The Two

I know this is old news to many of you, but around here we wait till movies get to the $1.50 theater before we see them.

Yesterday, I saw The Prestige. It was awesome. It has been in and out of my mind all day. I loved how it taunted the audience the whole way, even beginning with the words “Are you watching closely?”

SPOILERS BELOW (highlight to read)

The acting was good, especially the way that the two characters interacted. Their rivalry felt so petty it was real.

The cinematography was good – did anyone else notice the “trademark” Christopher Nolan landscape shot when Angier was in Colorado? Almost the exact same shot was in both Insomnia and Batman Begins. Nolan loves to shoot snow.

The music was pathetic.

Of course, I have to talk about the ending. I saw the Turn coming – even that Angier was the nobleman who was buying his own stuff. I figured that he must be killing himself in the water (which we saw at the beginning) once I started to think about how the machine had duplicated the hats, rather than transporting them. At that point, I was kind of proud I’d figured it out. But when the Prestige came I was first totally surprised and then almost immediately thought, “Of course!” I flashed back to the Chinese magician immediately, because something about the way that the two men had argued about his technique had stuck in my mind.

Now that I know what the ending was, I’m amazed at the number of ways that the movie comments on it surreptitiously. For example, the very first trick that is shown in the movie is the same trick of the transported man. As the Prestige concept is being explained in a voice-over, Cutter is doing a trick for the girl with a canary. The canary (as we later find) is squashed into the table through a trap door as another bird (the double) comes out from behind the back. Both of the main characters drop through trap doors and DIE for the sake of their trick.

Lots of great material where the script was describing the way magic works but was really speaking about movies. Stuff like, “the audience doesn’t want to know how it’s done, they want the illusion.” That said, I think the audience would have felt cheated if they hadn’t explained how Borden had pulled it off.

Now I’ve got to see it again.