Josh's Take on The Prestige: Loses Magic By The Third Act
by Josh Green
October 26, 2006
Christopher Nolan's newest attempt to dazzle audiences features two competing magicians during the late 1800's. Through an impressively confusing narrative structure, the lives of these characters spiral downward as their methods of competing with each other grow drastically more dangerous. When a movie relies on realistic magic tricks, such as The Prestige does for its first two acts, it is unsettling and out of place to base the third act on science fiction.
The Prestige is very well directed; obviously the highlight of this film, however the film itself is overdone with too many melodramatic scenes and unconnected plot points. For a running time of 128 minutes, you think the film would have enough time to connect everything and not leave the audience second-guessing certain elements.
The acting is good enough, but Christian Bale's performance as Alfred Borden is creepy and disturbing. Almost to the point of where I disliked him so much that I would find myself hating every scene he was in. Many people will say that is good acting, however I feel his performance took away from what could have been a great villainous character haunted by his obsession to keep his secret.
The Prestige also feels the need to trick it's audience by weaving in and out of different times and settings so much, that it's gimmick is to withhold important plot information until we are too tired of guessing what's going on. What magic is there in that? True showmen ship is to reveal information throughout the film, and then reveal their connection at the end. Those are the surprise endings I enjoy. Also that the last act in the movie bases itself in the complete non-reality of science fiction after the previous 100 minutes were based in reality, doesn't sit well with me.
Although The Prestige tries very hard to dazzle moviegoers with twists and turns, this is not Christopher Nolan's best work. Hopefully he has more under his cape to unveil with The Dark Knight, but until then he should merely disappear.
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