Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

The Prestige

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
7 out of 10
Extras Rating:
6 out of 10
Movie Details:
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Rating: PG-13

Starring:
Hugh Jackman as Robert Angier
Christian Bale as Alfred Borden
Michael Caine as Cutter
Piper Perabo as Julia Angier
Rebecca Hall as Sarah Borden
Scarlett Johansson as Olivia Wenscombe
Samantha Mahurin as Jess Borden
David Bowie as Nikola Tesla
Andy Serkis as Alley
Daniel Davis as Judge
Jim Piddock as Prosecutor
Christopher Neame as Defender
Mark Ryan as Captain
Roger Rees as Owens
Jamie Harris as Sullen Warder

Special Features:
The Director's Notebook: The Cinematic Sleight of Hand of Christopher Nolan
The Art of "The Prestige" Gallery

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.35:1)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
French and Spanish Language
Spanish and French Subtitles
Running Time: 130 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is from the DVD cover:

"Award-winning actors Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Caine and Scarlett Johansson star in 'The Prestige,' the twisting, turning story that, like all great magic tricks, stays with you. Two young, passionate magicians, Robert Angier (Jackman), a charismatic showman, and Alfred Borden (Bale), a gifted illusionist, are friends and partners until one fateful night when their biggest trick goes terribly wrong. Now the bitterest of enemies, they will stop at nothing to learn each other's secrets. As their rivalry escalates into a total obsession full of deceit and sabotage, they risk everything to become the greatest magician of all time. But nothing is as it seems, so watch closely. And be prepared to watch it again and again."

"The Prestige" is rated PG-13 for violence and disturbing images.

The Movie:
As a comic book fan, I got a big kick out of seeing Wolverine, Batman, Alfred, and Gollum/King Kong all on the screen together in one film. Despite this, you never think of their superhero alter-egos while watching "The Prestige." In fact, the stellar cast is a lot of what makes this movie interesting. Bale, Jackman, and Caine are all excellent in their roles. Jackman is given the opportunity to show both the good side and dark side of his character. The same goes for Bale. The result is a pair of very complex characters up on the screen that are neither hero nor villain. (There were times, though, that I thought Jackman and Bale would have been better if they had switched roles mainly because Angier is a darker character which suits Bale.)

"The Prestige" has a twist towards the end that is worthwhile and unexpected. It requires a lot to get the audience to go along for that big leap, but by the time they do, you're emotionally invested in the story and characters. You buy into it.

I didn't see "The Illusionist," so I can't really compare these two magician films. What I can say is that as interesting as "The Prestige" is, it does drag on at times. The film runs well over 2 hours and it feels like it. Things pick up dramatically when the 'twist' takes place, but that doesn't happen until it's about 2/3 over.

I also felt the film bent over backwards to try and explain the twist to the audience. It seemed very obvious what happened to me, so the explanation seemed totally unnecessary. That being said, I heard a lot of people trying to explain the twist to their friends as they walked out of the theater. Maybe the explanation was necessary after all. Adding to the complication, the story is told in a nonlinear manner. There are flashbacks within flashbacks that can be a challenge to follow at times. I imagine the people that didn't get the twist were probably really scratching their heads.

The Extras:
This film is surprisingly light on the bonus features. All you'll find is an art gallery and a series of short videos entitled "The Director's Notebook: The Cinematic Sleight of Hand of Christopher Nolan". They cover the period setting of the film, the costumes, Tesla, and a few other things. All together they're maybe 20 minutes long. There are interviews with the cast and crew, but they aren't as in-depth as you might hope.

The Bottom Line:
If you're a fan of any of the lead actors or Christopher Nolan then you'll want to check out "The Prestige." It's a complex film, but one well worth viewing.

Order this DVD @ Amazon

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