Friday, November 03, 2006

The Prestige

Are you reading closely?

Abracadabra.

“The Prestige” pits Batman versus Wolverine in a massive comic book phenomenon not seen since “The Death of Superman”.

What? That’s not what this is about? Oops, my bad.

Geek fantasies aside, but still using my trademark metaphors, “The Prestige” is the Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles of film. Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale are two tastes you don’t intuitively put together but it actually works.

Mmmm …. chicken and waffles …. Mmmm.

The film reunites Bale with “Batman Begins” co-star Michael Caine and director Christopher Nolan. Nolan is quickly becoming one of my favorite directors, having also done the excellent “Memento”.

He’s smart to work with good actors, use excellent scored music (this time by David Julyan who also did the score for “Memento”), take a good script and create an atmosphere that is suited to those elements.

In “The Prestige”, Bale and Jackman play rival magicians. Their feud is vindictive and brutal, all stemming from their time working together as they rose to prominence in the field with the help of Caine as a show promoter.

Bale has long been a favorite of mine and he continues to bring his A-game to just about everything he does.

There’s a devious and shrewd aura about him in the film that is counter played quite nicely by Jackman’s more theatrical and showy repertoire.

Initially, I thought Jackman might be the weak link to the film but Nolan once again proves that unlikely casting choices can pay off.

Obviously, the appeal of the film is that there is a mystery to be unraveled, and like the secret of a magic trick, I won’t do much discussion to that end. You know enough about the film from my brief setup and probably too much from seeing the trailer anyway.

On the plus side, whereas I’m usually pretty good at figuring out an ending, I thought I had “The Prestige” figured out about halfway through and then Nolan and company went another direction and it took me another 30 minutes or so to get the right ending figured out.

That being said, while the details shouldn’t be divulged, be prepared for a well though out and executed story with good acting, music and production.

The supporting cast of Piper Perabo, Rebecca Hall, Scarlett Johansson, David Bowie and Andy Serkis are all key elements and do an excellent job. There’s also a nice small role for real magician / actor Ricky Jay. He apparently helped Bale and Jackman with their sleight of hand techniques as well.

The long and the short of it is that if you want a great ride of a film, “The Prestige” is just the ticket. In the battle of 2006 magician movies, this beats "The Illusionist" hands down in entertainment value.

I’m giving it a 4 out of 5 and I can’t wait to see it again to watch it from start to end knowing what I do now.

It’s not quite in the league of something like “The Usual Suspects” but I was nearly as entertained.

8 Comments:

Blogger The ZOMBIE said...

I second your recommendation. It's a great film and it did have me second guessing who did what and what was real.

Hell, it even made my research Nikolai Volta or whatever his name was on Wikipedia after the movie. :D

11/08/2006 06:23:00 AM  
Blogger PowerSurgeon said...

Here's your magic trick: BOOM! You're watching Batman!

11/08/2006 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger Full Force said...

Would you like to ride with Batman?

11/09/2006 07:32:00 PM  
Blogger Full Force said...

I see this film also worked another magic trick - it reversed the "invisibility" spell cast on Piper Perabo shortly after the release of "Coyote Ugly".

11/09/2006 07:35:00 PM  
Blogger Hungry Hank said...

Oddly enough, she's quite good in the film.

11/09/2006 09:57:00 PM  
Blogger The ZOMBIE said...

SPOILER ALERT!!!








Although to be honest, she doesn't have many lines...

11/11/2006 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger Hungry Hank said...

DOUBLE SPOILER ALERT!!!

Did you just want to yell "spoiler alert" or are you alluding the comment is in itself a spoiler ... because it is a rather cryptic one (that I do get).

It was fun yelling that though ...

11/11/2006 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger B said...

We do have much in common in out opinions monsieur margarita, but I'm glad I went into it with more of a blank slate than if I'd read your unabridged take on it... Spot on though... I very much enjoyed it...

11/13/2006 11:19:00 AM  

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