A tragic accident occurs during an illusionist show and this is the starting point of a feud between two magicians. One of them wants revenge, and both of them want to prove to the world that they are the best illusionist, but the price that they will have to pay is extremely high.
What makes “the prestige” interesting is the combination of the drama, mystery, and sci-fi genres. I think this is the first time that a big budget movie combined these genres, and I have to say that it worked really well. Moreover, there is a lot of room for plot holes within the sci-fi, and mystery genre and I think that the writer did an amazing job preventing this from happening. I remember that there were some serious plot issues with the movie “Tenet” (2020), which was also written and directed by Christopher Noland. But luckily for us the premise of “The Prestige” is a little easier to digest, and the writing and directing process must also have been way easier for Nolan. I understand that Nolan likes these difficult plot structures and genres, but to be honest the chances that it backfires is pretty big. It is the typical ‘high-risk high-reward’ concept which you either love or hate.
The most interesting part of this movie is the surprise element. This is also matching perfectly with the premise which is; hyper competitive illusionists that want revenge. I think that there is a good plot twist every thirty minutes. And I am not talking about one of those ridiculous, or boring plot twists. Because this movie covers some serious topics such as ethical behavior towards cloned entities, and the borders between magic and science. Additionally, Nolan managed to mix the topic of fidelity (drama) with a sci-fi concept and this was really new to me. I guess you can call “The Prestige” a thought provoking movie because it touches on so many different topics in life. Another interesting concept within this movie is the incorporation of electricity, and Nikola Tesla because it adds something special to the setting.
Moreover, It is also a story about change and progress because we can see the two illusionists reaching new highs when they are developing new illusions. And at the same time they progress towards modernity because eventually they step into the science of ‘new possibilities’. Yes, the science is fringe science because it is sci-fi related but this keeps things interesting for the audience. Because who would want to see a movie in which electricity would be the entire premise of the story?
When looking at the actors I think that they should have casted less A-list actors because at times it felt like certain parts received too much attention because of the names of certain actors. I fully understand why it happened, but I personally think that certain actors are too big for non-leading roles. Don’t get me wrong, I really like Scarlett Johansson’s work, but it might have been better to pick a B-list actor in order to secure the focus on the two main characters. Now it feels like three protagonists because Scarlett Johansson has a huge impact, and screen presence. In this specific case it is kind of ok because she is moving between the two protagonists, but I still would have casted a good B-list actor for that role. I think it is all about dynamics and finding the perfect balance. And it does feel a little off at times because of the previously mentioned reason.
Overall, this is just a really good movie because everything works very well. And this is a huge compliment for such a complicated plot structure. I can imagine that most other directors and writers would have F***ed it up because of the complexity. But Nolan really pulled it off this time.
Cast (in credits order) verified as complete
|Hugh Jackman||Robert Angier|
|Christian Bale||Alfred Borden|
|Piper Perabo||Julia McCullough|
|Scarlett Johansson||Olivia Wenscombe|