The Prestige

I’m a fan of Christopher Nolan’s films, and any time his name comes up, its accompanied by whispers of The Prestige, The Prestige, The Prestige. Having known little more about the movie than what I gleaned from the movie poster, I was expecting some sort of murder/crime thriller- sort of like Memento without the memory loss maybe. So imagine my surprise when I went to watch the movie and glimpsed in the synopsis something about magicians. I quickly stopped myself from reading any further, and just let the movie load, a little worried now about what I was getting myself into with this movie, since already it wasn’t what I expected.

There so much sadness in this movie, of a different sort than the horrific sadness in murder or crime thrillers. It’s not melancholy either. I can’t seem to find the word, but there is so much desperation woven into the characters’ developments- death of a wife, suicide of a wife, loss of a daughter, jail, shooting, illusions, fraud- by the end you get the feeling that no one in the film has ever been happy, despite their success and families.

Bale’s accent was admirably different, although Jackman occasionally betrayed his Australian lilt enough for my untrained ear to notice. Man, I saw the fact that the double would be the one who drowned the second time they showed the death. I can’t figure out if that was intentional, if the viewer is supposed to figure it out minutes before we see Jackman appear at the jail or not.

Another thing that I don’t understand is why Bale’s assistant gets so little attention and speaking time- if he’s so brilliant and the real mastermind behind the tricks, as is implied, why not give him equal measure to Jackman’s assistant. Or is it just that the latter is a much more famous actor. Also, what happened to Scarlet Johansson?

It’s funny because I wrote that before the last ten minutes of the movie, when all hell broke loose. Of course, Bale’s assistant is his twin brother, that’s why the illusions work so nicely- it neatly explains everything and you see all the clues that were there the whole time. The brother then takes the fall and is hung, each one loved a woman- Sara and Johansson- but of course they’re twins. It seems so obvious once you know, like they say in the movie about magic tricks. But I think it’s because of that obviousness, and my questioning of the assistant earlier that makes the end of this movie less great than it might have been otherwise, for me. I’ve had many friends rave about this movie, saying very little very enthusiastically.

But I’m just a little bit disappointed.

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