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The Prestige
DVD disk
03.02.2007 By: Mathew Plale
The Prestige order
Director:
Christopher Nolan

Actors:
Hugh Jackman
Christian Bale
Michael Caine

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
In Victorian-era London, two rival magicians (Jackman, Bale) play a dangerous game of one-ups-manship, in a quest for one another's secrets.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Christopher Nolan’s (Insomnia, Batman Begins) The Prestige is a (sometimes overly) complex tale, structured like the magic acts we see onscreen. The 3-part structure of the magic act goes: The Pledge, The Turn, and of course, The Prestige (the reveal). As with the film, we get all three, flowing wonderfully between each other.

The Prestige is close to a masterpiece, a true work of a modern master. Director Nolan has been honing his skills since his feature film debut in 1996. Since then, he has directed the most innovative indie-film of this decade, Memento, and single-handedly revived the Batman franchise…we’re lucky to have this guy around.

The leads, rivals Hugh Jackman (the showman Angier) and Christian Bale (the true magician Borden), are stiff as hovering boards. Their complex characters have misled people into imagining good performances--one of the great tricks of the film. It’s the supporting turns that are impressive. Michael Caine and David Bowie, in particular, are brilliant in their turns as Jackman’s mentor John Cutter, and the driven, real-life inventor Nikola Tesla, respectively.

The Prestige doesn’t ask for a repeated viewing, but requires it. This isn’t because Nolan’s work is confused and holed (though many have pinned this on the film), but because we try to solve the mystery and fail, even though, as Caine’s Cutter points out, we want to be fooled. We are involved in the intriguing guessing game, never sure who to trust and who to support. The risk that Nolan puts out there is losing his audience very quickly. As with a magic trick, Nolan reveals nothing, providing scarce clues at a rapid pace. He is both a showman and a magician.

Wally Pfister’s Oscar-nominated cinematography is mystifying, one of the finest instances of dark, visual beauty in recent memory. Combined with the stunningly gorgeous Victorian-era art direction (by Nathan Crowley & Julie Ochipinti), The Prestige is a painting in motion.

Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige is a twisty experience; the most impressive magic trick you’ll ever see…SO much better than Copperfield making the Statue of Liberty disappear.
THE EXTRAS
The Director’s Notebook: The Cinematic Sleight of Hand of Christopher Nolan (19:28): Divided into five segments, this is must-see featurette takes the place of the missing commentary. But “The Director’s Notebook” is just as good, covering ground for both the technical and historical aspects of The Prestige.

The Art of the Prestige is a collection divided into four still galleries: “Film”, “Costumes and Sets”, “Behind the Scenes”, and “Poster Art”.

Also on the disc are some Sneak Peeks.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
The Prestige was one of the more visually appealing of 2006 films, and most certainly one of the overall best. With such a sheerly magical (no pun intended) movie, Nolan's streak continues. Highly recommended.
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