Saturday, July 28, 2012
Are You Watching Closely?
A year after Batman Begins, Christopher Nolan and his writing partner Jonathan Nolan brought us another movie from their bag of tricks. The Prestige, a film about dueling magicians striving to out wit and out trick the other, never received the attention of Nolan's Batman movies or Inception, but it deserved every bit as much notice. Starring Hugh Jackman as Robert Angier, a great showman who blames his former friend and fellow magician Alfred Bordan (Batman himself Christian Bale) for the death of his wife, the movie plays like an elaborate magic trick. It wouldn't be a Nolan movie if the great Michael Cane didn't appear as a wise sage providing wisdom to the obsessive and crazed. In the movie, Bordan hones the perfect trick, spurring Angier to furiously seek the root of the trick and to do it better. Angier and Bordan go on to fight a vicious and often deadly battle for near immortal power, both sacrificing their lives to their craft and to each other. Of course, the movie has a handful of heady twists that Nolan fans have come to know and love. For Batman and Nolan lovers, what is most interesting about The Prestige is how echoes how Nolan works. As The Prestige says, when an audience watches a magic trick, they look to see how its done, but they don't really want to know. That would ruin the magic of it. The same could be said of all of Nolan's movies. We go to them, knowing they will baffle and amaze, surprise and stump, but we don't really want to know everything. It is better not to, so we can appreciate the magician and his tricks. If you havn't seen the trick of The Prestige, prepare to be amazed, and watch very closely.