The Prestige

Taking time off from my Futuristic Dystopia project to see a current release, and what could be more current than —


(read in complete safety!  no spoilers revealed!)

Who will win in this titanic battle of magical superheroes?  Batman’s got the skill, the ability to misdirect and the mastery of his dual nature, but Wolverine has mutant powersHe doesn’t have to put on a mask to do magic — he is magic!

Point for Batman — his character has thirty years on Wolverine, he’s acquired a lot of wisdom.  Plus — he is the night.
Point for Wolverine — he’s got three blockbusters under his belt!  Not to mention extra-super healing powers, an adamantium skeleton and retractable claws!  Snikt!

But wait!  What’s this, a femme fatale?  Lovely Rebecca from Ghost World, twisting a spritz of highbrow, independent comics into the mix!  Where do her loyalties lie?  Only one thing is for sure in a movie about a superhero magician smackdown — nothing is as it appears to be.

Actually, one thing is for sure — 19th-century magicians are total dicks.

But watch out, there’s a ringer!  Yes, that’s right, a plant in the audience!  But who?  Maybe it’s Batman’s butler, Alfred, or maybe it’s the guy from LabyrinthHe’s magic for sure!  Hell, he might even be a space alien!

Exquisite in its production and complex in its construction, a thoroughly good time at the movies.

Truth be told, Michael Caine is probably here less to remind us of Batman and more to remind us of Sleuth, the premise of which could fit into any given five minutes of this movie.

Special mention goes to Rebecca Hall, as the Other Woman, who’s quite good and has not been in any big-hit movies.  Go Rebecca Hall!

And the lovely and talented David Bowie is also quite good here.  Bowie has most often been used as an effect in most movies, stunt-casting, but he gives an honest-to-goodness performance here, unflashy, controlled, subtle and sad.  He also does for The Prestige exactly as he did for The Venture Bros — create an environment where it seems that anything could happen.

The screenplay, which is devilishly constructed, cheats, twice.  There is one highly unlikely coincidence and one big fat made-up lie.  But unlike, say, Vanilla Sky, this movie uses its big fat made-up lie to say something interesting and worthwhile about its time.  Saying more than this would give away the game.

If folks would like to discuss the many spoilable things in the movie, perhaps we could do so below the fold.  But that may be too immodest.
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12 Responses to “The Prestige”
  1. craigjclark says:

    I’ve already written about this film at my own LiveJournal, but I will say this: I was most impressed by the fact that its story is hinged on a “twist” (or, if you like, “paradigm shift”), but since it wasn’t sold to audiences on that basis I was able to be surprised by it when it was revealed. If you ask me, that’s probably the neatest trick in the whole film.

    • greyaenigma says:

      I really wish I hadn’t known about the twists going into it. That being said, my date saw one of them, I was surprised the director didn’t seem to think we’d figure out the obvious one until the very end.

      • Todd says:

        To be honest, I saw The Big Reveal almost immediately, not because I had been warned before seeing the movie, but because Nolan’s script was so thematically consistent. They kept driving the concept of duality home in scene after scene, I just knew that somebody had to be not who he or she appeared to be.

  2. I reeeeaaaaallly want to see this movie! (But alas, I have accounting homework!)

  3. eronanke says:

    PS- Having not seen the movie yet, Wolverine hands down – he is *older* than Batman as well, and has had WAY more chicks. Hooray for the Canucklehead!

    • Todd says:

      Wolverine is older than Batman, but Batman has been doing movies since he was, like, eight years old.

      Of course, Wolverine can also sing and dance. But that’s not going to help against The Dark Knight.

      • robolizard says:

        Batman fights alone, while Wolverine needs the aid of the X-Men to do so [in the films at least]. Batman has saved an entire city from going absolutely mad. Wolverine had a hard time beating an old man who can make metal fly around. The answer, ever so simple…

        • greyaenigma says:

          Hey, you try fighting someone that has more control over your limbs than you do.

        • Todd says:

          Does Batman fight alone, though? As Catwoman pointed out in Hush, for a gloomy loner, Batman sure has a lot of friends: Jim Gordon, Alfred, Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl, on and on. And so it is in The Prestige — Batman’s got plenty of secret weapons.

      • r_sikoryak says:

        Wolverine can sing and dance, but he lost to Barry Manilow at the Emmys.

        Batman wasn’t even nominated.