Friday, May 18, 2007

The Prestige

How come I hadn't heard of this movie? None of my friends or family must have seen it, because surely they would have told me about it if they had.

Dang. It's a good movie. A little hard to describe, though. Perhaps the easiest way is by saying that the director is Christopher Nolan, who also did Batman Begins and Memento. I actually haven't seen Memento, but from what I've heard of its premise, The Prestige has a similar feel. It's not nearly as strongly nonlinear, but is still a great exercise for the mind.

The synopsis is, in some ways, less helpful -- it's about a rivalry between two magicians. Not necessarily a synopsis that grabs the attention or makes you say, "ooh, I want to see that." But if you think about it very long, it makes sense. Take a writer/director like Christopher Nolan, add a story line like that, and trust him to make the very form of the movie add to the theme. He had the help of a novel to work off of, but it's still an amazing adaptation. It tends to be a good sign when the original author says, "I wish I'd thought of that"... (=

A good magician mystifies us. Obviously that's an element which will be used. But it isn't merely shown in the magic tricks of the characters, but rather becomes an integral part of the entire storyline, so that the movie follows the structure of a magic trick: pledge, turn, and prestige. There's still a lot to think about for me. The need to see it again is almost as great for this movie as it was for The Sixth Sense. Only, I figured out The Sixth Sense. Well, okay, when I heard one particular line I strongly suspected, and I thought about it for a while, but then in the midst of the action of the movie I forgot. Until the end. But still! I didn't figure out The Prestige. I knew I was missing something, but I didn't quite get all the pieces together. The clues are certainly there! But again, the movie is like a good magic trick, and the nonlinear narrative, among other things, helps to distract and misdirect. Just following it was a bit of mental exercise, albeit exercise that I thoroughly enjoyed!

Perhaps after watching it a second or third time I'll be able to move on to thinking about the themes of obsession and sacrifice. John figured the movie out, and he still loved it. It's dense enough to enjoy on many levels.

And now my brain's begun to run around in dizzy little circles. Time for bed. Review of great movie does not need to be masterfully crafted. Great movie does not need to be analyzed further right now, although I feel like I'm forgetting something, or still missing something, or something...

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