**NOMINATED FOR 2 OSCARS**
MINI REVIEW: The Prestige, Christopher Nolan’s fifth directional feature, is nothing short of a powerful and impressive film. Whenever I watch The Prestige, and mind you, it’s been numerous times, I get a sense of awe and well, magic. After all this film is about magicians, two of them in fact, that are searching for the ultimate magic trick, the greatest prestige. If you haven’t seen this film, I am going to straight away, recommend it to you, since there really isn’t another film that you could compare it to, in terms of content at least.
Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) and Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) become rival magicians, both of them presenting to us fascinating character studies. What drives this men, is it passion for their art, is it competition or is there something else? These parts performed with passion by both actors add so much value to this film, and perhaps because of Christian Bale and Nolan’s collaboration with Batman Begins, Bale delivers an energetic act. Without spoiling this film for you, you’ll have to watch closely for clues and indications of what is actually going on, it’s an entertaining film, directed with poise and clear direction.
Nolan opts for a realistic feel to the film, employing mostly handheld cameras and using natural lighting. He creates a mood and a sense of mystery by giving us a dark colour palette of not only costumes, but settings and times of day. There is lots of skill in the way this story is told, a lot of attention to detail. I would argue that the characters and their ambitions, so set apart from us lay people, makes them feel detached and mystical, and as such it’s hard to relate to them. How many of us would get our hands dirty for the sake of our art?
Where Nolan truly excels is in presenting us with a story that unfolds non-linearly and keeps you guessing. When he is done, when the pledge is made, the turn is observed, and then the prestige revealed, you want to see it all over again. That is why I’ve seen The Prestige numerous times, and that is why, when I watch it the next time, I will still be in awe! Here are 7 interesting facts about The Prestige, enjoy!
1 The Prestige is based on a novel of the same name, by Christopher Priest. Priest has approved of the adaption calling it ‘brilliant’ and ‘fascinating’.
2 Chung Ling Soo was a Chinese stage character created by William Ellsworth Robinson, a westerner. He allegedly staged in character whilst in public for over 19 years, never breaking the act. This film explores similar themes of passion and dedication to ones art.
3 In the film there is a rivalry depicted between scientists Tesla and Edison. This rivalry parallels that of Borden and Angier.
4 The word ‘prestige’ originally meant a trick and comes from the latin ‘praestigium’ which means ‘illusion’.
5 Only one set was built for the purposes of this film. Nolan opted to dress up certain Los Angeles locations to portray a Victorian London.
6 Nolan also meticulously studied Tesla’s experiments to recreate them with integrity. Especially the light globe scene.
7 The film employs the same method of a magic trick in trying to tell the story in three parts, the pledge, the turn and the prestige. Additionally the film’s score also has these three parts.