Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with a review from our regular Vincent Hanna, who weighs in with his opinion of the highly anticipated PRESTIGE. Can't wait to see it, although Hanna was a little disappointed with the overall flick, yet he still says it's entertaining and satisfying. There's a lot of spoilers below, squirts. I know more than I wanted to after reading the below, so beware!
Vincent Hanna here with my take on The Prestige if you are interested. Thanks. The second magician movie in as many months, The Prestige has a lot more firepower than The Illusionist, but when all is said and done they are essentially the same in terms of quality. Entertaining and satisfying, but not much more. As a huge fan of Nolan and the cast (especially Bale), this was one of my most anticipated movies of the year. My expectations may have been a little high and unrealistic. I figured The Prestige would blow me away, but it fell short of that. The story begins with Bale’s character, Alfred Borden, on trial for the murder of Robert Angier, played by Jackman. We see an illusion going wrong, resulting in Angier drowning in a tank while Borden watches. Of course, nothing is ever what it seems. The rest of The Prestige cuts back and forth in time. After Borden’s trial (and guilty verdict), he sits in prison waiting to be hanged until he is dead. A man named Owens (Roger Rees) attempts to get him to sell his secrets in order to ensure the well-being of his young daughter. Back in turn of the century London, Angier and Borden are young men hoping to become magicians. It is unclear how close they are, but from the start it is obvious that they have different philosophies when it comes to the work. Borden is adamant about showing people something they have never seen before. Angier is more of a showman and wants to entertain people. Eventually, under the guidance of an ingeneur named Cutter (Michael Caine), they have a show together. One of the illusions involves Julia (Piper Perabo), Angier’s wife, being dropped into a water-filled tank with her hands and legs tied. Of course they tie the knots loose and she escapes in seconds. Borden wants to tie a different knot though, and you can guess what happens. Julia is in on it with him, but she can’t get loose and drowns before Cutter can break the glass and free her. So begins an intense, hateful rivalry between the two men. When Angier hears that Borden is performing a bullet trick, he disguises himself and manages to shoot off two of Borden’s fingers. Borden returns the favor by getting Angier to severely break his leg, causing permanent damage that leaves him with a limp. Soon Borden pulls off a stunning illusion that baffles Angier. The latter becomes obsessed with figuring out how he does it. There is also a subplot that has Angier paying a visit to Colorado Springs. He wants a mysterious scientist named Tesla (David Bowie) to build him something. Tesla is working with electricity and is a rival of Thomas Edison’s. It all leads to a series of twists and turns, some of which are easier to guess than others. The secret to Borden’s seemingly impossible illusion is easy to guess long before the movie reveals it, but Angier’s secret is more complicated. There is a lot to admire here. The Prestige is extremely well-made and the cast is excellent. The illusions are fun to watch, as is the competition between Borden and Angier. There are many outstanding individual scenes. It doesn’t add up to much though and it doesn’t leave a lasting impression. It feels like there is a lot left out in the beginning, in the establishment of the relationship between Angier and Borden. We don’t learn how they know each other and for how long. I don’t think we learn as much about them as we should. The domestic scenes are fairly standard and uninteresting. Borden has troubles in the home. His wife begins to grow tired of his secrets and suspects he is having an affair. She thinks he is sleeping with Olivia (Scarlett Johansson, in a thankless role), who was Angier’s assistant but ends up performing the same role for Borden. Maybe my expectations were too high, but I expected to like The Prestige more than I did. It is good and definitely worth seeing, but I thought it would be great, maybe even one of the best movies of the year. That is not the case though. It never fails to entertain but somehow it feels like a mild disappointment at the same time.