The Prestige  2006-(PG)-124 M


                                                                                                      " Are you watching closely?"

Christopher Nolan's (The Prestige) is a haunting and engrossing film about two rival magicians in turn of the century London. It is wonderful to see the slight of hand that Nolan and his screenwriter brother Jonathan have come up with. Adapted from the novel by Christopher Priest, and including the great inventor: Nikola Tesla, who has a crucial role in this movie, these brothers have some major twists in store for you. Once again, I have to point out, that the music in Nolan's movies are a crucial element of the mood he sets, and David Julyan, who has scored several of Nolan’s movies, delivers big time here, with a score full of ominous tones, that so enhance this film.This is one cool intense movie that should have been nominated for best picture.

Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Scarlet Johansson, and David Bowie as Tesla, are all fantastic in The Prestige, that will have you scratching your head for a while after it's over. Funny thing about this film as I watched it again; some of the answers are not only obvious, they are even spelled out for you,and you still might not see them. As the movie progresses, and as some things are revealed, you will still strain your brain a bit as you begin to unravel in your mind, the wonderful and entertaining riddle this movie is.

The Prestige just gets better and better every time I watch it. Hugh Jackman as (Robert Angier) and Christian Bale as (Alfred Bordon) star, and as the movie starts, they are assistants to magicians who aim to have their own act someday, as they both fancy themselves as illusionists who have to slum as helpers. They are both fiercely competitive, and when a tragic accident that happens on stage, which Bordan may have aided in by tying an improper knot, kills the magicians beautiful assistant ,and Angier’s wife, the stage is set for a bitter rivalry throughout the film, for both men to outdo the other one. Angier and Bordon go their own ways, each pefecting their act, always trying to push the other out of the spotlight.

Angier, now on his own, has hired the wise and experienced manager, and master of stage illusions: Cutter (Caine), gives himself the new name of: (The Great Danton) and hires a beautiful assistant: Olivia (Johansson). Bordon, is a bit of a rogue, with a mysterious quiet fellow who helps him: Mr Fallon, and he falls in love with a woman who takes her nephew to see his show, Sarah: (Rebecca Hall).

Angier, still seething with anger at Bordon for the death of his wife, attends his shows disguised, with the intent on sabotaging Bordon’s act. Bordon, when he realizes this, starts to return the favor. Meanwhile, Angier falls in love with Olivia, and Bordon and Sarah have a daughter: Jess (Samantha Mahurin).The brilliant slight of hand master: Ricky Jay plays a magician in the film,was a consultant on the movie, and I strongly recommend you watch the fantastic documentary : Deceptive practice:The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay, which is on NETFLIX.

But the drive of these two men to kick the other off the stage, consumes them. When Angier attends one of Bordon’s shows ,and sees a new trick called: the transported man ( where, on stage Bordon enters one of two simple doors with a frame only ,and appears out the other one, catching the rubber ball he had thrown before he entered the first door) he is obsessed with finding out how he does it. To say any more about the plot, would be wrong, for you should see this without any hints to fully enjoy this wonderful cat and mouse Nolan has constructed.

I am a unabashed fan of great inventor: Tesla, and the subplot about Angier going to Colorado Springs, where he is working on secret experiments, to have Tesla build him a “machine” is just fascinating, and only adds to the mystery of what is real and what is not.

The look, acting, script, and tone, are all top notch, and this is not light fair. Nolan takes each film very seriously. This is one movie I actually disagreed with the great Roger Ebert on, in that he felt the ending cheated. I respectfully disagree, and in fact, like most good tricks or illusions, most of it is spelled out for you in the film, but like it says in the great narration at the beginning, you will be surely looking in the wrong place.

That’s what so bloody brilliant about this motion picture, beside it being top rate entertainment: even though the magic in the movie is fantastic, the best stringing along is done by Nolan, and I mean that with high praise. After you see, and go back over the hints, and what was said, you will know exactly what I mean.

You should see this classic film.

watch the trailer: