Friday, November 03, 2006

Review: The Prestige

I had a lot of hope for The Prestige after being so disappointed by The Illusionist. It's not a flawless film, but it does improve over The Illusionist in several ways. First, though there are twists, The Prestige doesn't rely on them to carry the entire plot the way The Illusionist does. Once you figure out The Illusionist, there's nothing else about the story to keep you interested in the rest of the movie. With The Prestige, the characters played by Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman are fascinating, complex men all on their own. The intrigue and rivalry that surrounds them is extra.

But where secrets are concerned, The Prestige does a lot better job of hiding them than The Illusionist. If these movies were magicians and the plot twists were their tricks, The Illusionist tries to misdirect you by amateurishly pointing behind you and yelling, "What's THAT?!" The Prestige, on the other hand, is a master magician. By using the non-linear storytelling that Christopher Nolan loves so much, The Prestige has no problem keeping your mind busy thinking about other things. You're too busy trying to figure out what's going on to spend any time predicting twists or guessing mysteries.

That said, the movie seems to reveal the same secrets several times for no reason. I really don't think I figured anything out before the movie made it obvious, but once I knew something, the film would explain it again later on as if I didn't know it. I don't know if that was on purpose for a reason I can't figure out, or a flaw.

The acting in The Prestige was also more impressive than The Illusionist. That's no fault of The Illusionist's cast, it's just that The Prestige's cast had more to work with in their script. As awesome as Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti, Jessica Biel, and Rufus Sewell are, there's no beating Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson, Andy Serkis, and David Freakin' Bowie. Especially David Freakin' Bowie. The man deserves an Oscar for disappearing into his role the way he did.


Reel Fanatic said...

I liked this one quite a bit right up until "the reveal" .. I'm glad I had read the book before going in, because if not, it just would have left me scratching my head .. and I'm definitely with you on Bowie .. freakin amazing

West said...

I wouldn't read this whole thing before because I didn't wanna risk spoilage (though you tend to be far more considerate about that sort of thing than many others) I agree about Bowie, too. He had me at "hello."

I was almost sorry we didn't see more of his character.

I enjoyed this movie, for sure, but I also figured out what was what somewhat early so the reveals didn't bowl me over. As you say, luckily, they were wrapped in a decent story.

I'll probably have to review this one because there's a lot to talk about.

Michael May said...

"I was almost sorry we didn't see more of his character."

Sometimes I wish I was a movie producer. I'd greenlight a David Bowie movie about the feud between Tesla and Edison in a heartbeat.


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