In 1995, British author Christopher Priest published a novel titled, “The Prestige.” It follows the story of two rival magicians competing against each other to see who makes the best magic trick. After seeing Christopher “Chris” Nolan’s groundbreaking mystery thriller “Memento,” Priest offered him a copy of The Prestige. Now-defunct production company Newmarket Films bought the film rights to adapt Priest’s book. The project was put on old due to Chris making his third film “Insomnia.” After the aforementioned film came out, Chris and his brother Jonathan or “Jonah” for short, did their homework re-reading the book, brainstorming what plot elements should be retained in cinematic format and telling the story in a non-linear (out of order) structure like they did in Memento.
In 2003, Warner Bros. hired Chris to develop “Batman Begins.” He signed on putting The Prestige on hold. Two Years Later, the reboot was released allowing Chris to resume progress with Jonah putting the final touches of the script. The duo were financed by WB and Disney’s subsidiary Touchstone Pictures as co-distributors. Then they casted Hugh Jackman & Christian Bale as the two main leads along with their good luck charm Michael Caine. After a year of filmmaking, the film was released worldwide.
The Prestige was officially released in 2006. (same year 300 came out) It received positive reviews from critics and movie goers alike. In addition to praise, the film made enough revenue at the box office. As a huge fan of my idol’s work, The Prestige is my favorite period film. Christopher Nolan’s next film is “Oppenheimer.” Cillian Murphy will portray the titular scientist. It’ll be out on July 21st, 2023 Two days before my 30th birthday. Jonathan Nolan & his wife Lisa Joy are currently developing a television adaptation of the “Fallout” video game series on Amazon Prime. As of August 2022, no release date has been confirmed. Before The Nolan Brothers’ upcoming projects are released, I wanna share my thoughts on The Prestige.
Today’s review contains no crucial SPOILERS. Feel free to read my non-spoiler article.
Believable & Unbelievable Aspects
Believable: Hugh Jackman & Christian Bale both did an excellent job for their respective performances.
Other Cast Members such as Mr. Nolan’s good luck charm Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson, Rebecca Hall, Andy Serkis, Piper Perabo & the late David Bowie all did a decent job for their respective performances.
Christopher “Chris” Nolan did an awesome job directing the film. He and his brother Jonathan “Jonah”for short, properly adapted Priest’s novel.
Fun Fact: Chris personally offered Mr. Bowie the role of Nikola Tesla. Because he’s a big fan of the late legend’s work. Chris stated working with David is the biggest accomplishment of his career.
Chris’ wife Emma Thomas produced the film.
Chris’ fellow collaborator Wally Pfister shot the film, yet he did a solid job making sure the camera remained steady.
Practical Effects were heavily involved to bring magic tricks to life. While Computer Animation was used sparingly.
Set Pieces and Costume Designs were manually built to reflect the late 19th Century.
Real Life magician, Ricky Jay consulted with the cast & crew on how to make a magic trick. He also appears as the stage manager.
The film is primarily influenced by Stanley Kubrick’s underrated masterpiece “Barry Lyndon.”
Pacing never felt slow or fast. I was intrigued from start to finish.
The Prestige isn’t the only magician themed film. Does “The Illusionist” with Edward Norton ring any bells?
Like most of Chris’ work, the story is told in non-linear (out of order) format. Other non-linear films including “Babel,” “The Fountain” “Flags of Our Fathers” & The Good Shepard.” Also came out in 2006. Hugh also worked with Chris’ rival Darren Aronofsky in The Fountain.
Primary Themes are Loss, Obsession, Jealousy, Ambition & Rivalry. Each one is handled maturely.
A Plot Twist is revealed. Much better than M. Night Shyamalan’s weak twist from “Lady in the Water.”
Upon rewatching, there’s subtle hints of foreshadowing.
Unbelievable: I couldn’t find nothing wrong. I’m giving Chris and his crew an Extra Point for making a flawless film as possible.
The Final Verdict: A, FOR APEX!
The Prestige is a timeless classic and my all-time favorite period film. Some of the positive things listed, indicates why this flick is one of Christopher Nolan’s best works. If you’re psyched to see Oppenheimer, I strongly recommend Mr. Nolan’s timeless period film. I think The Prestige should be included in The Criterion Collection.