Dear Readers,

I now consider this blog to be my Juvenelia. Have fun perusing the archives, and find me at my new haunt, here.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Prestige

Twists, Turns...and Teases.

Just came out of a Sunday afternoon viewing of Chistopher Nolan's film The Prestige, which as another blogger brilliantly pointed out, has as much resemblance to "Itchy and Scratchy" as anything else. So much nastly violence, bumps, and bruises.

While some of the symbolism and foreshadowing reached Memento-like awesomeness, and the movie's meditation on obsession was well-understood and carried out, I was disappointed with the "Prestige" (or the "reveal" or the "twist" or the whatever)-- because as a very wise co-viewer of mine pointed out, it added little to our understanding of what came before. And between the two of us, we'd guessed everything well over an hour pre-conclusion.

Yes, watching the film for a second time would add some "aww shucks" and "so that's how they did its," but the the nastiness would remain puzzling and frustrating. Plus, (SPOILER) the filmmakers utilize an irritating combination of "real" magic/science and simple duping... I would have liked them to choose one or the other so that instead of a bevy of distractions, we had some more of the character development and insight that's there on the surface, but ultimately just a tease.

And as everyone and their mamas have pointed out, the women are just a bunch of props and distractions... maybe it's a metaphor for magicians' comely assistants serving as foils, but after Nolan's flimsy treatment of Katie Holmes in Batman Begins (a great film) and the downright nasty portrayal of women in Memento, his repertoire is beginning to spell m-i-s-o-g... you know.

That having been said, there were some spellbinding shots in the movie, most of which took place in Colorado Springs in and around a Shining-Esque hotel, and made me more interested in hiking, skiing, and view-gazing than magic tricks.

David Bowie and Andy Serkis as a scientist and his assistant added an excellent touch, as did a cast of birds and cats, and I thought both Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman brooded beautifully, while Scarlett Johanssen pouted as best she could in her miniscule role (she's beginning to get on my nerves though, I must admit.) Also, Michael Caine is just groovy, as always.

(Illusionist spoiler alert)
In sum, if there were a battle of one-upsmanship between the heavy, clinking Prestige and ghostly tableau of the Illusionist, the Illusionist triumphs because it plays the same game with a much a gentler hand, and makes us believe in a different kind of magic; that justice and love are achievable. And isn't that what movies are all about?

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