The Prestige is Completely Captivating
By Frank M.
I can guarantee that The Prestige is like nothing else you have ever seen.
The Prestige is the real deal. It is a truly brilliant movie. It does everything right, most notably the story. It tells, hands down, the most engrossing story I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing. It’s the story of two magicians and the rivalry that develops between them as a result of the films motivating incident. I can’t reveal any more than that without spoiling the film, which is really the genius of it. There is just so much in it, so many incredible, mind blowing twists and turns, that you can’t go more than ten minutes without being astounded by it.
The two main actors, Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale, do wonderful jobs portraying their characters. As they each spiral into their own obsessions, you can’t help being drawn in with them, and wonder at the story’s many unexpected turns. Michael Caine also graces this movie with his presence and, as usual, he does a terrific job. He plays his best role, the wise mentor, and gets it dead on. He is the heart of the film, caring for each of the main characters and hurting for them as they attempt to ruin each other’s lives. The lovely Scarlett Johansson also plays a supporting role and adds to the film exactly what her character should. She is the love interest, who is caught in this magician’s war, and gives the two rivals even more reason to hate the other, even though she cares for them both.
At the head of this cinema graphic masterpiece is the very talented director Christopher Nolan. I’ve always been very fond of his movies. It’s the feeling that he adds to his films that I think every movie should have. They feel big and grand, but not hollow. They are constructed of big, complex ideas that are brought to life wonderfully by the actors, settings and musical scores that Nolan selects. His films, The Prestige especially, are populated by big sweeping landscape shots, accompanied by loud, thunderous music, as well as close up, personal character shots accompanied by softer, sad, almost melancholy music that still, somehow, has the same grand sound to it. It makes every scene feel important.
Christopher Nolan’s choice to go easy on the special effects for The Prestige was a good decision. With the film taking place in turn-of-the-century London, exuberant special effects would have seemed out of place. Instead Nolan focuses solely on one aspect of the film; its greatest reveal and the machine that accompanies it. He puts all his effort into making it look and feel real and it stands out to the audience exactly the way it stands out to the characters in the story.
Nolan also enjoys switching between timelines as he tells the story of The Prestige. There are three timelines he jumps through, and he does it seamlessly. Each timeline has a distinct feel to it so you never get lost. Nolan achieves this through his lighting choice. Each timeline is given a slightly different type of light. For example one timeline, because of its mountain location, is always shot in a cold, almost blue hued light. Another is always basked in a warm, closer to orange light. This lends itself to the scene beautifully, and fits perfectly with the timeline. The story benefits greatly from this choice.
I wish I was able to tell you more about this story, because it is really the movies greatest strength. By the end of it, your mind has been opened up to such wonderful, complex, creative storytelling; you don’t know how to feel. Your emotions are constantly torn between the two main characters, and the incredible things they do, you don’t know who to root for. Neither of them are bad guys, but with all the horrible things they do to each other, neither of them are good guys. You are left with a wonderful feeling at the end that I can’t even describe. The ending is satisfying, but also something more.
Frank M. is a grade 12 journalism student at FHS.