand along the way to advance the story but I shouldn't be able to see the ace up your sleeve while you're doing it." When the subject is magic, you're dealing with this head on. The Prestige handles it so well, that when I watched it a second time, I had an entirely different reaction than I did with Thr3e.
The Prestige is about two enormous, competing egos. Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) and Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) are magicians who started out studying and working together. But when Angier's wife dies on stage during a trick, he blames Borden and they part ways very bitter. From here it's a tit-for-tat as each tries to ruin the other's career in one-upmanship and dangerous sabotage.
When I watched Thr3e the second time through, I was hit by all the implausibilities. "That's ridiculous" and "that wouldn't happen" crossed my mind several times. But with The Prestige, it was more "oh, wow, they got me on that one" and "oh, I see now." It was very well crafted. While showing magic, it was performing magic on the viewer at the same time and doing it well. I never completely figured it out and neither did My Geek, which is saying something.
The story is pretty intriguing but I have to say that I didn't like either magician at all. In that sense, I was much more empathetic toward Thr3e's Kevin Parsons. Borden and Angier take tremendous risks but they involve other's without full disclosure. Had Borden and Angier's unwitting friends and family known, they would have at least had a choice. Instead, they are casualties in a mere battle of egos. But isn't that always the case with brilliant minds willing to risk anything to do the impossible? Look at the tragic lives of our greatest poets, artists and scientists.
I've loved Christian Bale in everything I've seen him in (Equilibrium, The Machinist, Batman Begins). He's a smart, dedicated actor and it's art to watch his strength on screen. Angier goes a long way in seperating Jackman from Wolverine, which he needs. (I haven't seen The Fountain but I'm anxious to.) And could we have more David Bowie, please! He should do like Christopher Walken and make a cameo in every film. He's always interesting and so diverse - a master craftsman.
As My Geek said, "I am so over Scarlett Johansson." Anyone could have played Olivia and probably given it more than a pouty face. But then, again, we are still recovering from The Black Dahlia. Rebeccah Hall did a much more interesting job as Sarah, the only utterly sympathetic adult character in the entire film.
It's understandable that the director/writer/producer, Christopher Nolan, could pull off something complicated like this film when you see his track record: Momento, Insomnia, and Batman Begins. If Nolan has a film coming out, you should take notice.
Labels: Movie Reviews