Sunday, 27 February 2011

Film Review: THE PRESTIGE (2006)

Co-Writer/Director: Christopher Nolan
Running time: 126 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12A

Genre: Drama/ Mystery/Thriller
UK release date: 10th November 2006

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 27th February 2011.


For the record, I have seen this film before, but this is the first time I’ve attempted a review. I will admit to being a growing fan of Christopher Nolan’s work, ever since the excellent ‘Inception’ last year I have tried to see all of his work whenever possible. Although not perfect, this is a fine example of his work, a beautifully crafted story that is both compelling and very mysterious. But more of my thoughts later, here’s a brief summary first (summary haters and those that don’t wish to know anything about the plot please enjoy the magic show while I write the next paragraph).

Every great magic trick consists of three acts; ‘The Pledge’, ‘The Turn’ and ‘The Prestige’. Now, I could tell you what they all mean, but Michael Caine does it so much better in the trailer. But I digress; we’re here to talk about the plot. Two magicians, Alfred Borden and Robert Angier are working together when tragedy strikes. Angier’s wife, Julia, is killed in an onstage accident. He blames Borden for her death and thus begins a bitter rivalry. They both set out alone to be the better magician and both make every effort to thwart the other. Eventually Borden creates a trick that Angier cannot figure out and from then it’s no holds barred. In search of the answer he goes to America to seek the help of scientist Nikola Tesla. What he creates for Angier is quite mind-blowing and very dangerous. But the secret to Borden’s trick is not what you may think. I think I’ve said enough and so I’ll leave it there.

As you might expect from a Christopher Nolen film, it is very well made with great cinematography, great sets, costumes and, not least, performances. Great work from both Christian Bale as Alfred Borden and Hugh Jackman as Robert Angier, both are superb in this one. Also great to see were Michael Caine as Cutter and Scarlett Johansson as Olivia Wenscombe. And I must give honourable mentions to Andy Serkis as Alley and David Bowie (yes him) as Tesla.

I have seen this one before and so could remember a good portion of the plot while re-watching it. Even so, I found it quite compelling; I love the way the audience are drawn into the story. It may not have the scope of The Dark Knight or Inception, and it may not be quite as crazy as Memento, but it’s still a great example of his work. As I said at the beginning, it’s not perfect, I felt some of the early scenes were a little rushed and a little more time could have been spent on ‘The Pledge’ without ruining ‘the Prestige’ (just a little magician joke there). Over all, very compelling, excellently made with some great performances… Highly Recommended.

My score: 8.6/10

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