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Monday, 16 July 2012

Christopher Nolan Week: The Prestige

Are you watching closely?

You need to be in order to really relish Christopher Nolan's magical masterpiece, the Prestige which stars Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman and Scarlett Johansson

Following the success of Batman Begins in 2005, Christian Bale must have fancied the work of Nolan, taking up another leading role in a dark, twisted tale of exacerbation between two obsessive magicians.

Set upon the end of the nineteenth century, Robert Angler (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) are both associates of a seasoned magician by the name of Cutter (Michael Caine) who lives off teaching amateur magicians. An aged persona in Cutter, he can see serious potential in both Robert and Borden but both their perceptions of appropriate magic have wide differentiation.

When a magic trick involving a water tank goes wrong, ending with the drowning of Robert's wife, the blame is shed upon Alfred who had apparently back-tracked on which way he should have tied the knot, trapping Julia (Wife) until her death.

The after-mat of the unfortunate incident leads to the eventual plot of the prestige which consists of jealousy and rivalry. The death of Robert's wife sees both men depart, leading separate careers that result in twisted sacrifices. Both make it their all to become the best magician in the town, even if that means the sabotage of ones career, maybe life! The prestige shows a desperate tale of obsession and begrudging as Robert and Alfred struggle to reach the prime they ever so dream of.

"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." - Michael Caine's Cutter

Its dark concept reveals a love story from both camps as Olivia (Scarlett Johansson) sets a goal of deceiving both individuals, playing one off the other resulting in complications within Alfred's own relationship with Sarah (Rebecca Hall). Although Alfred and Robert show a hint of feelings for Olivia , both clever individuals see her as a spy as they both persuade her to infiltrate each others lives and performances resulting in what they hope is the revealing secrets within their magic.

Cutter is caught between the vicious rivalry as it is seen as the last straw for Robert who's desperate attempt to out-with Alfred is looking slim as he struggles to find a loop-hole within "The Transported Man", a gifted new trick holding a secret that Alfred will take to the grave!

Seen through the eyes of possessive magicians, the Prestige is an original, extraordinary tale of two individuals desperate to wow their audience with the next step...the prestige!

This is a glorious piece of work with memorable performances from both Bale and Jackman. Just like the previous work of Christopher Nolan, his brother Johnathan has also helped with the creation of a screenplay that proves once again that their weird and wonderful directing has resulted in a fantastic movie.

The prestige is one of my personal favourites and will go down as one of the best movies of the last decade. Michael Caine adds to the delightful cast with his presence resulting in an element that can only be relished and embraced through the experienced Christopher Nolan.

Overall: An original concept with performances and twists guaranteed to blow your mind!

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