The Prestige

2006

Drama / Mystery

156
IMDb Rating 8.4

Synopsis


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2.49G
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PG-13
English
23.976 (23976/1000) FPS /
130 min
P/S 2 / 4
594.91M
1280*544
PG-13
English
23.976 /
130 min
P/S 36 / 714

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Murtaza Ali 10

The Prestige, adapted from an award winning novel of the same name by Christopher Priest, is an intricate tale of passion, intrigue, deceit and obsession about two illusionists, whose morbid covetousness for absolute supremacy in their profession engenders a fierce rivalry that turns internecine and ultimately consumes them. Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) and Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) at the start of their careers are highly ambitious young men assisting an elderly illusionist named Milton. Borden&#39;s incessant longing for innovation leads to the accidental death of Angier&#39;s wife. Borden marries Sarah and his apparent happiness further aggravates the sense of revulsion in Angier&#39;s heart. Angier&#39;s vindictive intervention during a bullet catch trick causes Borden to lose his two fingers. Though these events sowed the seeds of implacable hatred, but it is the unremitting yearning of their perpetually insatiable egos to outperform each other that eventually drives them to perdition.<br/><br/>Angier starts performing with the sobriquet &quot;The Great Danton&quot; with Cutter (Michael Caine) as his illusion engineer, while Borden with the stage name &quot;The Professor&quot; with Fellon as his engineer. Angier is an adept showman, but lacks the technical prowess. On the contrary, Borden is highly skillful, but lacks the taste for grandeur and showmanship. Each regards the other as his only obstacle (owing to their bitterly intertwined past) and this starts a series of events in which each tries to stymie the other by any means possible (sabotage, abduction, incrimination and even killings). Awed by the apparent genuineness of Borden&#39;s version of &quot;The Transported Man&quot; and inveigled by Borden&#39;s deliberate misdirection, Angier travels miles and spends a fortune to approach an ingenious scientist named Nikola Tesla (David Bowie) in order to cajole him into building a machine for him (a machine that could help him outperform Borden). Nikola Tesla is an apostle of Alternating Current (and rightly thinks it to be superior to Direct Current), and is under immense pressure imparted by Thomas Edison (ruthless advocator of Direct Current) and his men, who are after Tesla. As Edison&#39;s men close in on him, Tesla runs out of time and hence funds for his research and is forced to oblige Angier, who is his very last client. Tesla flees the scene shortly after fulfilling his promise to Angier (not without leaving him a strong note of caution against the use of his invention), whose ever increasing skepticism in Tesla is placated by the efficacy of his masterful invention. Using Tesla&#39;s machine, Angier introduces his own version of &quot;The Transported Man&quot;, which becomes an instant success, but in lieu of a terrible self-sacrifice (that Angier has to make every night while performing). As the story culminates, the viewer is startled with many revelations including the mental and physical torments that Borden&#39;s complex character undergoes owing to his total devotion towards his art.<br/><br/>The success of an act of illusion solely depends upon the deftness with which its three parts viz. the Pledge, the Turn, and the Prestige are performed. Similarly, for a movie to be a success, its three main aspects i.e. screenplay, direction, and acting are ought to be top-notch. Christopher Nolan incredibly manages to strike all the right cords with The Prestige. His riveting maneuvers coupled with his ingenious auteur skills aggrandize the brilliance of the movie ten-fold. Nolan succeeds in having a dream assemblage of actors with almost everyone giving a memorable performance. Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman are superb in their lead roles. Michael Caine shines in his low-key portrayal of Cutter, an ordinary part made to appear extraordinary through sheer brilliance; vintage Caine. David Bowie as Nikola Tesla and Andy Serkis (Gollum of LOTR) as Alley (Tesla&#39;s assistant) are stupendous in their cameos. Scarlet Johansson also manages to give a scintillating portrayal as Borden&#39;s paramour, Olivia.<br/><br/>The movie is a roller-coaster of a ride with intriguingly intertwined subplots and masterful time switching, which makes it one of a kind and an ultimate masterpiece. The uncanny feat of Nolan to manifest a motion picture, which forays the realms of Mystery, Thrill, Sci-fi and Fantasy, is truly exemplary and makes the movie a contemporary classic. The movie is a tapestry of twists and turns, which evinces its overwhelming potential to bewitch the masses and satiate even the most esoteric viewers. The questions that it incessantly asks of the viewers can only be answered after repetitive viewings, with each viewing seeking utmost attention of the viewer. The only question that I would ask of the viewer is: &quot;Are you watching closely?&quot; <br/><br/>A must watch for anyone, who has nothing against giving his mind a rigorous exercise and his body an adrenaline rush. 10/10

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Reviewed by Surecure 8

The Prestige is a masterful exercise in storytelling with superb direction and powerful performances by a grand ensemble cast. From set and production design to cinematography, from script to presentation, Christopher Nolan has once again demonstrated why he is one of the film world&#39;s brightest up and coming directors. The Prestige only helps solidify his standing as one of the landmark directors of his generation.<br/><br/>Told in a narrative that jumps between various points along its time line, playing out like a magic act itself, the story is that of two magicians on the rise in their careers. The first -- played by Christian Bale -- is an expert in understanding the fundamentals of any trick, but lacks showmanship. The second -- played by Hugh Jackman -- is a master showman who is more entertaining than technical. A tragic series of events pits the two performers against each other in a battle of wits that spirals further and further out of control, consuming both of them and everything and everyone they care about.<br/><br/>With a story that requires actors with a great deal of emotive range, Nolan has assembled what could be described as a dream cast. Both Bale and Jackman suit their respective roles perfectly, and pitting these two performers against each other was a stroke of casting genius. Michael Caine takes what could have been a forgettable role by any lesser actor and elevates it with his demanding screen presence. Probably the most surprising performance comes from David Bowie whose unforgettable turn as master physicist Nikola Tesla absolutely shines. Add Andy Serkis to the mix, and what is assembled is a group of performers who know how to fully engage the audience.<br/><br/>The Prestige is hard to pigeonhole into any specific genre as it walks the fine line between mystery, drama, suspense and fantasy. In that, the story becomes a never-ending stream of wonder for the mind: one can never tell exactly where the story is going to lead next, becoming more and more as time goes on. This gives Christopher Nolan ample opportunity to play. And play he does. With narration by several characters, each adding their own viewpoint to the events, and with a direction that moves between time to mystify and distract, the end result is a climax that itself is a series of puzzles that each unravel beautifully.<br/><br/>The only major criticisms that can be leveled at the Prestige are a confusing play with the seasons during Tesla&#39;s introduction (winter suddenly becomes spring/summer and back again) and a strange choice of music for the closing credits (a pop song at the end of a film such as this seems tacky). However, neither is significant enough of a problem to warrant any need to avoid the film at all.<br/><br/>In the end, the Prestige is a fantastic display of what can be accomplished when you bring together superior talent. It is certainly worth the price of admission and as good as any magic show you are to come across.

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Reviewed by DICK STEEL 10

I&#39;ve said it before, but I&#39;ll say it again. Christopher Nolan can do no wrong. Teaming up again with his Batman Begins cast of Christian Bale and Michael Caine, and joined with the Scoop team consisting of X-Men&#39;s Wolverinie Hugh Jackman and Scarlett Johansson, the stellar (eye candy) cast already set tongues wagging as to whether they&#39;ll be able to live up to the hype of Nolan&#39;s long awaited movie directly challenging the other picture about Victorian magicians, The Illusionist. The Prestige is the third act of any magic trick, with the first and second acts being the Pledge and the Turn. And this movie lives up to its namesake to a T. The way the movie plays out, it&#39;s like a huge magic trick, with the audience waiting to see how it unfolds, getting the suspicion on how it&#39;s done, but yet sitting through it thorough engaged to discover how everything will be revealed and resolved. It tells the story of how two magicians, fellow apprentices turned unfortunate rivals, plod down the slow path of jealous obsession, revenge, and the deliberate attempts to go at lengths to steal each other&#39;s ideas, to go one up against the other, a fight in romance, life and the long held passionate drive to discredit each other. There are perfect explanations of the value of secrets, and how secrets can sometimes be used as tools for deceit. What I thought was valuable in the movie was the reinforcement of the notion of how &quot;magic&quot; actually worked. Besides the better understanding of the common body of scientific knowledge, things like having pretty assistants to distract, and having planted staff amongst the audience, somehow made me a sceptic to tricks and illusions, and try harder to spot at which stage had things undergone a sleight of hand. More importantly, it introduced me to the notion and importance of a loyal engineer behind the scenes who designs elaborate contraptions solely for the magician&#39;s use, and how having disloyal staff can indeed be detrimental to any leaks of secrets. And Michael Caine took on this engineering role as Cutter, responsible for assisting Rupert Angier (Hugh Jackman) with loyalty and conviction that they could, as a team, beat Christian Bale&#39;s Alfred Borden. I thought the cast in general were superb, with Christian Bale leading the charge. Hugh Jackman too showed that he could play a dark character, as the two leads tackled their characters&#39; theme of sacrifice, arrogance, and ultimately redemption, especially for Rupert Angier. I thought he did what he did towards the end was a kind of penance to what happened in the beginning, hoping to kill two birds with a single stone, to exact the sweetest revenge he could possibly muster. What also was intriguing about the two lead characters was that there is no right or wrong, no hero or villain. It&#39;s always a shade of grey in what they do, and for Alfred Borden, I felt it&#39;s more for survival and the provision for family, which is a strong subplot running through the film. I just have to mention though, that Scarlett Johansson being Esquire&#39;s Sexiest Woman Alive, gets to play a flower vase role here as a magician&#39;s assistant, though her role as the pawn between the rivals added a little gravitas. The atmosphere was set up great, and so were the costumes and sets. The soundtrack was hauntingly mesmerizing, capturing the look and mood appropriately. Look out too for David Bowie&#39;s appearance as a Serbian scientist! I was floored by the deftness of how Nolan weaved and juxtaposed the non linear narrative so flawlessly. While the usual techniques is to use placeholders, or flashback sequences, colours etc, here, time is so fluid, but yet the audience will know precisely which era they&#39;re in, without being explicitly told, or working too much of the noodle. You just know, and it&#39;s just that feeling of being totally transparent with time. Even though the movie clocked in at slightly more than 2 hours, you don&#39;t feel its length at all. At the end of the movie, one quote popped into mind: Misdirection - what the eyes see and the ears hear, the mind believes. Quite apt to describe how things work out during the movie, or to describe in general, Nolan &#39;s films so far. That added richness to lift the movie to a superior plane. Do yourself a favour, if there&#39;s one movie you absolutely must watch this week, then Prestige must be your natural choice. It&#39;s smart in delivery and slick in presentation. There is none other. P.S. Is it just me, or are notebooks a common feature in Nolan&#39;s movies?

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