Friday, October 27, 2006

Film Review: The Prestige

.:Film Review: The Prestige:.

Obviously, SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

The Prestige
Forget watching it closely. Watch it many freaking times!

“Brilliant” and “star-studded” are but two of the mildest of words one can use to describe this Nolan masterpiece, based on the book of the same title. This movie follows the story of two rival magicians, The Professor (Christian Bale), and The Great Danton (Hugh Jackman). This movie really starts off with a bang, as we see the Great Danton drown to death, and the Professor on trial for his supposed murder.

From there, the story unfolds and we begin to see a very sinister tale of rivalry and obsession. After the Professor accidentally kills Danton's wife, they embark on a quest of one-upmanship as they attempt to wreck each other's careers, which comes to a high point when the Professor comes up with the magic to end all magics: the Transporter Man, which involves him tossing a rubber ball, going inside a door on one side of the stage, and then exiting from the other side of the stage and catching the rubber ball at the same time.

Danton puzzles over how to do this amazing effect, and their mentor, played by Michael Caine, suggested that it may simply be a case of having a double, and even if that wouldn't be the case, they still went ahead and did it. They got Danton a double, and he made an apparently more exciting version of the effect: this time, Danton throws a hat into the air, goes into a door, and then his double exits from the door on the other side and catches his hat.

The rivalry escalates further when Danton turns to Nikolai Tesla, who builds him a machine that supposedly does a transporter man effect that is nothing short of stunning. It turns out though that this wasn't just a transporter man effect done by science. It was, quite simply a cloning machine. Now, Danton had a way to be in two places at once, albeit the problem was obvious: every time he used the machine, he'd have a clone of himself. What had to be done, then?

And that leads to the first scene of the movie once more. This time, it makes sense. Danton deliberately drowns himself every night so that there will only be one Danton at any given time. He doesn't know if he'd end up in the tank, or if he'd end up in the Prestige. With the twists and turns they have sent each other through, it became clear that it was only a matter of time before Danton implicated Professor in his “murder” once he tries snooping around and seeing how the effect is achieved.

With Danton still alive, he discovers, to his surprise, that although hung to die, so is the Professor, who turns out to be one half of a pair of twins, both of whom play the Professor role alternatingly, lending to the ultimate sacrifice: a half-life.

The plot was rich in revisionist but intriguing history, and the way they treated stage magic was nothing short of a wonder. They really made the intricate workings of the industry a big deal, and of course, the Wolverine vs. Batman dynamic really upped the ante. Every member of the cast simply stood out in their respective roles, and I cannot help but want to see the movie again, considering the seemingly allegorical reference they make to the two magicians and the ultimate obsession that kills one and permanently changes the other.

Truth be told, this movie was an exciting romp, from top to bottom. I can understand precisely why Bale practically begged for his role in the film, because he more than justified his presence in the movie with his stellar performance, as did Jackman, Johanson, and of course, Caine.

If there's only one movie you should watch this year and you're not exactly a fan of comic books, then this is the film I would unwaveringly recommend to you.

“Fun” Evaluation: A+
“Critical” Evaluation: A+

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