A magic trick is only successful if the magician can complete, The Prestige. What the hell is that you ask? The prestige is the product of a successful magic trick. Think of it as a magician making sure his subject is returned for the grand finale. In the magicians circle of trust this is very important.
Now what we're talking about here is the film, The Prestige; which is
credited to director Christopher Nolan who also co-wrote the film along with
Jonathan Nolan. I have never seen a film so deep into the art of magic that was as serious and respectful of the craft as this was.
The Prestige takes place in late 19th century London and follows the lives of two up and coming magicians Rupert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale). Both of the men's' satisfaction comes not only from the adulation of the audience at the wonder of the act but also from the art and mystery behind the tricks as well. After a shared tragedy that each blames the other for, their once perfectly matched partnership dissolves into a fierce rivalry.
After they go their separate ways they eventually each go into business and start their
own magic shows. Angier, along with his business partner Cutter (Michael
Cain), struggle with their shows when Angier doesn't seem too pull of new
tricks. Borden on the other hand, becomes quite the popular magician and his abilities seemingly grow beyond his former partners. The true rivalry begins when Angier witnesses Borden pulling off the ultimate magic trick "” one that no one has ever seen.
Baffled by the accomplishment, Angier becomes obsessed with finding out
the secret to the trick and becomes determined to out perform his Borden.
Olivia Wendscombe (Scarlet Johansson) plays the assistant for Angier and the
love interest for both men. She eventually becomes an accomplice in taking
part in the magicians plot to ruin each others acts. Borden who is far too
serious about preserving his secret also stops at nothing to be the best.
Both men become extremely competitive and even sneak into each other shows
disguised to disrupt each other acts (Several times). The contest for the
best magician becomes way too serious when the rivalry turns into something
more than simple magic tricks and leads to murder.
The build up during this movie held me back from a much needed bathroom break.
The anticipation for something really bad to happen to one of them was just around the
corner, and I loved it!
Both Hugh and Christian did amazing jobs with their characters. Christian Bale has this dark creepy appeal that brands him the bad guy even though Hugh Jackman was guilty of foul play too. He does a good job of indulging himself into his work of magic and seems to care more about
it than his own family. Not only
does Hugh Jackman not know the secret to Christians Bale's magic trick but
neither do we. The audience is teased with the mysterious and the suspense
of who is going to be driven into their destructive end. There a no simple
magic trick here folks. These guys are desperately trying to defy the laws
of science. (and indeed they do) Jackman also does a great job of
attempting total perfection in the art of illusion. The rivalry between the
two is so intense and they never fought once. The film can be a bit
confusing at times but that is probably if you don't play close attention.
I found myself not quite fully understanding exactly how the ending ended
the way it did. Otherwise I still tolerated it.
There are constant flashbacks of scenes that help you remember past dialogue that was thought to be insignificant at times. Another interesting thing is that you see the
film from both characters point of view simultaneously. They both read each
The setting of 1890's London was captured perfectly along with the addition
of European renaissance period clothing. I highly recommend The Prestige to anyone who wants to enjoy a dark mysterious film that involves two hungry magic
driven magicians who will stop at nothing until the other is out of business
or even dead.
Movie Grade: A-
From acclaimed filmmaker Christopher Nolan comes a mysterious story of two magicians whose intense rivalry leads them on a life-long battle for supremacy full of obsession, deceit and jealousy with dangerous and deadly consequences.
From the time that they first met as young magicians on the rise, Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) were competitors. However, their friendly competition evolves into a bitter rivalry making them fierce enemies-for-life and consequently jeopardizing the lives of everyone around them. Full of twists and turns, The Prestige is set against the backdrop of turn-of-the-century London.