The Prestige (2006)
Starring: Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, Rebecca Hall, Michael Caine
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Tagline: Are you watching closely?
Running time: 130 Minutes
#71 on IMDB Top 250
Quick summary (from IMDB): The rivalry between two magicians is exacerbated when one of them performs the ultimate illusion.
Ever since I first watched Memento, I have made it a point to see all of Chris Nolan’s movies, with one exception. The Prestige suffered from a combination of me not knowing that it was coming out and then finding out that it was about magicians. I have nothing against magicians, and sometimes they are actually pretty entertaining, but a movie about magicians doesn’t seem that interesting. Having Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman and Michael Caine in your cast would definitely help, but it wasn’t enough to make me go out of my way to watch it. That was a mistake.
Nolan has already cracked my top 5 favorite directors, even with the (slight) hiccup of Inception, but now that I’ve seen The Prestige, he is firmly in the # 4 spot. There is so much depth to his characters and his stories; it’s easy to get lost in them. I’ve never noticed a character or an actor out of place in any of his movies either; he does an impeccable job of casting his films, and The Prestige is no different.
Christian Bale is one of, if not the best, actors working today, Hugh Jackman is a talented and versatile actor in his own right, and Michael Caine is a legend. Putting the three of them together and having them work with and off of each other was just awesome. Bale, as usual, was the most impressive of the trio. He’s so adept at that darker, tortured character, and he plays it perfectly. He has to be the best, but isn’t so much concerned with the show itself; all he cares about is the illusion. Jackman, on the other hand, is much more the showman, and that was reflected in his character. He still wants to be better than Bale, but he wants to be the best in all the things that make up being a magician: the illusions, the stage show, entertaining the audience.
Chris Nolan is probably the only filmmaker who could make me genuinely care about magicians and magic. Dude could probably make a riveting and twisted movie about clowns. Nolan’s casting certainly helps. All the way back with Memento, he got a solid cast (Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joey Pants), continued doing so with Insomnia (Robin Williams and Al Pacino), and, of course, all three Batman films have stellar casts. Part of the draw for Inception was the outstanding cast (DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Joseph-Gordon Levitt, Michael Caine, Marion Cotillard, and Pete Postlethwaite). Nolan knows how to cast his films.
In addition to Jackman and Bale, the cast of The Prestige features an excellent performance from Michael Caine (is he in all of Nolan’s films now? That’s awesome!), a surprisingly interesting performance from Scarlett Johansson, an incredible, if only because it’s not CGI, role for Andy Serkis and David freaking’
Bowie, as Nikola
I need to re-watch Inception, now that it’s been long enough, but even if I still don’t like it very much, Nolan’s got a pass from me for the rest of time, given his stellar filmography.
5 out of 5 stars
Streets ahead of Avatar