Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Prestige

Posted on Thu, Oct 19, 2006 at 4:00 AM

**1/2
The Prestige
Studio: Touchstone/Warner Bros
Rated: PG-13
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Caine, David Bowie, Scarlett Johansson
Director: Christopher Nolan
WorkNameSort: Prestige, The
Our Rating: 2.50
Despite David Bowie providing one of the best movie entrances ever (hint: He plays Nikola Tesla) and the continual twists one expects out of director Christopher Nolan (much less out of a Nolan film about deceit and magic), The Prestige winds up a mediocre muddle. The central conflict, between two rival magicians, is never made interesting enough to provide the film with emotional momentum. The magicians are portrayed so bloodlessly by Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman that one questions whether their 'showmanshipâ?� would have been convincing to even the most gullible Victorian-era audiences. Throw in the vacuous nerd-rack known as Scarlett Johansson as (what else?) an easily manipulable love interest and Michael Caine as (what else?) an elder voice of reason, and you've got a film that's only surprising in how little it surprises. Nolan's big reveal at the climax is a cheap and easy letdown that might have been effective had he managed to make anyone in the audience care for the characters on the screen.

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