The Prestige Review

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Words by Naomi Jeffreys

“Are you watching closely?”

Christopher Nolan, a British born director who has created such films as ‘Inception’ (2010) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012), created a film which was content on asking questions, pushing the audience, having an ambigious ending. It starred Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Hugh Jackman and Scarlett Johansson.

‘The Prestige’ is a film like no other. According to IMDB the film follows; “The rivalry between two magicians is exacerbated when one of them performs the ultimate illusion.” Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale play the two male leads, Borden (Bale) and Angier (Jackman).

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Nolan constantly asks the audience to ask questions, to let their imagination run wild. The internet went mad at the time of its release asking questions as to the real meaning of the film. It also helps that Nolan had a budget of $40,000,000 with the film grossing $109,676,311 worldwide. Evidently, audiences liked to be pushed. After all, what’s the point of film if you aren’t left wondering how the film ends?

To the film itself, the actors, Jackman, Bale and Johansson offer up a plethora of characters. With Jackman and Johansson donning believable accents, Johansson a British accent and Jackman a convincing American twang.

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But it is Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale who carry the film, their intense rivalry, which is demonstrated through a number of flahsbacks; with Borden and Angier’s obession growing to find the ‘perfect, real magic trick’, their personal lives start to fall apart.

Nolan once again demonstrates why he can drive audiences in to cinemas, his strong creative vision; Nolan has said on the ambiguity of the film mirrors the art of magic itself;   “And the real paradox, which is the paradox of magic, but this is to me what’s interesting about the subject, is that much as the audience wants to know the secret, the secret ultimately will be disappointing. That’s the nature of magic. And that’s, to me, the key thing which I’m trying to do in the film.”

There is so very much to write about this film, that it is quite tricky to write about. Critics must of course, critique the film. But with this, I don’t believe that there was one thing wrong about the film. As an avid movie goer, I have seen good films, bad films and anything in between.

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Directors nowadays tend to hand the film to the audience on a plate, there is no need to think, to ask questions, to carry on the film after the credits have finished. But Nolan is unique in the vision of all of his films, he forces the audience to think about the narrative arc, to care about the characters.

This is a film which must be seen.

“Are you watching closely?”

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