THE PRESTIGE


2006

9/10

DIRECTOR: Christopher Nolan

Are you watching closely? Christopher Nolan is shaping up to be one of this century’s most successful directors, delivering hit after hit, quality upon quality. The only exception to that would be the tedious “Insomnia”, but at his best he is a movie making genius, at his worst, an efficient director.

“The Prestige” was produced between projects, those being numbers three and four in my all time top ten, “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight”. He claimed that he was making a small movie to tide him over but ended up with an all start blockbuster, and whist touching of  a subject which had been dealt with before, I don’t recall it ever having being done quite like this.

And that is the magic of  a top director; That is to give the audience what they want but not on their terms, not quite what they are expecting. This film follows the obsession of two 19th century magicians, one of whom, Christian Bale, arrives at the conclusion that it takes total commitment to achieve the perfect trick, whilst Hugh Jackman takes a little longer to see that obsession will lead him down the same path.

This is a dark, Gothic thriller, lifting the lid of the magic of the day, whilst in true Nolan fashion delving deeper into the psyche of the protagonists, and the destructive nature of their respective obsessive battles, and those it hurts and destroys along the way.

But more than this, the film its self is effectively a mirror of the plot, told and presented as one long trick, with deception, red herrings and ultimately, eponymous the prestige. The only real problem I have with this film is that it thinks that it has everything so well wrapped up, that we, the audience, can’t see the twists coming, which I felt a little insulted by as they were almost telegraphed.

But, this was a methodically well presented film, with a clear time and excellent performances throughout. Highly recommended.

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