Sunday, October 22, 2006

My Take - *The Prestige*

A Mini Movie Review
By: A. L. “Toni” Anderson

According to legend, “… every magic trick consists of three parts… the pledge,… the turn,… and the prestige….” Each of two master magicians — Rupert Angier (Hugh Jackman of X-Men: The Last Stand - 2006) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale of The New World - 2005) — longs to conquer this final act of the illusion of all illusions. The cost, unfortunately, is higher than either anticipates. The Prestige (2006) is the tale of two friends who ultimately become the fiercest of enemies in search of perfection of the ultimate magic act — the Transported Man — a name synonymous with “The Prestige.”

Two-time Academy Award winning actor Sir Michael Caine (Children of Men - 2006) is promoter John Cutter, who puts Borden and Angier together, much to his eventual regret. The film is directed by Christopher Nolan (Batman Begins - 2005). The screenplay is attributed to Christopher Nolan and brother Jonathan Nolan, adapted from a novel by Christopher Priest. Technical assistance is provided by none other than the infamous David Copperfield.

The Prestige begins with the trial of Borden for the murder of his former friend. The journey from friends to sworn enemies is a long one, beginning with an accidental drowning which alters both of their lives forever, and ending in a monumental revelation. According to the film’s narrator (Caine), the stated intention of magic is to amaze and to shock. The Prestige more than fulfills that promise.

Borden (The Professor) is said to be the more skillful of the magicians; Angier (The Great Danton) is said to be the better showman. Each has his own particular qualities which enhance his popularity. Neither has what it takes to end the feud and return to a semi-normal life. They each travel across the Atlantic in search of the one apparatus that will end his rival’s career and secure his own dominance. Each will stop at nothing!

Musician David Bowie has a tangential role as Nikola Tesla, a talented electrical engineer who has apparently discovered the secret of teleportation. Piper Perabo (Cheaper by the Dozen 2 - 2005) is Julia, the ill-fated wife of Angier. Rebecca Hall (McLeod’s Daughters) is Sarah, the similarly doomed wife of Borden. Scarlett Johansson (The Black Dahlia - 2006) is Olivia, the pretty magician’s assistant who is described as the “most effective form of misdirection.”

The film takes place in the theaters of late 19th century England, and in the hills of Colorado. The darkness which envelops much of the film provides atmosphere, and serves to enhance the spirit of the magic. Each part is expertly played, and each trick is carried out flawlessly. The end result is superb. Quite frankly, the film is a masterpiece well worth waiting for. In the words of an old television commercial, The Prestige is “magically delicious”! [2:10]

♠ ♠ ♠ ♠ ♠

[© 10/22/2006]


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