The Prestige (2006)


" Every great magic trick consists of three parts or acts. The first part is called "The Pledge". The magician shows you something ordinary: a deck of cards, a bird or a man. He shows you this object. Perhaps he asks you to inspect it to see if it is indeed real, unaltered, normal. But of course... it probably isn't. The second act is called "The Turn". The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. Now you're looking for the secret... but you won't find it, because of course you're not really looking. You don't really want to know. You want to be fooled. But you wouldn't clap yet. Because making something disappear isn't enough; you have to bring it back. That's why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call "The Prestige".

The Prestige
      So, i've taken a brief hiatus from romantic comedies and began to watch a more serious movie: "The Prestige" directed by Christopher Nolan of the The Dark Knight Rises fame. It has an all-star cast and has won several awards and nominations. The plot of this movie is quite complicated as it has many twists and turns which will require the fullest concentration to understand. But it starts off at 19th century London-- with a simple rivalry between two magicians: Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale); the rivalry escalates out of proportion after a series of unfortunate events that has the two doing completely unthinkable things.

     First thoughts after finishing the movie are: despicable but terribly brilliant. This movie shows the lengths the humans can go for what they want (or more accurately obsess). We can be familiar with this but not actually encountered it ourselves: people are so unpredictable and unique. Putting it in this light, human individuality and determination is actually very scary since there so many possibilities available (not all of it good); also, secrets can be scary, or rather the fear of the unknown. 
Angier with Tesla and his assistant

     Another thing: expectations. Sometimes things can be so simple but we refuse to accept it-- like the part where Angier couldn't accept that Borden was using a double to form his trick. It's just that as people, we can't stand something be so mind-boggling and not have it live up to our expectations. It can be said about a simple magic trick and about life. "Now you're looking for the secret. But you won't find it because of course, you're not really looking. You don't really want to work it out. You want to be fooled." 

Tesla testing out his invention

     Overall, the movie was fantastic. Since the movie was conducted with a lot of flashbacks, i got confused sometimes about which event happened first (i had a hard time figuring out when the drowning of Angier occurred while I was watching it) but it ties up neatly from the end to the beginning. One thing that I really disliked was why Borden/Fallon got to live. I really couldn't stand that character ever since the wife of Angier died. And I liked Angier, as crazy as he is; i think he's more of the victim of circumstance here than that creep Borden.

Alfred Borden
Angier with Olivia and Cutter
   This movie is a great mystery/thriller, lots of twists that are unexpected, lots of thought-provoking ideas as well as the interesting introduction of technology via Tesla. Highly recommended. :) 


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