‘The Prestige’ Retro Review


Director: Christopher Nolan

Starring: Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson, David Bowie, Andy Serkis

Plot: When an on-stage accident lets to the death of a magicians wife, he blame his friend, a fellow magician. As the years pass their rivalry intensifies as they try and uncover the secret of the ultimate magic trick – The Transported Man.

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, major spoilers follow.

When you put this movie alongside such output as Inception, Memento and The Dark Knight and it’s still the smartest piece of cinema produced by the director, you know it’s something special. Christopher Nolan shows plenty of confidence with this dark tale, bold facedly explaining to the audience in the opening sequence that he’s going to kept them distracted by trivial matters while he flaunts a twist ending in front of their faces, then manages to pull the trick off regardless.

Nolan has made quite the name for himself creating dense, intelligent psychological thrillers. This tale of rivalry and obsession involving two friends turned bitter enemies sees two men destroy themselves over their drive to destroy each other.

Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman, as the two leads, put in a couple of the best performances of their careers both playing showmen leading double lives. Whilst Jackman is over the top in his obsession and drive, and bawdy as his drunken lookalike whilst Bale takes on the subtler role of Borden and his brother. What make it an especially noteworthy performance are the tiny details that separate the two characters out from each other. On a repeat viewing you can tell whether you’re watching the serious magician or the cheerful family man.

Tying together the fantastic ensemble performances that also includes Caine, Johansson, Bowie and Serkis up in an amazing narrative is the deft direction and cinematography. There is no part of this movie that isn’t brilliantly shot. In addition to the landscapes and winding shots around London streets are the theatres and backstage areas draped in shadow and mystery.

All up it’s a brilliantly assembled film with an amazing story. Christopher Nolan has created an incredible series of films this far. No matter how many times it’s watched, it’s still enthralling.

NINE outta TEN