Director: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael
Caine, David Bowie, Scarlett Johansson, Piper Perabo, Andy
Serkis, Ezra Buzzington
Released By: Warner Bros
Day: 19 October 2006
OUR REVIEW ON THE ORIGINAL CHRISTOPHER PRIEST'S NOVEL
acclaimed filmmaker Christopher Nolan (Memento, Batman Begins)
comes a mysterious story of two magicians whose intense rivalry
leads them on a life-long battle for supremacy full of obsession,
deceit and jealousy with dangerous and deadly consequences.
From the time that they first meet as young magicians on the
rise, Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian
Bale) are competitors. However, their friendly competition
evolves into a bitter rivalry, making them fierce enemies
for life and consequently jeopardizing the lives of everyone
around them. Full of twists and turns, The Prestige is set
against the backdrop of turn-of-the-century London.
are dangerous things. While it may satisfy your big fat ego
to know a certain secret, you also very well know that this
secret comes with a price. And you’d never know how
much you’d have to pay, until it is too late.
human desire will not stop us from wanting to know those deep
dark secrets. For the more determined ones, they would stop
at nothing to get what they want.
it is all about prestige and ego, and this dark picture is
painted very well in the latest work directed by Christopher
who was Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman) and the man who protected
Gotham City from evil (Christian Bale) are now two powerful
magicians in old-time London, rivaling each other in the world
of magic and illusions. In the midst of digging up secrets
and trying to outdo each other; obsessions, deceits and murders
surface, revealing the dark side of human nature.
about those happy images you have of magicians pulling out
cute bunnies of their silly top hats.
Nolan, the director behind the intelligent Memento (2000),
the haunting Insomnia (2002), and the recent Batman
Begins (2005) to helm this movie adapted from a 1995 novel
by Christopher Priest.
refers to the third stage of the three-part structure (The
Pledge, The Turn and The Prestige) of every magic act, where
the “magic” of the act is revealed.
flair for creating a moody and sullen atmosphere is evident
in his latest work. The 130-minute movie feels heavy, and
it is definitely not a cheerful one to lighten up your day.
Scenes are morosely shot, and there is a lingering broodiness
throughout its two-odd-hour runtime without it feeling like
powerhouse cast should also be credited for their intense
performances. Jackman may get the showier role, but it is
Bale’s character as a restrained magician who is conflicted
between his craft and his personal life that gets our vote.
up the all-star cast are other familiar faces that do not
disappoint. The well-endowed Scarlett Johansson plays the
understated role of an assistant torn between the two men.
Oscar winner Michael Caine plays his character of a mentor
with absolute ease. Filling other roles are Andy Serkins who
sheds off his computer-generated image, and singer David Bowie
who sheds off his over-the-top persona.
reliable cast in place, the other important element to make
this a good movie is the story. And thanks to Nolan and his
brother Jonathan who co-wrote the screenplay, the movie unfolds
steadily into an intriguingly thought-provoking tale of human
marvel at how the Nolan brothers tell the story, employing
skilful flashback techniques that jump to and fro in time.
Considering that it is a 1995
novel adaptation which is set in the Victorian era, the
relevance to our everyday lives is timeless.
worry that you’d be lost in the complicated storyline,
because a Hollywood production will make sure that would not
happen by the end of the movie. And despite the need to pay
attention and devote energy throughout, you’d find the
payoff worth your while.
character explains how magic gives us this meager hope that
miracles may still exist, and how there is a part of us which
want to open our eyes wide in wonderment at every trick and
illusion, something struck us.
movie may market itself as a star-studded murder thriller,
but at the heart of this potential blockbuster, there is a
dark and depressing message about our sad little lives in
this cynical world.
(It takes a capable director and a reliable cast to bring
this novel adaptation to affecting effect – and this
is definitely a job well done)
by John Li