Now here is a movie that has a lot going for it. Director Christopher Nolan (Memento, Batman Begins) delves again into material that he has such a proclivity for: deception. The 1995 novel by Christopher Priest is adapted to the screen by the director's brother, Jonathan Nolan, who wrote the short story "Memento Mori" that later became the basis for the classic film Memento. Add to the mix Christian Bale and Michael Caine, who just worked with Nolan on Batman Begins, and Hugh Jackman of X-Men fame. Sounds like an incredible mix of talent all put together in one film.
The story is simple yet complex. Longtime friends Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) and Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) are magicians in friendly competition with each other in turn-of-the-century London. When a botched trick causes the death of Angier's beloved wife, the competition becomes a bitter rivalry as Nolan explores the nature of obsession, revenge, and magic. The title of the movie comes from the third part of a magic trick, known as "the prestige" (the first act being "the pledge," the second act "the turn").
Nolan deftly weaves his movie magic with the non-linear narrative, making it flow fluidly. The performances by everyone - even David Bowie as Tesla is pitch-perfect; this isn't just some rock star cameo - are tremendous. The score matches the dark mood, and the cinematography absolutely stuns. The third act, the prestige, if you will, may leave some scratching their heads at the sci-fi ending; it seems as if the writer got boxed in and had to explain a lot. But the rest of the movie is so amazing in its exploration that you simply have to enjoy the experience of the ride and not ponder the destination or plot devices.
The DVD comes with several extras: The Director's Notebook; The Cinematic Sleight of Hand of Christopher Nolan, The Art Of The Prestige, and an option for subtitles in Spanish, English, and French.
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