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Movie Review: The Prestige

The Prestige
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Written by Nolan and Jonathan Nolan, based on the book by Christopher Priest

Nolan is back, and I couldn’t be happier. Ever since I saw the trailer for his new movie The Prestige, I’ve been dying to see it. A magic movie promising twists and turns under his guidance? If Nolan had only done Memento alone I’d be eagerly anticipating it. Could all of this hope let me down? Not by a long shot.

Would-be magicians Rupert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) become dangerous rivals after Borden carelessly sends Angier’s wife Julia (Piper Perabo) to her death during a routine magic trick. Under the fatherly guidance of Cutter (Michael Caine), Angier tries to make a name for himself, but is constantly upstaged by Borden, who has recently come up with a Transporting Man trick whereby he bounces a ball from one doorway and immediately appears in another doorway to retrieve it.

Angier figures out a lame way of copying the trick but is obsessed with the notion that Borden’s trick is better and dedicates his life to discovering what it is. He sends his new assistant and love Olivia (Scarlett Johansson) to play spy for him, but she only ends up falling in love with Borden.

At the beginning of the movie, we see Angier performing the latest evolution of the Transporting Man trick, which goes horribly wrong as Angier falls from the trap door into a huge vat of water and drowns, much like his wife. Borden is sent to trial and death for what is perceived as a murder he planned. On the inside he is approached by a man named Owens (Roger Rees), who wants to buy the secrets of Borden’s tricks. Borden has a daughter to think about.

The movie is told as Angier reads a stolen diary of Borden’s and Borden, in jail, reads a diary of Angier’s. Both contain surprises of course, and we see the extent of Angier’s obsession, looking for the answer to Borden’s Transporting Man trick, going to great lengths to find it, leading him to call upon the skills of an inventor. Meanwhile, Borden is portrayed as hot and cold, maybe he’s the villain and maybe he’s not.

The movie gripped me from the beginning and I highly enjoyed the ride. There are many surprises in store–I did guess one big one but it’s the type of movie that even if you guess every single plot twist you’ll still have lots of fun. Afterwards, scenes ran in my head–Nolan pays attention to detail and you are rewarded for doing the same. Every small thing in the movie is important, and it leads to chill bumps galore.

The movie is beautiful, well-told, very well acted by all parties, especially Bale and Jackman, who have fairly demanding roles. There’s nothing else I need to say about this movie; you won’t be disappointed. An absolute slam dunk.

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