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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 27.27%
Average: 12.73%
Pretty Bad: 0.91%
Total Crap: 4.55%

5 reviews, 80 user ratings

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Prestige, The
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by Lybarger

"Are You Watching Closely, or Should You?"
3 stars

Imagine watching a magician whose sleight of hand dazzles without ever filling a viewer with a sense of wonder, and you get a sense of what it is like to sit through Christopher Nolan’s well-mounted but curiously unengaging adaptation of the Christopher Priest novel “The Prestige.”

The elements are all there: a terrific cast, an appropriately jolting surprise ending, an impressive period production and a proven director. “The Pestige” runs into trouble because it’s about a rivalry between two nineteenth century illusionists that doesn’t leave a viewer eager to choose a winner or even caring if one comes out on top.

The film begins with magician Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) accused of murdering fellow practioner Rupert Angier (Hugh Jackman). The case seems open and shut because Angier had long blamed Borden for the death of his wife (Piper Perabo) when all three were serving as apprentices to a veteran (Ricky Jay).

Afterward, each goes to great lengths to subvert the other. One might show up at another’s performance and ruin a trick, or will find a way to wreck the other’s personal life. Angier even sends his assistant (Scarlett Johansson) to work for Borden in the hope of learning his best illusions.

Because Angier and Borden are willing to devote themselves to duplicity and murder to outdo each other, it’s hard to care how the conflict will eventually play out. The audience figures out long before the characters that achieving the ruin of a rival and the ultimate magic trick are not worth Faustian sacrifices.

Nolan’s skewed chronology makes the tale unfold like a puzzle. But the process of reaching the solution is much more rewarding than the story itself.

The cast members seem constrained with often maddeningly limited roles. Johansson is called on to do little more than look fetching in stage outfits, and Andy Serkis (“King Kong”) is grossly overqualified to be playing a glorified sidekick.

Sir Michael Caine has some fine moments as an engineer who helps design some of Borden and Angier’s tricks, and singer David Bowie is appropriately haunted as legendary inventor Nikola Tesla, who seems to draw little joy from his considerable achievements. Rebecca Hall is touching as Borden’s frustrated wife, but it’s odd that the supporting characters are more interesting than the main ones.

To their credit, Nolan and his brother Jonathan (who teamed up on the script to their earlier film “Memento”) do wrap things up impressively. The ending is both surprising but yet matches all the information the two have presented before.

The intriguing conclusion almost absolves what comes before it. As much as I was put off by what preceded it, the ending did resonate long after I headed to the parking lot, and “The Prestige” is one of those weird movies that plays better in memory than it does on the screen.

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originally posted: 10/23/06 03:52:27
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User Comments

3/06/15 stanley welles dazzles in its enigmatic mystique 4 stars
10/20/11 Magic Mind-bending, a fable of revenge and its long term effects on man. Stunning cinematography. 5 stars
7/03/11 DK Brilliantly plotted, soildly acted and very entertaining. One lingering question though. 5 stars
3/04/09 R.W. Welch Somewhat overplotted and disjointed, but still watchable enough. 4 stars
1/13/09 Anonymous. hard to understand but after i watched it 3 or 4 times i got it :] really good movie.! 4 stars
9/07/08 Halad65 Simpler than you think - great performances, awesome plot. 5 stars
5/29/08 MDH-Matt Like one big, elaborate Vegas-style magic trick, we just want the payoff 3 stars
1/07/08 Helen Fabulous movie, loved it. 5 stars
11/28/07 damalc almost a 5, but too long and over complicated 4 stars
10/27/07 tracey chambers my new fav movie. Its wonderful. great performances by all 5 stars
10/16/07 fools♫gold You'll like it. Even if you hate it now, just watch it again and you'll like it. 4 stars
8/07/07 Johnny Prestige is as ugly & gory a depiction of magic as the Illusionist is beautiful & dreamlike 1 stars
8/02/07 Alex Miles This movie is a wonderful movie bail should have won an oscar 5 stars
7/11/07 Hello Stranger high jackamn is ggreat in this. a great effort in puttin it as a non-linearized. movie. 4 stars
7/08/07 lucy This film was so interesting and clever....i couldn't get out of my seat! 5 stars
7/04/07 Jennifer This was great! So many twists and turns that you have to watch twice to get it all. 5 stars
7/02/07 Jubei With Memento,Nolan's best work,Bowie's flawless as Tesla.Full of metaphors. 5 stars
5/31/07 Jiz Definitely worth watching, great plot and performances. 5 stars
5/26/07 TreeTiger This is nothing less than an excellent movie! 5 stars
4/29/07 Miss Me Twisted.. I hated it the bird part that's why I wont rate it with a 5 3 stars
4/25/07 matthew holy fuck that was twisted... 5 stars
4/24/07 Michele The Illusionist was better, and you could feel sympathy for the characters on that movie. 3 stars
4/11/07 Indrid Cold Considerably more intriguing than The Illusionist. 4 stars
3/11/07 Ryan_A Nolan delivers again, with Bale and Jackman on top of their game. Needs more ScarJo.. 5 stars
3/05/07 Vinnie Predictable but interesting. 3 stars
3/04/07 Lola a better film than Departed. Departed sucks totally! 5 stars
3/03/07 Phil M. Aficionado Just a bit over the top; well done but too slick for me 3 stars
3/01/07 Anti-Goober Very watchable, but slightly boring and lacking drive 3 stars
2/25/07 Ryan i give this a little edge over the departed probably the 2 best moves out year. MUST SEE 5 stars
2/23/07 Corndog A decent flick. Worth a gander, but I'm not that interested in watching it again. 3 stars
2/18/07 Greenspoon JR This is a beautiful movie, in every way! 4 stars
2/14/07 kat GENIAL!!!!!!!!!!....nothing else to say.... 5 stars
2/14/07 D Gotta see it twice. Even better the second time. 5 stars
2/09/07 Donald The best movie of 2006. In my top 20 5 stars
1/17/07 Zeeshan Best movie of 2006. Move over The Departed. 4 stars
1/12/07 Richard Brandt Well acted, beautiful to look at, not terribly surprising 4 stars
1/06/07 Mike Strange and unique movie but good at the same time 4 stars
1/05/07 Watch This Movie! Any fan of suspenseful thrillers with twists and turns MUST see this movie. I mean it. 5 stars
1/03/07 Natasha Delicious and disturbing in equal measure. 5 stars
12/05/06 matt top5: inconvenient truth, eternal sunshine, being john malk, requiem for a dream, and this. 5 stars
11/24/06 Justin L Is it just me or was Bowie doing a great Pierce Brosnan impression? 5 stars
11/21/06 juan dela cruz ambot sa langaw pilay edad sa uk-uk...ckwet..apil na to siya sa majik..labot nimo.. 5 stars
11/20/06 Bliss Brilliant all around. Those who don't like it, didn't "get" it. 5 stars
11/18/06 tetractys brianorndorff is spot on. My only reservation was a desire for more Tesla uncertainty. 4 stars
11/16/06 MP Bartley Had it worked out before the end, but that's part of the fun. Maddeningly entertaining. 5 stars
11/14/06 Allison Quick, smart and riveting. A truly excellent film from beginning to end. 5 stars
11/14/06 Jake if you can get over moronic voiceovers and a senseless story, you might not feel cheated. 1 stars
11/14/06 Wayland This story just doesn't add up and no amout of acting can fix it. 1 stars
11/13/06 Lucy Tight, smart, captivating - up there with the Usual Suspects and Memento 5 stars
11/13/06 Mel It had a slow start, but that's my ONLY complaint. Jackman, Bale and Bowie we fantastic!! 4 stars
11/12/06 The Jax This movie was brilliant on all levels. Genius. 5 stars
11/10/06 bluebell Both actors are wonderful...and to think Jackman also is in The Fountain! Kudos to Nolan! 5 stars
11/10/06 Shayna Although I figured it out half way through, It made me work for it and I respect that 4 stars
11/07/06 Ole Man Bourbon The finale seemed way out of control, nevertheless, an entertaining film. 4 stars
11/06/06 Seageezer A little too humorless, but clever and well made nevertheless. 4 stars
11/06/06 David No one cares about the man in the box... untill your'e the one in there. Creeepy. 5 stars
11/05/06 Nancy Loved it-was engrossed all the way through 5 stars
10/31/06 chris. everything about this movie is dripping w/ misdirection, perfect for a film about magic 5 stars
10/31/06 Mona The turn is easy enough to arrive at, but the prestige-- is another story entirely 5 stars
10/29/06 Quigley very complex, very cool movie. Chris Nolan needs to make more movies with Bale. a must-see 5 stars
10/27/06 birdsall I loved it. I didnt mind not knowing much about Borben, I cheered for him the whole time. 5 stars
10/27/06 Sir Spam-a-lot I had it all figured out early - which ruined it for me, but still interesting 4 stars
10/26/06 GregSenko Soundtrack in narrow sounding, uninviting and obviously manipulative 2 stars
10/24/06 fusion chef a unique dark movie. may be hard for those that need a character to cheer for. worth seeing 5 stars
10/24/06 Rona de la Mer Bale is awesome! 5 stars
10/24/06 rs bucy great movie 5 stars
10/24/06 Duhhh Lame sci-fi "prestige" of Jackman ruins a humorless film 1 stars
10/24/06 Johnathan poor bird... 4 stars
10/24/06 neoi;l go see it twice 5 stars
10/23/06 Anthony I wish I was dumber so I could not figure out the entire plot in 30 mins! 3 stars
10/23/06 Darko Lick my balls, this movie was better than V for Vendetta! 5 stars
10/23/06 jessica williams this movie is GGRREEAATT 5 stars
10/22/06 Wayne klein Excellent movie with challenging, complex characters and plot. 5 stars
10/22/06 john s. Well worth the price of a ticket. It's powerful. 5 stars
10/22/06 Skiv Visually, it's really exciting. Loved Bowie as Tesla! 5 stars
10/22/06 Lindsay Holy crap, one of the best movies i've ever seen. 5 stars
10/22/06 melina i'm still trying to figure out parts of this moview... 5 stars
10/22/06 Adrian This is a fun movie and Nolan's directing makes it a visual treat. Excellent acting as well 5 stars
10/22/06 naewar BEST MOVIE I'VE SEEN IN YEARS! What a treat! 5 stars
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  20-Oct-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 20-Feb-2007



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