A movie about magic, illusions, and a long, twisted story that you’ll kick yourself at the end, for not figuring out. The Prestige comes across as the story of David Copperfield’s life, from the trailer. Well, not really, but you get the impression that it’s all about the magic, and you’ll see magic trick after magic trick. Not entirely the case.
The story of The Prestige is more along the lines of an epic battle to be the best, competition, life, and a little bit of magic. Though it’s lengthy, and at times boring, we get taken on a sort of out of order story telling ordeal, through the lives of our two main magicians, and their accomplices. We learn about their careers, how they started, where their rivalry came from, and what’s happened along the way.
Rupert Angier (Hugh Jackman) is on a path for revenge against Alfred Borden (Christian Bale), after a tragic accident ends up getting Angier’s wife (a magician’s assistant) killed, in a water tank escape gone wrong. Angier vows to prove to himself, and the entire world, that he’s a better magician than Borden.
Angier takes a trip to America, for two years, to find Tesla, the man who supposedly made the machine for which Borden uses for his “greatest trick”, the “Transported Man”. The trick itself, is pretty cool, you’ll have to see the movie, to see what I mean. Had this been a real magic trick, I’d be impressed, but rest assured, it’s just movie magic.
The story is well crafted, though I felt the end was very Hollywood, with the “Explanation wrap-up” segment, where our main character explains everything to the other main character, about how he did it, and why, and when, and all that. I felt the movie could have ended a few minutes before that. Not because of length, or anything, but just because the story would have ended better with the “abra cadabra”, and then the gunshot. To me, that would have been a much better, and less Hollywood ending. Though, on the ride home, I was told that if that happened, I would have been pissed, and written about how “nothing was explained”, which is probably true.
The writers (Jonathan and Christopher Nolan) do an amazing job of not only holding your attention through the 2 hours and 8 minutes. Their story turns, and winds, and weaves, and bobs, to the point where you don’t know who’s who, and what’s what. The story leaves you guessing, very much through to the end, where everything’s finally put on the table. You get taken for a ride, and at the end, that ride thoroughly gets explained. There are quite a few turns to this movie, while the typical Hollywood type movie gets one big hoorah at the end, and that’s it. The last half an hour of The Prestige, give or take, is all about explanations. You learn things that you weren’t expecting to learn, mainly because somewhere deep down inside, you’re still holding on to the “it’s really all magic” idea. Well, I can tell you, for sure, it’s not magic. There is indeed an explanation to the entire thing. I won’t tell you what, just refer you to see the movie.
The bottom line, this movie is excellent. You should absolutely see this movie, and support it in any way you can. I had hoped I would love the movie, and I did. While I disagree with parts of it, and various storyline aspects, overall, I loved the movie. I thought it was beautifully acted (aside from some less than favorable British accents), magnificently written, and marvelously directed. Christopher Nolan has not only proven to be an amazing director, but also a talented writer. If you liked any of his other movies, you’ll fall in love with The Prestige.