The Prestige (5/28/12)

PrestigeMovie One Hundred Thirty One

The Prestige is about two rival magicians each trying to outdo the other and learn the secrets of their greatest tricks.

The Prestige starts with Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) standing trial for the murder of Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman). We then find out what brought the two men to this point, as we see them as young assistants for a magician. One trick goes bad and results in the death of the magician’s assistant, who is Angier’s wife. The two men become rival and enemies continuously trying to one-up the other in terms of showmanship and difficulty of tricks. This ultimately causes Borden to lose two fingers and Angier hurting an audience member and damaging his reputation. This rivalry culminates over a trick called The Transported Man, where Angier travels to find Nikola Tesla (David Bowie) to learn Borden’s secrets. At what cost will these men find out the truth?

Simply a masterful film by the Nolan brothers, once again. The Prestige not only keeps the audience guessing and even better, questioning what we are seeing. Since the film deals with magic tricks it is very easy to assume that everything we see may simply be a sleight of “hand” by the Nolans and even after multiple viewings the whole picture is not abundantly clear. The inclusion of Tesla as main character certainly makes me wonder how much of The Prestige is actually about Tesla and Edison’s feud using the guise of magic for the film.

While at the time of release, it might have been easy to miss The Prestige due to another film about magicians (The Illusionist, which is also fairly good). Now that both Christopher and Jonathan Nolan have secured themselves as powerhouses in cinema, The Prestige happens to be one of their best films. Not as outright confusing as Inception or Memento, it still packs a psychological wallop that will cause you do rethink everything you just viewed. The Prestige is a fantastic film that cannot be missed.

I give it 5 “There are three parts to a magic trick”s out of 5.


Rotten Tomatoes


27 responses to “The Prestige (5/28/12)

      • Agreed on Memento being first, Chris Nolan is still by far my most dependable favorite director and I can’t imagine any universe in which Dark Knight Rises would disappoint.

        Anyways I like your writing style and your taste in movies, I actually just started my own review blog last week and would love some feedback. I’m mostly sticking to new releases since I barely have enough time for those let alone fitting in some of my old favorites. Here’s the URL if you’re interested

        P.s. my name is also Andy, lol

  1. It’s an underrated film by most. It’s not my favorite Nolan film, but I’m always surprised by the number of people who have neglected The Prestige. Good review.

  2. when i started reading, i was thinking, “i wonder if he’s also going to mention ‘the illusionist,’ and you did.” i’m still not sure which i liked better. probably this one, but still…

    • I’d have to see the Illusionist again, actually. I saw that one before The Prestige and I liked Prestige so much I all but forgot about Illusionist. It’s almost an unfair comparison since the films are so different in so many ways, but they became victims of their release dates being so close.

    • It was before Christopher Nolan became a household name and his films simply didn’t get the attention they deserved and also because it was lost in the shuffle with another film about magicians that came out at almost the exact same time. I originally didn’t see it until it was released on DVD but I wish I could have gotten to see it during its theatrical run.

      • Sure. I think Nolan is great at the big idea, and the set ups for many of his movies are intriguing concepts. When it comes down to directing those ideas, he lacks any sort of visual wit or imagination, and seems to have no natural feel for when a scene should end.

        As a result, many of his films have the same flat, dull look – the city folding in on itself in Inception was nice, but Nolan is so unimaginative that even dreams have a “corporate” kind of look to them. I wouldn’t want Nolan as an architect for my dreams!

        Scenes meander along without any sense of urgency. Nolan is commendable for creating big movies for grown ups, but some more judicious editing would really spice up his films, particularly towards the climax.

        Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Nolan’s films – I just think he’s a rather dull director.

        • Ah, I had a feeling that’s what you meant and I can certainly see where you’re coming from. I do agree with that to a certain extent but still find his films (and more so the films his brother pens) engrossing and exciting. Thanks for commenting!

        • Actually, I find the look of his films being very specific. The subject dictates the form rather than a director forcing his style onto the material. His framing of shots and editing is based on intellectual decisions on how best to tell the story. His films often lack emotion due to an over-indulgence of intellect, which is probably why you find his directing boring–it’s hard to become emotionally attached to much of his work. It’s the difference between enjoying a mind game versus something that stirs your emotions.

  3. This is definitely an example of a film that you must pay attention to at all times. If you let your mind wander or treat the movie as background noise, you might as well turn it off because you’ll be completely lost.

  4. Great flick that took me by total surprise. It’s hard to feel anything for anybody here because these characters can be so unlikable at times, but Nolan keeps the pace and mystery going on around them. Nice review Andy.

  5. Pingback: May Movies Round-Up | Andy Watches Movies

  6. One of my top 10 movies of all time. Wish more people who say Nolan’s Batman films and Inception are their favorite have seen this. Not that the others aren’t goo but this deserves so much more attention than it gets. Pardon the pun but it is a absolutely magical movie.

    • Whenever I hear people talk about Nolan films this one almost never gets mentioned. Memento even has a wider audience, and I think this is the more accessible (and maybe even more enjoyable) film.

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