Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Prestige

Swiftly jumping onto my top ten list for 2006 is Christopher Nolan's fascinating, and entertaining movie The Prestige.

The film is a multi-layered tale, which examines the destructive nature of man's inner demons.

It features some of the finest writing, and performances in the past year.

The story is a period piece about two ambitious up and coming magicians, played outstandingly by Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman, who after a tragic accident become fierce rivals, and eventually bitter enemies.

Jonathan and Christopher Nolan created a script that is impressive because the film's themes creep up on the viewer much like a magic trick.

The movie seems to play out like it's a mystery, or con game when in's really not.

It's a character study.

A fascinating, complex study of man's dark side.

To be honest, the actual twist or mystery, in the film is not really that hard to figure out. When it is eventually revealed, it actually becomes an after thought to the real through-line of the film.

The twist is an illusion of what we think is the real story. Which is ironic because the film is about magicians.

It's a interesting, and enjoyable way to frame a story about deception, ambition, obsession and the lengths people will go for revenge.

At several points in the film the movie manipulates who we root for. We switch back and forth between the characters trying to decide who the protagonist is.

Which, in the end has us questioning whether the two characters are different at all.

Along with the excellent script, the film is also backed up with fantastic performances.

In addition to the aforementioned lead performers, the supporting actors Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson, Andy Serkis and a haunting, elegant David Bowie all shine in complex multi-dimensional performances.

It is sophisticated material that really can't fully be appreciated until some time afterwards.

When the film actually ended, I briefly contemplated whether I even liked it.

The journey 0f the film is so thought provoking, and demanding that the film requires a moment of consideration to fully absorb the story.

So after some thought, and analysis I realized that it's haunting, and powerful themes stayed with me like no other movie this year.

The film is mystifying, haunting, and strangely provoking .

It almost demands a second viewing.

In retrospect, I believe much of the film can't really be fully appreciated until it's watched again. Which I look forward to soon.

It's complex, intelligent, and satisfying like no other commercial movie so far this year.

Easily one of the finest films this year, and confirms to me, what I've suspected after watching Batman Begins, that Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale are the next great cinematic duo, much like DiCaprio and Scorsese, or Spielberg and Hanks.

It's exciting, inspiring stuff, and I can't wait to watch their future collaborations.


Anonymous said...

I think it gets better on second viewing. I still think about how dark it is with suprise. It's a very sharp, cold mainstream entertainment.


Anonymous said...

*surprise, even. Heh.