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DVD Review: The Prestige

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Comic book fans always want to see face-offs between characters from rival publishing companies, and the industry has been sating our interest for years. Batman vs. Spiderman, Avengers vs. Justice League of America – hell, there is even an Archie vs. The Punisher book.

Now with The Prestige, it’s Batman (Christian Bale) vs. Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) – or at least the actors who portrayed them in their respective movies. This film even has the director of Batman Begins, Christopher Nolan, as well as Michael Caine, who portrayed the supporting character of Alfred in that movie, in a supporting role again. A comic book geek’s dream!

The movie’s title refers to the last of the three stages of a magical act: “the pledge,” where the magician shows the audience something that appears ordinary; “the turn,” where the magician makes the ordinary act extraordinary, such as by disappearing; and “the prestige,” where the final effect of the illusion is produced, such as the reappearance of the object.

As you may have guessed, this story, which takes place in Victorian-era London, follows the lives of two magicians, Alfred Borden (Bale) and Rufus Angier (Jackman). Once partners, their intense rivalry leads them on a life-long battle for supremacy, filled with obsession, deceit and jealousy, astonishing twists, and deadly consequences.

Angier is the better showman, Borden the more skilled illusionist. We follow the pair through their careers and their efforts to learn each others’ secrets. They even sabotage each others’ acts in their attempts to become the greatest magician of all time.

I have to say that the film is a bit confusing the first time you watch it. But once you know how things are done (and have seen the shocker ending) it makes more sense. This is definitely a film you should plan to watch multiple times.

The Prestige was expertly directed. Nolan is no stranger to thrillers, having previously directed Memento and Insomnia, and he gets great performances from Jackman, Bale, and Caine.

There’s not much to speak of as far as extras are concerned, however:

·     The Director’s Notebook: The Cinematic Sleight of Hand of Christopher Nolan is a multi-part, behind-the scenes look at all aspects of the creation of the film. It is interesting and informative.

·     The Art of The Prestige Gallery

I would have liked to see more special features, like deleted scenes, but at least the movie was entertaining. Fans of Nolan’s work, Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, or magic will enjoy this suspenseful thriller.

Grade: B

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About Blake

  • Nice review, Blake. Too bad about the (lack of) extras, because this is a DVD I’ll have to own. Director Nolan has added another to his string of engaging, challenging, immensely satisfying films with “The Prestige.” It’s one of the few recent films I’ve seen three times, or wanted to see more than once.
    Recommended home viewing, try a double feature of this with “The Illusionist,” two very different, atmospheric films about magic and its practitioners. While I prefer “The Prestige,” they’re both fine films.
    And if you are taken by “The Prestige” on film, do yourself a huge favor and read the book (by Christopher Priest) on which it’s based. It’s amazing how much (including an entire level of narrative and a huge plot development) was cut to adapt it to film.

  • BigFire

    I’m kind of tick off by the change in the moral bias in the adaptation of the film from the book, from the both side being morally ambiguous to having one side being morally correct. And of course, the book as it stand is kind of unadaptable.

  • MidnightAngel

    The Prestige is easily one of the best films in 2006 directed by Christian Nolan who’s ingenious idea it was to have the very talented Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale starting off as very good friends and falling into deadly rivalry of the cruelest kind.

    I have watched the film four times since its release and it is still an excellent film which still let’s you be misdirected if you are not careful. Supporting actors Michael Caine and David Bowie were excellent.

    In relation to the The Prestige I was not impressed by The Illusionist. In the Prestige there was every emotion you could think of excellentaly performed particularly by Hugh and Christian.

    I will be watching it again I have no doubt

    Good Luck Hugh in your next movies we are all waiting to see them.