Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Friday, March 23, 2012


THE PRESTIGE (2006). Director: Christopher Nolan.

"Just because you're sleeping with him doesn't mean he trusts you."

Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman), aka the Great Danton, and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) are rival magicians, both desperate to pull off the ultimate illusion and find out how the other does his tricks. While The Prestige has some fascinating and suspenseful elements, and is well-acted [especially by Michael Caine in a supporting part], Christopher Nolan tries a non-linear approach to the narrative that insures that that the viewer is almost continuously confused. Is this happening now, in the past, the day after tomorrow -- who knows? You may not like the picture enough to go for repeated viewings, but it's entertaining enough for a one-time looksee. David Bowie is a weird scientist type, and Scarlett Johansson and Rebecca Hall are the ladies in the magicians' lives. The movie goes in odd, almost supernatural or sci fi directions, but the approach actually limits the effectiveness of these ideas instead of taking full advantage of them. It's almost as if Nolan was afraid of making a genre picture. Still, it's certainly something different.

Verdict: Perhaps too strange for its own good. **1/2.

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