The Prestige

Well, am back with a review on another of Christopher Nolan’s movies.

I am in sheer awe with the way this guy writes a script, picks his actors and gets into the intricate detailing of his movies. I can go on for atleast a day about The Dark Knight, so much so that people will get fed up with my incessant emphasis on the truly one-of-a-kind masterpiece. So, now it’s The Prestige; where Chris Nolan and his brother Jonathan Nolan, who bursted their way into the scene with the power packed Memento, are up to new ‘tricks’. If Memento had two parallel storylines, Prestige has three; Yes, They better themselves in “The Prestige”.

Set in the early 20th century, in the times of Telsa and Edison, when electricity was considered mysterious, Prestige is mainly a story of rivalry between two magicians; and about who finds a newer and better trick to bring in a larger audience. Prestige starts off with Michael Caine[who plays the role of the manager to the magician] introducing the viewer to the key aspects in a magic trick. Christian Bale [Alfred Borden] and Hugh Jackman [Robert Angier], both competent actors, play the roles of assistants to this magician and think that their Boss is not that good a magician, as he keeps repeating his magic tricks again and again. Tragedy strikes during a show, when an accident results in the death of Angier’s wife, due to a mistake committed by Borden. Their rivalry turns to enmity, each trying to beat the other into trying to find a new trick. Borden comes up with a trick called “The Transported Man”. In it, the magician travels from one side of the stage to the other in a split second. It’s pretty fabulous, and Angier can only figure one way to do it, and it clearly is not the way Borden does it. I don’t want to give away too many spoilers here lest I make you disinterested in watching the movie. This is the brief plot.

As for the detailing, Nolan is one of the directors who gives a lot of attention to detail, and also makes sure that some of the faithful movie watchers like me notice it! [Sorry for the lack of modesty!]. The scene where Angier comes up with a new device to remove the pigeon from the cage without killing it in the process, or the one where a little boy cries that a bird has been killed [when Angier’s boss does the same trick], or the one where Bale tries the “Bullet Stop” trick [a trick where the magician stops the bullet aimed at him], the costumes, the sets; everything is perfect. Nolan scores full marks on his detailing.

Dialogues are another highlight in his movies. This one has its share of good ones. These are some of them. “A real magician tries to invent something new, that other magicians are gonna scratch their heads over.” “Man’s reach exceeds his grasp”? It’s a lie. Man’s grasp exceeds his nerve. The only limits on scientific progress are those imposed by society.” [Told by Tesla to Angier]

Christian Bale throws in a superb performance, am growing a bigger fan of his with each passing movie [especially after watching American Psycho, The Machinist and the likes]; Hugh Jackman too; and Scarlett Johansson plays her part of Angier’s assistant well; along with Michael Caine as Cutter, the manager.

The three parallel storylines confuse the viewer. But as usual Nolan manages to tie them all up at the end masterfully. The climax has a chilling twist that takes time to sink in. Atleast I didn’t get it on the first watch and had to watch the last 5 minutes twice to fully understand what the ending means. Overall, Prestige is a must watch for anyone who has a penchant for different movies, and Nolan fans of course, this is one of his many best…

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4 comments

  1. To start off, i LOVED this movie athough it need a lot of concious concentation to actually understand whats going on. The tricks were amazing! and i have to agree, the detailing was really good! 🙂

    Ashwin..nice review (Déjà vu?)…..yet again 🙂

  2. d description of d last 5 mins is damn accurate 🙂 even i watched it twice(thrice rather) a brilliant movie this one was 🙂

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