About – Two stage magicians take life and death to the extreme, to create the ultimate stage illusion.
Christopher Nolan is one of the world’s most well-known directors for the likes of ‘Inception’ and the ‘Dark Knight Trilogies’ but The Prestige is probably the one that didn’t get realised enough back in 2006 but it is one of the best films Nolan has directed.
Christopher Nolan likes to put thriller and mystery together, which is a very unique genre combinations due to audiences not really liking the confusion that it brings. However Nolan does it in a way that makes you think from the very start. He does it ‘Inception’ and ‘The Prestige’ even from the first line in The Prestige “are you watching closely” which makes the audience question and take every note and clue into consideration during the film.
This leads me onto the structure of the film and the three rules of on-stage magic and how they are both used for the complete structure of the film. The Prestige is taken from the novel ‘The Prestige’ by Christopher Priest. Which the main three stages of on-stage magic was introduced. Starting with ‘The Pledge’ which is the stage of where ordinary people can go and inspect the object that the magician is going to use. The second stage is ‘The Turn’ where you make the trick but where the audience is still confused and don’t want to clap for example if the trick has a disappearing act in it you want them to appear again otherwise there is no trick in something that has disappeared. This leads to the third act called ‘The Prestige’, where the object appears which makes the audience feel complete with the trick.
Christopher Nolan uses this method for the structure of the film throughout. By having so many twists in the film to make it like the film is going through the three stages of magic trick. It is confusing the first time you watch The Prestige but if you are watching closely you will come to terms with all the twists and turns. This is a very clever way of using both the method to influence the structure of the film; this is what makes The Prestige amazingly incredible to capture the right amount of twists and turns that doesn’t give anything away, unless you look closely that gets all revealed at the very end.
The Prestige is set in the Victorian era, which is fuelled by illusionists and entertainers for the people of the working class up to the higher class. The Prestige really hit the nail on the head with the way they captured the setting and the history of that era, with references from Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla. This element really makes The Prestige that more realistic. You can sort of relate to how the idea for this film/novel came about with the huge rise in the Victorian era for the entertainment and what people had to go through to achieve great work and sell-out shows. The Prestige is like a little insight to what the entertainment was like during the Victorian era, which you don’t really get until you sit back and actually think about what you’ve watched and decoded the actual film down to its brutal meaning and adverse ending.
With a superb cast the performance is going to be amazing, and it didn’t disappoint. You first hear a voice that says ‘are you watching closely’ said by the one and only Michael Cain, that you can’t mistake for anyone, then you see him talking to a little girl explaining the three stages of magic. Throughout the film you wanted more input from the actor but his role was simply to narrate the film and guide the two magicians to success and moral high ground.
Hugh Jackman that plays Robert Angier is brilliant really captures the passion and heartbreak that the character needs, he goes from this loving having a laugh character to a very obsessed person that is heartbroken but forgets the meaning of right and wrong in the entertainment industry. Without a doubt Hugh Jackman has done some incredible work and this personally is one of them.
Christian Bale plays one the hardest roles within this film playing Alfred Borden, not letting you know the secrets is going to be hard but there are no spoilers involved. However the performance was brilliant by Bale and really didn’t know how his character was going to play out right up until the end with regards to everything that went on and you wouldn’t be expecting the final surprise that comes out of his character.
Finally, The Prestige really captured the setting of the Victorian era with the passion and obsession of the entertainment industry in this time period. The way that Nolan directs this film makes you question everything that is happening, you could argue that it is too confusing for certain types of people but when you realise what is going on it is rather easy to follow (or wait till the end). The cast goes without saying, it is incredible and obviously with that sort of cast their performances are going to incredible too. The Prestige is one of my favourite films because it consists some of the best elements in film, thrill, confusion, heartbreak and rivalry.