I picked up ‘The Prestige’ on Blu-Ray by the great Christopher Nolan in the same offer at HMV that I got ‘An American Werewolf In London’. I’d seen it before but a second viewing was even better for reasons that I shall reveal. Like his recent cerebral blockbuster ‘Inception’ (Such is Nolan’s genius that it’s probably the only film ever released where the words cerebral and blockbuster are both applicable) ‘The Prestige’ is an intricately convoluted puzzle within a locked box in a meandering maze (And that’s its charm). The cast is excellent with Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale as the leads with Michael Caine, Scarlett Johanssen and even David Bowie in the supporting roles.
It’s a film about the bitter and often wantonly sadistic rivalry between two master Illusionists in Victorian London. The clever Nolan angle is that he deliberately constructs the film’s narrative as a magical illusion in itself. Showing you several things you take for face value, tricking you with Miss-direction, employing non-linear storytelling and finally good old grease paint and mirrors so the big reveal is astoundingly clever at the end. So of course my second viewing was about observing the little ways in which Nolan deceives you as a viewer while simultaneously putting all the facts there for you to solve the puzzle… if only you’ve got a Sherlock Holmes level intellect.