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The Prestige [2006] - 5.97

The Prestige attempts a hat trick by combining a ridiculously good-looking cast, a highly regarded new director, and more than one sleight of hand. Does it pull it off? Sort of. Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman play rival magicians who were once friends before an on-stage tragedy drove a wedge between them. While Bale's Alfred Borden is a more skilled illusionist, Jackman's Rufus Angier is the better showman; much of the film's interesting first half is their attempts to sabotage--and simultaneously, top--each other's tricks. Even with the help of a prop inventor (Michael Caine) and a comely assistant (Scarlett Johansson), Angier can't match Borden's ultimate illusion: The Transporting Man. Angier's obsession with learning Borden's trick leads him to an encounter with an eccentric inventor (David Bowie) in a second half that gets bogged down in plot loops and theatrics. Director Christopher Nolan, reuniting with his Batman Begins star Bale, demonstrates the same dark touch that hued that film, but some plot elements--without giving anything away--seem out of place with the rest of the movie. It's better to sit back and let the sometimes-clunky turns steer themselves than try to draw back the black curtain. That said, The Prestige still manages to entertain long after the magician has left the stage--a feat in itself. --Ellen A. Kim

Customer reviews (av rating: 4.5):

Rating: 1:
Nice idea - shame about the film : I can't believe all the rave reviews this film has received! The 88th best film of all time???
While it had its moments - mainly the explanations of how certain illusions are produced on stage - the casting was woeful and the attempts to recreate late Victorian London were so dreadful that even my teenage daughters found it laughable.
To take just three examples of the miscasting: Christian Bale looked as if he had been transported direct from the 21st century, so unVictorian did he look (he even had a shaved line through his eyebrow!), Scarlett Johansson looked completely lost (maybe she just didn't understand the plot), and David Bowie had such a daft accent that he was purely comic rather than sinister. Michael Caine, of course, introduced a little class - but then, we know what to expect from him, don't we?
As for the recreation of Victorian London, why didn't they just switch the action to somewhere in America as that was clearly where it was filmed?
I won't give away anything about the plot - except to say that it was just silly.
Ther verdict from both generations in our household was that there was the basis of a good idea in this film. Sadly, it was never taken in the right direction.

Rating: 5:
king of magic & illusion....... : lucky for me I watched this before the illusionist (which was DULL) this film is brill for so many reasons..... cast is well chose they all work together the story sticks to what it is about the rival, the magic not not much slusy romance, dont get lost at all, is a modern masterpiece which I will challenge anyone to find a film any where near as good with the same subject matter!
script, music, script, idea all in a league of its own!
miss it YOU MISS OUT!!!!! go buy now & be as proud as me to own it in your collection!!!!

Rating: 4:
NOLAN DOES IT AGAIN : After his brilliant breakout film Memento, director Chris Nolan went on to create the forgettable Insomnia and the overrated Batman Begins. The third outing to come (The Prestige), however, is his real follow-up to Memento, in my own honest little opinion, both in quality as well as in depth.

This moody and complex film is a real treat for cinephiles wherever they are. Describing a fatal rivalry between Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale), two competing magicians in 19th century London, it capitalizes largely on the length some people will go just to get even with their professional opponents. While the magic displayed on screen is what catches your eye at first, it is the swirl of emotions our two lead characters go through that makes this a true delight. Spanning over numerous years, we see Angier and Borden going from great career and personal heights to the lowest bottoms in their pursuit of the one true magic trick that'll make people remember them for years to come.

To top this all up, the movie itself acts as the ultimate magic trick, with its various acts working as the required steps that allow us to fully enjoy and realize the final twist for all its brilliance and originality.

Rating: 5:
Great Movie! : This film is very complex but once you get into it and understand it fully it turns out to be one of the greats. Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale really play the part well showing their anger and rivalry in the most dramatic ways.Both being two of my favourite actors, the story develops into interesting and action packed film.

What makes it so fascinating is that it is so believable and you can really understand why each character does what they do. I don't want to tell you too much otherwise the story will be given away but if you do really want a mind bending film go for this. It truly is a great film.

Rating: 5:
Thought provoking : I saw this film in the cinema whan it first came out.

It is a period piece and to me really seemed authentic.

I particularly liked the basis of the resolution of how the illusion was performed.

Some viewers may think that Tesla is a fictitious character. This is not the case: he was a real person who also proposed a number of unconventional ideas about electromagnetism and energy. His work was stopped by an unexpected 'explosion' of one of his high frequency 'transformers'. Even today, there is some possibility some of his unusual ideas may have some validity, so his role in the story was a great idea from the author.

To say much more may spoil the film for you: it is probably best to see it without knowing much.

If you are choosing between the Illusionist and this film - I suggest to chose this one.

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