Movie review by: Mustafa
Rating : 5/5
A frequently dazzling display of cinematic sleight-of-hand from writer/director Christopher Nolan (Batman Begins), The Prestige is an entertaining, handsomely produced period thriller that mostly holds you in its grip, despite an overly convoluted narrative structure that's ultimately more wearying than satisfying. However, this faithful adaptation of Christopher Priest's 1996, prize-winning novel has so much atmospheric style, wit, and dramatic intrigue that you're more than willing to overlook said flaws and surrender to The Prestige, which depicts a festering grudge between two Victorian-era stage magicians that escalates to deadly heights.
As Cutter (Michael Caine), the ingeneur, i.e., illusion designer, to both magicians explains via voiceover, "The Prestige" refers to the third act, or pay-off, in every magic trick. It follows "The Pledge" (set-up) and "The Turn," the actual performance of the illusion. According to the press notes, Nolan and his brother, co-screenwriter Jonathan Nolan, used the three-part structure of a magic trick as their narrative guide in adapting Priest's densely layered, epistolary novel, which flashes back and forth in time between turn-of-the-century London and faraway Colorado. For the bitter rivalry between elegant master showman Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and the unpolished but equally gifted Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) will unfold on both the stages of London's music halls, and in the snowbound Colorado Springs laboratory of scientist Nikola Tesla (David Bowie). The visionary inventor, and despised rival of Thomas Alva Edison, represents Angier's best chance of topping Borden's signature trick: "The Transported Man." Blending radical science and traditional magic, Angier briefly gains an advantage, but Borden refuses to concede defeat, even as their lethal feud eventually ensnares Cutter, Borden's fragile wife (Rebecca Hall), and the gorgeous stage assistant Olivia Wenscombe (Scarlett Johansson).
That said, the movie is still an eminently enjoyable and clever period thriller, graced with charismatic leads (Jackman is particularly impressive), an excellent supporting cast, and bravura film making from Nolan, the cinematic magician of The Prestige.