I just watched The Prestige for the first time on DVD, and I enjoyed it a great deal; it certainly brought a number of ideas to mind.
Isn't it interesting that movies of the same general type tend to all come out at roughly the same time? Here we have The Illusionist and The Prestige together, two tales of battling magicians. Is there some kind of Hollywood espionage going on? My theory is that there's one guy in Hollywood that comes up with all the movie plots. He's some sort of raving genius and the big studios like to hold parties where they get him drunk and let him expound on his newest idea. Then whoever is at the party turns his idea into a movie. Okay, okay, it's not a very elegant theory, but still.
The Prestige properly belongs to the "mind bender" movie genre, so named by my housemate, and there is the half-expected moment of epiphany near the end of the movie where you figure out what is going on. I think that's what really makes the entire genre enjoyable . . . the fleeting sensation that all the pieces have slotted into place and you can see the workings of the machine. It's really great. Unfortunately, in this movie it doesn't sync up quite perfectly. I suspect there are two causes for this. Firstly, that the movie exposition is extremely scattered, rushing from one time and place to another without giving you time to grasp the relation of the events. Secondly, there are some extraneous elements that don't wrap up into the story very well and explanatory elements are introduced too late in the movie to develop properly. It very much left me with a sense that a few pieces of the machine had gone *ping* into the corners somewhere.
It was fun, though, and not the least because it has Hugh Jackman in it. He's such a great actor. I thought Christian Bale was only so-so . . . he was better in Batman Begins. David Bowie as Nikola Tesla was just wicked. I mean, come on, Bowie? Tesla? That's just surreal, and the more so because he did a great job in the role.
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