Sunday, 21 April 2013

The Prestige (2006) - ★★★

Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer: Jonathan and Christopher Nolan (Screenplay), Christopher Priest (Novel)
Stars: Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, Michael Caine, David Bowie

Ah, what could've been. This is one of the highest rated movies of all time and I suspect it is because of the multiple twists. Unfortunately, I guessed the ending less than an hour into the movie. I knew what was going to happen before it happened, therefore nothing surprised me. I think this is an overrated movie, but I can understand why people would be amazed by it.

It's a duel between two magicians. The naturally talented Alfred (Bale), and the hardworking Angier (Jackman). While one is gifted at creating new illusions and tricks, the other tries his hardest to catch up. Each gain the upper hand one way or another, whether it be by stealing tricks or performing impossible stunts. It's an unrealistic story with a twist.

Bale didn't do anything for me in this film. I find that he's always playing a cold, emotionless character. It can't be a coincidence when he almost always performs these roles. Jackman on the other hand was electrifying and entertaining. I can even excuse the fact that his American accent was slightly off putting. The best performance for me came from David Bowie as the famed inventor Nikola Tesla.

I've seen countless mysteries unfurl in films, so I like to think that I'm pretty good at unravelling them. Nolan followed the 'less is more' formula, and it didn't pay off. He thought he was being rather clever by having the 'twist' present in many scenes. Obviously a great sum of people didn't notice that it was there, but the second I saw it I knew. It led me to ask questions about how it got there, which made me ask more questions, which drove me to figure out the ending well before the movie was over.

I prayed that I was wrong, because I felt that the ending would be all too convenient. With a story so grand in scale, to add an impossible feature just sucks all the plausibility and cleverness from the tale. The movie was still entertaining and the cinematography was just exquisite. If they had been a bit more clever in hiding the twist I probably would have been astounded just like everybody else. For now, it's just a good movie that could have been spectacular.


  1. You mean you didn't figure out what the ending was just five minutes into the movie? I mean it was that obvious right. You are just so intelligent and everyone else is just plain stupid. I can understand being able to figure out that Angier is going to have to kill himself repeatedly early in the movie. On the other hand figuring out that he is going to set up Alfred for his murder isn't something that is that predictable. Also predicting that Alfred's twin brother, or Alfred, is going to kill Angier in the end wasn't that easy to figure out either. I guess that just means I am not an absolute genius like you though.

  2. Have you ever heard the saying "Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit?"

    I never called anyone stupid, nor did I talk myself up as some kind of genius. When I say I guessed the ending, I mean I guessed every aspect of the ending. Therefore I have a right to say it wasn't very clever and my point remains valid.

    Nice try, how about you give me your opinion rather than have a tantrum? :)