Thursday, February 17, 2011

19/50: The Prestige

What do you think you would do to become the absolute best at your craft? Would you steal? Would you go to jail? Would you, possibly, kill?

That is just one of the many ethical questions being asked in Christopher Nolan's The Prestige. Which, despite being very good, may be my least favorite of Nolan's film that I have seen.

Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) and Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) are each part of a magician's show - as they each try to become magicians themselves. Angier's wife, Julia (Piper Perabo), is the magician's assistant, who gets lowered into a bucket of water and releases herself.

Borden believes that the show could be better, and despite being told not to, ties Julia up in a different way - which ends up not allowing her to escape, and she is killed.

This is the start of the dismantling of Bordern's and Angier's friendship. Borden is quite possibly one of the best magicians, but his stage presence is lacking. Angier, however, has a ton of stage presence, but doesn't have the tricks that Borden is able to come up with.

Angier begins to obsess over becoming the best and beating Borden, especially have seeing one of the most amazing tricks he has ever seen - Borden's 'The Transported Man'. In order to figure out how he does it, Angier sends his stage assistant, Olivia (Scarlet Johansson), to become Borden's assistant and steal his secrets.

Like most of Nolan's films, you really have to pay attention. There is a lot going on in this film and just like Angier with Borden's diary, we have to try and figure out what is going on. Angier feels that being the best magician is the most important to him - even more important than the one's that love him.

Nolan really gets great performances out of his actors - Bale and Michael Caine continue to be his go-to guys and they perform great in this. Jackman also stands out, and you can see just how obsessed he has become to dethrown Bale's character.

Much like the Pixar films, Nolan has really begun to out do himself. It is hard to move The Prestige passed his newer films like Batman Begins, Dark Knight, Inception and even Memento. Although I would need to watch Memento again from what I remember I think it would still be ahead of this film.

That doesn't mean this is horrible, far from it, just that Nolan's lesser films still standout against most other films that are out there.



  1. When you have a touch more time on your hands, come back to this's one of those that plays better and better with subsequent viewings.

    There's nothing wrong with having a least favorite Nolan's sorta like having a least favorite type of pizza, isn't it? I'm curious though, because most people dub INSOMNIA as their least favorite Nolan film.

  2. Yeah, I am sure I will check it out again in the future.

    Insomnia may be my least favorite as well - but I have never seen it. Guess that could be an addition for the next list.

  3. I agree with Hatter, believe it or not. I didn't care for it all that much the first time I saw it. But it does get so much better on subsequent viewings.