I was enchanted last night when we went to see “The Prestige”. What a great film! In a time where it’s hard to justify actually going out to the movies because of mediocre screenwriting, chucklehead parents who bring young kids to movies that are inappropriate for them and refuse to shut them up, and highway robbery for ticket and concession prices, this flick was worth the trick.
Hats off to Christopher Priest (original novel) and to Christopher and Jonathan Nolan (screenplay) for this brilliant tale of rivalry, jealousy, ambition, sacrifice and obsession in the world of Victorian theatrical magicians that illustrates Gandhi’s point about how following a code of an-eye-for-an-eye-and-a-tooth-for-a-tooth creates a world of toothless blind men. They’ve also a good slight-of-hand job in adding a sci-fi twist to the end that fits with the world magicians Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) are living in – something (and I won’t give it away) that would have been perfectly reasonable to come from the mind of a science fiction writer of that period like H.G. Wells.
This is a movie, that while being thoroughly entertaining, requires your attention to detail and intelligence. In fact, like any great magic trick, the film itself doesn’t give everything away in the first showing. You have to think about it and discuss it with others afterward to really wrap your mind around it. And, like any good illusion, if you really want to figure it out, you’ve got to step into the shoes of the fascinated magician, and like Angier or Borden, go back and see the show again a time or two to really catch all the details and figure out the angles.
Presto! One of the year’s best films.