Movie Review: No 70. The Prestige

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Movie Review: No 70. The Prestige

Why have I not yet seen ‘The Prestige’?! I’d say it’s probably because the movie poster is not emblazoned with the following message:

“DAVID BOWIE IS IN THIS MOVIE!!!”

Sure, he’s a little too old for white tights these days, but he’s still more of a drawcard than Christian Bale AND Hugh Jackman put together. Hugh Jackman could be tapdancing on Christian Bale’s back while he’s doing one-handed push-ups and I would still choose David Bowie. That’s just how I roll. That’s because it’s not about out-handsoming each other, it’s about swag, and David Bowie’s got it in spades.

NOW… back to the movie…

After a number of disappointing middle-of-the-road films its nice to return to a genuine specimen of cinematic awesomeness. Taking a quick look at my imdb Top 100 ratings so far I can see that a lot of my highest ratings have been awarded to movies that made me think (or, better yet, made my brain implode). This is one such movie.

Being on the brink of 30, there’s not much left in the World that can fill me with childlike wonder. Certainly not magic. I’ve watched far too many “Magicians secrets revealed!” type shows to really find “magic” particularly mysterious. Impressive at times, but not wonderous. Sadly, I believe it is a fundamental flaw in the human condition that we are constantly seeking knowledge. Something baffles us so we demand answers. Then we find the answer and we’re kind of disappointed that it wasn’t something more impressive.

Alfred Borden: [After showing a little boy how to do a coin trick] Never show anyone. They’ll beg you and they’ll flatter you for the secret, but as soon as you give it up… you’ll be nothing to them.

The film follows the story of two magicians, once friends, now enemies, competing (often brutally) for the title of ‘London’s Greatest Magician’. The fast-paced and action-packed thriller is filled with more twists than a bag of pretzels, and the anachonistic plot will have you jumping for the ‘Pause’ button just to catch your breath!

In many ways, the film itself is an illusion. Like any magic trick it will leave you scratching your head as to what exactly happened. I have just one piece of advice for you: Don’t google it.

Yes, my ever-curious cat-like brain got my imagination killed. For a few brief glorious moments I sat in the darkness of the film’s closing credits thinking “What just happened?!” only to squash my creativity like an unsuspecting canary by googling movie forums and seeking the opinions of other baffled movie-goers.

My point is – you should not seek to understand this movie. Not understanding this movie is the essence of its appeal. Much like ‘The Matrix’, or ‘Inception’, or even ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ (all rated similarly highly by me and other imdb voters), it’s not about what the director intended but about what you got out of it. It’s one of those rare moments when I resent being a Gen Y-er with my trigger finger set permanently to ‘GTS‘. Magic tricks are so much more fun when you can’t possibly understand how they did it, and this movie is so much more fun when you use your own brain to peel back the layers and uncover your own meaning.

If you haven’t seen this movie I absolutely demand that you do.

9 pumpkins.

Have you seen ‘The Prestige’? Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments below.

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10 responses »

  1. Yes, I saw it only the week before last. And I have updated the spreadsheet with your 9 & my 8. Loved it. I somehow missed this movie also (I was in Africa when it came out) & was most impressed. And I didn’t know that the great man was in it. Lynne didn’t even recognise him, until I pointed out his name in the credits! I also spent an hour or so reading other people’s comments in IMDb. It made my head hurt (but in a good way).

  2. I’ve never heard that Alfred Borden quote before – how true it is!
    I haven’t seen The Prestige either (now I’m sounding dopey!) but will make sure I get it next rainy day:)

  3. I knew you’d like that one! Nice break from the gangster movies. Why are there so many of those? Most of the movies I don’t think I would like :/

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