The Prestige [based on book]

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Rated :

Originally watched in 2006. Rewatched Feb 2017

Isn’t it strange how a rewatch can change your opinion of a film. I’ll admit, I haven’t thought about The Prestige in a long while, since I originally watched it probably, but spotted a dvd copy sitting around and thought, didn’t I like that film? lets watch it again. Of course, reading my review from 2006 I don’t think I really did like it, seeing as I mostly described it as “disappointing”. But I’m glad my memory was faulty because I really enjoyed my rewatch.1

On my first viewing I was more caught up in the plot and what was actually happening. The second time I wasn’t concerned with that at all, and was caught up with the characters. And I really enjoyed it.

It felt to me as though the film wasn’t trying to be clever or twisty but instead using that to explore the characters and their obsession. In fact that’s what I thought it was all about, how obsession can ruin lives. And the key sentence in it comes from Angier when he says that he doesn’t care about his wife. He only cares about Borden’s secret.

So, is it me that changed, because the film is exactly the same…


I really wanted to enjoy this film. I thought the trailer made it look intriguing, I liked the films of Nolan that I’ve already seen. And who isn’t a fan of Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman? But, something, I’m not quite sure what, felt flat and dull about this film.

The plot revolves around two magicians in London at the end of the 19th century. They start the story as friends, working in the same act, but then an accident happens and they end up bitter rivals. At first they try to ruin each other’s careers and lives, but soon both get caught up in “the ultimate trick” and try to figure out how it is done.

The plot unfolds through flashbacks and the reading of diaries, both men picking through the lives of the other. We start towards the end of the story, with Borden (Bale) in prison awaiting trial for the murder of Angier (Jackman), and at the end we return to that time for the grand finale.

All the acting is top-notch, but the story is a bit of a let down, and more than a little obvious. There are twists and turns, but all are signposted and although not everything turns out exactly as you might have thought, in most cases I could see what was going to happen. Then again I suppose that is part of the film, and for the most part the rest of the film makes up for this limitation.

What I really liked about The Prestige was the fact that there were no good guys and no bad guys, no one in a white hat to cheer on. Both rivals had their reasons for acting and the audience’s sympathies do switch from one to the other.

I did like the film, but I couldn’t help feeling a little disappointed in it.

IMDb | SSD | Slant Magazine | Me against the Keyboard


  1. and have bumped the rating from a 6 up to an 8 

Post Author: Fence

7 thoughts on “The Prestige [based on book]

    anne

    (16 November 2006 - 11:50 pm)

    I can't wait to see this, so I suppose I will be a bit too…

    Harlequin

    (17 November 2006 - 10:35 am)

    Well, I really enjoyed it, though I'm not sure if it would stand up to repeat viewing. Acting all good, costume and cinematography beautiful and even Scarlett J didn't make me want to rip her throat out ALL the time. I loved the way they telegraphed twists then went in another direction, just like a magic act. Misdirection and hiding in plain sight. Wonderful. Even with the first shot of the film!

    But I went in without any expectation or knowledge or anything. I was just so glad to be back in the cinema! Don't expect anything anne, just give it a bash. It's not a five star film but it has a lot going for it. IMHO. ;-)

    SciFiChick

    (21 November 2006 - 9:49 pm)

    I liked it, but was disappointed too.

    But unlike you, I hated that there were no clear-cut good & bad guys. That's one of the reasons I love fiction.. the good vs. evil aspect.

    Carl V.

    (22 November 2006 - 8:15 pm)

    I liked it more than you did and agree with you totally about the good guy/bad guy thing. Part of what made the film a bit disturbing and interesting is that you liked and disliked things about both of these guys.

    Fence

    (26 November 2006 - 9:38 pm)

    it is one that'll get people talking all right :)

    Carl V.

    (8 March 2007 - 6:33 am)

    Just watched it for a second time, this time on DVD, and really thought it stood up well to a second viewing. Knowing for sure that there were twin brothers made me really watch for 'both' characters and there were some interesting differences between the two, revealed during the closing parts of the film. I really liked this one. Can't wait to watch the extras on the DVD now.

    Fence

    (8 March 2007 - 11:05 am)

    Don't know if I'd ever be bothered to watch it again Carl. Maybe if it shows up on the telly at some stage, and who knows, maybe I'll enjoy it more then :)

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