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Movie Review: The Prestige

Posted on September 23, 2007

The pledge. The turn. The prestige.

They are the three acts in which illusions take place and all three were expertly worked into the 2006 film The Prestige.

The Nolan brothers, who are also the duo behind Memento, are known for making films with many twists and turns that keep the viewer guessing until the very end and this one is no exception. What makes the twists and turns in The Prestige so interesting though is the amount of foreshadowing included in every bit of film.

The foreshadowing is done in such a way that the viewer is unconsciously aware of it. This is crucial because if one is fully aware of the foreshadowing the ending may not have been as thrilling.

The Nolan brothers also worked the three acts of illusion into the film many times. On the surface you have the three acts of the movie which correspond to the three acts of an illusion but once you get under the surface and start looking at the film a little closer you begin to see these three acts throughout.

Just like the foreshadowing in the film you are only somewhat conscious of the three acts continuously repeating. That said, the three acts do play a very important role. If they were not constantly embedded in the film the end product would not have been nearly as good.

While the writing, directing and concept of the film were top notch good acting is still needed to make the film complete. Lucky for us the actors were up to the challenge.

The lead actors, Chrisitian Bale and Hugh Jackman, turned in fantastic performances and were perfectly suited for their roles. Jackman, who plays Robert Angier, is the slicker magician who isn’t as dedicated to the craft but has the panache needed to entertain an audience. His character is a stark contrast to Alfred Borden, played by Christian Bale. Borden is far more dedicated to his craft but he lacks the showmanship needed to pull in large crowds.

The two start the film as colleagues but things slowly turn into a deadly battle for magic supremacy after a death on stage tears the two men apart.

I don’t want to say too much more about The Prestige because I do not want to ruin it for anyone but I will say that it is an intricate and well thought out puzzle. Without question it has to be one of the top 10 films of 2006. For those that end up watching the film, remember that each and every line is important to the plot (another reason why The Prestige is incredible). So, in the words of Alfred Borden, I ask you: Are you watching closely?

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5 Comments so far
  1. » Movie Review: The Prestige September 23, 2007 5:11 pm

    […] Original post by Eric Olson […]

  2. subbu a. September 24, 2007 7:12 am

    a rarity, the film is superior to the book. also, the nolan brothers - brits - attended loyola academy in wilmette.

  3. David Scrivner September 24, 2007 12:53 pm

    Thanks for the great review. I loved this movie as I have all of Christopher Nolan’s films. He is a great director that consistently provides great films. From The Following to Batman Begins and the Prestige he has not failed me yet. I am also a big fan of Christian Bale so this movie had a lot to offer.

  4. […] Eric Olson wrote an interesting post today on Movie Review: The PrestigeHere’s a quick excerptHis character is a stark contrast to Alfred Borden, played by Christian Bale. Borden is far more dedicated to his craft but he lacks the showmanship needed to pull in large crowds. The two start the film as colleagues but things slowly … […]

  5. tai October 13, 2007 11:53 pm

    In the movie “The Prestige” could the brother in jail haven escaped his chains by using the rubber ball as a trick?