Christopher Nolan continues to amaze me with his talent both as a filmmaker and a storyteller with the film, “The Prestige”. In it, Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale play rival magicians at the end of the 19th Century. When Jackman’s wife dies in a tragic accident, the two men who were friends become bitter enemies, each trying to come up with the best magic trick to outdo the other. What I enjoyed most about the film was the seamless way Nolan cut back and forth between periods of time. Based on the novel by Christopher Priest, the film is very literary, but it never feels stuffy or boring. The pace is not nearly as fast as the cuts back and forth in time that Scorsese used in “The Departed”, but the effect is just the same. There are no annoying subtitles to tell you “present day” or “10 years ago”. Nolan gives the audience credit for having the intelligence to follow the story and lets you go along for the ride. I really enjoyed this movie, even though I was watching it on my laptop in the office. Ah, the things you’ll do so mom and daughter can have a girl’s night to watch “Charlotte’s Web”.
All of the actor’s give exceptional performances. Hugh Jackman has perfected his American accent and proves, once and for all, that he does not need to return to playing “Wolverine” (unless he wants to, which is fine with me because he’s so damn good at it). Christian Bale continues to grab hold of leading man status. Whereas there were times in “Batman Begins” in which I wasn’t too sure he was strong enough to carry the film on his back, here he appears much more confident and able. Michael Caine is perfect, as usual, and Scarlett Johannson is very good.
There are so many twists and turns that to try and explain them would not do the film justice. What I loved most was the mood created by Wally Pfister’s stunning camera work and the exemplary music by David Julyan. I have never heard of Julyan before, but he has written a great movie score. The music probably wouldn’t play well on its own, but underneath all of the action going on, it is pitch perfect.
Would I watch it again? Hell yeah. I’d sit down now and watch it again if it wasn’t 11:00. I’m not 22 anymore.