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The Prestige

The Prestige

Genders: Thriller, Drama, Mystery

Director: Christopher Nolan

Writer: Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan

Actors: Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, Michael Caine

Year: 2006
Run time: 2h 10min
IMDB score: 8.4
Updated: 4 days ago

Movie infomation

Movie name: The Prestige

Genders: Thriller, Drama, Mystery

Imdb Score: 8.4

Runtime: 2h 10min

Released: 20 Oct 2006

Director: Christopher Nolan

Writer: Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan

Actors: Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, Michael Caine

Box Office: $53.0M

Company: Buena Vista Pictures

OfficialWebsite

Imdb Link

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Trailer


Review

A Nutshell Review: The Prestige

10/10 I've said it before, but I'll say it again. Christopher Nolan can do no
wrong.

Teaming up again with his Batman Begins cast of Christian Bale and
Michael Caine, and joined with the Scoop team consisting of X-Men's
Wolverinie Hugh Jackman and Scarlett Johansson, the stellar (eye candy)
cast already set tongues wagging as to whether they'll be able to live
up to the hype of Nolan's long awaited movie directly challenging the
other picture about Victorian magicians, The Illusionist.

The Prestige is the third act of any magic trick, with the first and
second acts being the Pledge and the Turn. And this movie lives up to
its namesake to a T. The way the movie plays out, it's like a huge
magic trick, with the audience waiting to see how it unfolds, getting
the suspicion on how it's done, but yet sitting through it thorough
engaged to discover how everything will be revealed and resolved. It
tells the story of how two magicians, fellow apprentices turned
unfortunate rivals, plod down the slow path of jealous obsession,
revenge, and the deliberate attempts to go at lengths to steal each
other's ideas, to go one up against the other, a fight in romance, life
and the long held passionate drive to discredit each other. There are
perfect explanations of the value of secrets, and how secrets can
sometimes be used as tools for deceit.

What I thought was valuable in the movie was the reinforcement of the
notion of how "magic" actually worked. Besides the better understanding
of the common body of scientific knowledge, things like having pretty
assistants to distract, and having planted staff amongst the audience,
somehow made me a sceptic to tricks and illusions, and try harder to
spot at which stage had things undergone a sleight of hand. More
importantly, it introduced me to the notion and importance of a loyal
engineer behind the scenes who designs elaborate contraptions solely
for the magician's use, and how having disloyal staff can indeed be
detrimental to any leaks of secrets.

And Michael Caine took on this engineering role as Cutter, responsible
for assisting Rupert Angier (Hugh Jackman) with loyalty and conviction
that they could, as a team, beat Christian Bale's Alfred Borden. I
thought the cast in general were superb, with Christian Bale leading
the charge. Hugh Jackman too showed that he could play a dark
character, as the two leads tackled their characters' theme of
sacrifice, arrogance, and ultimately redemption, especially for Rupert
Angier. I thought he did what he did towards the end was a kind of
penance to what happened in the beginning, hoping to kill two birds
with a single stone, to exact the sweetest revenge he could possibly
muster. What also was intriguing about the two lead characters was that
there is no right or wrong, no hero or villain. It's always a shade of
grey in what they do, and for Alfred Borden, I felt it's more for
survival and the provision for family, which is a strong subplot
running through the film. I just have to mention though, that Scarlett
Johansson being Esquire's Sexiest Woman Alive, gets to play a flower
vase role here as a magician's assistant, though her role as the pawn
between the rivals added a little gravitas.

The atmosphere was set up great, and so were the costumes and sets. The
soundtrack was hauntingly mesmerizing, capturing the look and mood
appropriately. Look out too for David Bowie's appearance as a Serbian
scientist!

I was floored by the deftness of how Nolan weaved and juxtaposed the
non linear narrative so flawlessly. While the usual techniques is to
use placeholders, or flashback sequences, colours etc, here, time is so
fluid, but yet the audience will know precisely which era they're in,
without being explicitly told, or working too much of the noodle. You
just know, and it's just that feeling of being totally transparent with
time. Even though the movie clocked in at slightly more than 2 hours,
you don't feel its length at all.

At the end of the movie, one quote popped into mind: Misdirection -
what the eyes see and the ears hear, the mind believes. Quite apt to
describe how things work out during the movie, or to describe in
general, Nolan 's films so far. That added richness to lift the movie
to a superior plane. Do yourself a favour, if there's one movie you
absolutely must watch this week, then Prestige must be your natural
choice. It's smart in delivery and slick in presentation. There is none
other.

P.S. Is it just me, or are notebooks a common feature in Nolan's
movies?

one year ago

This movie fills the screen and your mind.

10/10 I couldn't help myself. I just kept saying "wow, what a beautifully crafted film," all the way home, and around my house when I arrived home. I have not been so captured and entertained in a long time. I was especially enamored with the screen writing and how tightly and beautifully the visual metaphors tied in with the writing, and with the impact of the human message about obsession, competition and retribution carried to the extreme.

One can relate to this personal human struggle for victory over another at all costs on a much grander scale, as the two magicians could easily be symbolic of how leaders of countries come to blows with each other, at the expense of their women and children -- something we struggle with right now in our world. There are deeper layers of this film that will be uncovered over time.

Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale and Sir Michael Caine all contributed stunning, emotional performances. Rebecca Hall, who played Sarah to Bale's Alfred Borden, turned in a highly charged performance as well, making Scarlett Johansson's Olivia flat in comparison. And although some people thought the plot line a bit tedious, I found it to be refreshingly complex and engaging, while not being so complex as to lose you. If you can't follow this one, you've been watching television too long. And who cares if the illusions are mundane or scientifically unbelievable? Isn't that what both movies and illusions ask us to do? To suspend disbelief? Meantime, there's a message in its madness. Hello.

The film is visually moody and evocative, easily transporting you into the time period. What more could you ask for? A film is a visual medium and this one is a visual ten. The acting is superb as well as the plot. It keeps you interested; it keeps you guessing right to the shocking but most appropriate end.

It asks you, what is one willing to sacrifice for the "prestige?"

I think this one's an Oscar definite.

one year ago

One of the best movies EVER

5/10 What makes this movie so incredible is that while it is indeed a movie about magicians (or illusionists) it is also a complex character study about how self destructive obsessions are with a sideline love story and a sci-fi twist. A unique plot with an amazing cast--any of whom could believably garner an Oscar nomination. Christian Bale was amazing in one of his rare cockney performances. We already know from Kate and Leopold how well Hugh Jackman plays a distinguished English gent. He's absolutely priceless. Is there any point in discussing Sir Michael Caine? He brings polish to the movie.

This is the kind of flick that you can discuss for weeks after. The plot is so detailed and complete and open to interpretation. My friend and I have been discussing various nuances of this film for the past 3 weeks. It definitely stays with you.

one year ago

Outstanding acting performances worth price of admission

9/10 I went to see a critics preview of The Prestige this afternoon and to
my surprise I found the film to be one of the best I have seen all year
so far, and that writers can come up with an excellent script it they
would only try a little harder. The acting performances by Hugh
Jackman, Christian Bale and Michael Caine were the best I have see in
a long while. The only objection I had to the film was that it was a
little long, but once you leave the theater you will discuss the film
and it many twists and turns. My wife and myself discussed it all the
way home from the movie theater. This is a winner and should be up for
some academy award statues, and my recommendation is go see this as
soon as you can, you will not be disappointed.

one year ago

A Stylish, Uniquely Twisted Period Piece

8/10 What "The Prestige" does very well is recreate a period of show business history near the turn of the century in which competition between magicians was serious and intense. The workings of the complicated illusions are gorgeously brought to life via smartly detailed apparatus that replicate the actual mechanics of Victorian legerdemain.

Much of the film rings very true, such as the all-consuming obsessions of the lead characters to be the best and outdo all others. It's an easy step to accept that such unwavering determination spills over into deadly territory, as rival magicians suave Rupert Angier (a riveting performance by Hugh Jackman) and audacious Alfred Borden (Christian Bale effortlessly playing a brooding lower-class Brit) each seek to wreak continuing revenge upon the other.

The story, though adapted from a novel, feels like a perfect fit for director Nolan's sensibilities, as the machinations of the two men become increasingly convoluted during a back-and-forth tug of wits that keeps you guessing in the style of Nolan's "Memento." As the game grows increasingly deadly, and threatens to consume all they love, the film becomes a fascinating study in single-mindedness.

The work is epic in sweep, beautifully filmed, and strongly acted. The only odd note in casting is David Bowie as Nikola Tesla (he looks nothing like the actual Tesla, if you care about these sort of things, and his appearance calls attention to itself as superstar casting often does), but Mr. Bowie holds his own. Solid performances are all around, with Michael Caine adding dignity and depth as the old master, Scarlett Johanssen as the as the lovely stage assistant who becomes the third point in a twisted love triangle, and even Andy Serkis (Gollum!) in a memorable supporting role.

The introduction of Tesla adds yet another twist, as the film shifts from real-but-possible stage illusion to steam-punkish sci-fi. This transition is a hard note to pull off, since the beginning of the film doesn't quite suggest such a direction, but if you're willing to let Nolan lead you on the journey into increasingly fantastic realms, the narrative rewards you with thought-provoking moral and dramatic exploration of the issues raised.

A truly entertaining movie, and an original, unusual, dark ride -- well worth seeing in a theater for its grand scope and vision.

one year ago