Movie Review

Heath Gordon

Besides “The Prestige,” director Christopher Nolan has made only six films. Three of these are “Momento,” “Insomnia” and “Batman Begins.”
In “Memento,” Nolan completely upsets the use of time in a movie. In “Insomnia,” he tells us the story of a detective who will go so far as to taint a crime scene to get what he believes is the truth. In “Batman Begins,” we get a tale of man who comes to the realization that there is a price to his heroism, one-upmanship between two once-friends, and an awesome action flick.
What happens in “The Prestige?” He throws it all together.
Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) started off as friends. They had all of the best intentions: They both had dreams of making good magic.
However, things turn sour — to say the least — when, under extremely contentious and somewhat obscure circumstances, Borden causes the death of Angier’s wife.
Angier and Borden become rival magicians. Angier seeks revenge and ends up damaging Borden physically. Borden then comes up with the ultimate trick, “The Transported Man,” in which a man seemingly transports from one end of a stage to another, pretty much through thin air. Angier becomes obsessed with Borden’s trick, and all but dedicates his life to its pursuit.
This is where things cease to be completely normal. The rest of the movie delves deeper and deeper into the obsession of Angier, the trickery of Borden, and at times, touches on the paranormal. In the end, no one is who they seem, and there are more dead bodies than anyone thought possible.
This movie has it all: duplicated cats, David Bowie playing a staunch Nicola Tesla, Scarlett Johansson’s cleavage, and trickery beyond imagination.
However, I have mixed feelings about this movie. Don’t get me wrong — this was an awesome movie. I really only had two main problems.
The first is that Bale’s accent made him sound like his mouth was full of oatmeal, and was wholly unconvincing. My second problem is more of a philosophical one.
The magical profession is one that presents illusions using a set of diversions, gadgets and levers. In essence, they are extremely engaged in the physical world to present us an imaginary one. Unfortunately, the addition of the supernatural pretty much destroyed it in my opinion. Take it or leave it.
The story is extremely well put together. Unlike most movies where there is a lot of trickery and then a humongous revelation at the end of the story, I don’t feel like there was too much piled on at the end. Borden comes clean to Angier about his methods, and a few scenes are replayed that, with the new information, become all the more important.
This movie could have been completely plot driven, however, the emphasis of the movie is more on the characters. We watch as Angier becomes obsessed with finding out the secret to Borden’s trick. At the same time, we watch Borden’s life dissolve as he holds some unknown, but powerful secret.
I heartily recommend this movie. It’s action packed, smart and intense. Just keep your eyes on the red rubber ball.

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