I can’t believe that it took me so long to get around to watching this film it didn’t half impress me! Part mystery part thriller from Christopher Nolan (the director of Inception) the films centres around two magicians who are drawn together in competitive one-upmanship inspired by tragic events.
I found that the film sets out very early on the structure it’s going to work to – defining the three parts of a magic trick as the Pledge, the Turn and the Prestige; this plays nicely into the way that the film works as the story jumps around in time as well though never in a way that makes the film hard to follow. The production on the film is fantastic – the sets all look and feel as though they belong to the Victorian era – made even more impressive by reading on Wikipedia only one set was ever created for the film, the rest was dressed locations, and the actors perform their roles fantastically. I expected to get a good performance from Christian Bale (playing one of the duelling magicians), I didn’t expect so much from Hugh Jackman, but his performance was carefully nuanced, bringing with it the pain on his character whilst at the same time showing the obsession that he holds in understanding the trick that his rival has created. Throw into the hot pot Michael Caine playing the mentor/inventor of tricks to the magicians as they learn their art, providing wisdom in the way that only Michael Caine can, and David Bowie playing the reclusive inventor Nikola Tesla whose work is sucked into the work of the magicians. This is a very hard film to write about as I don’t really want to give away anything of the plot – I went into it with very little idea of what was due to happen in the film and I think this benefited me when I watched it. As a study in the effects of Obsession and the damage that this can do to lives it is spot on – showing side effects in the personal lives of both magicians, and (a plus point for me) neither of them came out looking better than the other, the film is very level handed neither shown as good neither shown as evil.
So another intriguing and intelligent film from Christopher Nolan – if you like his other work and haven’t seen this, what are you waiting for? Watch it now!