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The Prestige
Bound to have a few tricks up its sleeve
The Prestige
Christian Bale Stars Opposite Hugh Jackman in "The Prestige".
OPENING WEEKEND: $35,000,000
DOMESTIC TOTAL: $130,000,000
  This Film is NOT a Future Release.
  The Following Preview has been Archived.

March 17th, 2006: In late 19th century England, two stage illusionists become entangled in a competition to outwit and expose one another. The aristocratic Rupert Angier (Hugh Jackman) is one of the world’s best magicians and the working class Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) is his fiercest adversary. Inexplicably drawn by dark forces to each other’s lives, the two childhood rivals are driven by an antagonistic curiosity. Intensely consumed by the escalating competition, they turn to excessively dangerous tricks. When Angier consults the advice of physicist and inventor Nikola Tesla (David Bowie), the magic becomes even more impossible and perhaps even deadly. Eventually, it transforms both men into murderers.

What to Expect: Christopher Nolan, the director of the film, quickly garnered extraordinary acclaim as a promising Hollywood director following his perversely mind-bending thriller Memento. Abundant with unpredictable twists, narrative distortions, and a warped editing style, it was a laborious exercise in ingenuity and instantaneously became an independent hit, whose every detail was mulled over by its dedicated fans. Nolan got the idea for the film from his brother, Jonathan, whose short story Memento Mori eventually inspired the Oscar nominated screenplay. Since he has already cemented his status as one of the foremost directors by balancing artistry with mass appeal in two terrific, but somewhat more conventional films, Insomnia and Batman Begins, Christopher Nolan seems ready to return to the type of storytelling that got him there. The two siblings have collaborated on the script once again and the story promises to be another enthralling brainteaser. Christopher Priest, the award winning English science fiction writer and author of the book on which the film is based, has reportedly been extremely impressed with the screenplay. The Prestige (the title refers to the residue that remains after a successful magic trick) has been one of his most acclaimed novels and appears to be an inspired source for a film adaptation.

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The film’s acting talents and star power will only serve to further the success of The Prestige. As he continues on his road to superstardom, Christian Bale (American Psycho, The Machinist, The New World, Rescue Dawn) reunites with his Batman Begins director and photos from the set already suggest another physical transformation for the risk-taking actor, who appears to be sporting a massive beard. For the likeable Hugh Jackman (X-Men, Swordfish, Van Helsing, X-Men: The Last Stand), who has been fortunate to build up his resume with fairly traditional Hollywood fare, this may mark the beginning of more daring roles as he is also starring in Darren Aronofsky’s (Pi, Requiem for a Dream) ambitious The Fountain, which may premiere at the Cannes Film Festival this year. As one of Hollywood’s hottest actresses, the stunning Scarlett Johansson (Ghost World, The Island, Match Point) will star in not one, but two period pieces in October when Brian De Palma’s The Black Dahlia is released only a week prior to The Prestige. With the legendary Sir Michael Caine (The Cider House Rules, The Quiet American, Batman Begins) and the eccentric and equally celebrated musician David Bowie (The Hunger, Labyrinth, The Last Temptation of Christ), the movie should have a mixture of superb and whimsical performances from the supporting actors. Add Andy Serkis (who is responsible for the physical movements of the two biggest digital superstars in recent years, Golem and King Kong) to the mix, and you have an alluring amalgam of Hollywood legends, rising stars, and peculiar performers.

For Christopher Nolan this may be the first true follow-up to Memento. While he has hinted that the film will utilize narrative tricks to play with the audience, it is already well known that the book contains numerous twists and turns. The subject matter alone provides an ideal playground for the wily director to dispense another complex swindle on the public. More importantly, it should be a perfect vehicle to continue his fascination with dark subject matter. Each of Nolan’s previous films has in some way penetrated the moral ambiguity of the main characters. His protagonists are frequently men with ambitious and obsessive desires, whose actions and tactics to attaining their goals border on, and sometimes are, criminal. Clearly, the same impulsive and destructive forces bind the two main characters in The Prestige.

In Conclusion: Stage magician and occasional actor, Ricky Jay (Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Heist) partnered with Michael Weber, who runs a magic consulting company, to advise during filming. The two helped ensure that accuracy was preserved and that the magic made sense within the context of the movie. Consequently, Nolan should have another convincing and masterful thriller. In an interview with USA Today, Jackman declared that the film is “like one big magic trick” and that’s exactly what this feels like. This appears to be a film that’s both smart and entertaining and should be a marvelously fun experience for anyone who attends the screening. I am sitting right here at the edge of my seat, impatiently anticipating all the surprises in what could become one of the bigger hits of the fall season.

Similar Titles: Memento, The Usual Suspects, House of Games, Fight Club
October 20th, 2006 (wide)
February 20th, 2007 (DVD)

Touchstone Pictures

Christopher Nolan

Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Michael Caine, David Bowie, Scarlett Johansson, Piper Perabo, Andy Serkis, Rebecca Hall

Total: 152 vote(s).

Drama, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Click here to view site

Rated PG-13 for violence and disturbing images

128 min





The Prestige at AskMen.com

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