Ask yourself that question when you sit down to watch The Prestige. From acclaimed filmmaker Christopher Nolan (Batman Begins) comes an excellent and exciting thriller built on illusions. In this twisting, turning tale of urgent mystery, two Victorian-era magicians spark a powerful rivalry that builds into an escalating battle of tricks and an unquenchable thirst to uncover the other’s trade secrets. As these two men pit daring against desire, showmanship against science and ambition against friendship, the results are dangerous, deadly and definitely deceptive. But, like I said earlier, “Watch closely.”
One of the two major “magician”-themed movies released in 2006, The Prestige made a sizable chunk of money at the box office in the fall season before performing its’ own disappearing act. While garnering mostly positive reviews, many cited the film’s box office performance as disappointing. Hopefully, all those who missed this great film in theaters will get a chance to discover it for themselves on DVD. Released through Buena Vista Home Entertainment, The Prestige comes to DVD (as well as Blu-Ray) on February 20th. But, is it worth picking up? Well, let’s take a look at the story first, shall we?
It all begins in rapidly changing, turn-of-the-century London. At a time when magicians are idols and celebrities of the highest order, two young magicians set out to carve their own paths to fame. The flashy, sophisticated Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman, of
When their biggest trick goes terribly awry, they become enemies for life, each intent on outdoing and upending the other. Trick by trick, show by show, their ferocious competition builds until it knows no bounds, even utilizing the fantastical new powers of electricity and the scientific brilliance of Nikola Tesla, while the lives of everyone around them hang in the balance. Rife with sleight-of-hand shocks and revelations, the film delves into a riveting world where the farthest, darkest edges of faith, trust and the possible are probed.
The official synopsis above does provide a nice taste of what to expect, thankfully leaving the many twists and turns left for the viewer to discover for themselves. And as the DVD cover states, you’ll want to watch this movie again as soon as it ends. It’s a tricky, sneaky movie that does creep up on you, and then pulls the rug out in the final act. It’s a powerful build up that could only be accomplished under the watchful eye of Christopher Nolan working with some of the best actors in the business. Fresh off their respective super-hero gigs, Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale are pitch-perfect as rival magicians. You’ll be shocked who you find yourself rooting for as the movie gears for the finale. Michael Caine and David Bowie add to the film through their respective roles.
I found what surprised me most about this movie was how emotionally involved I found myself in the characters. While not the perfectly defined characters, I couldn’t help but get emotionally involved in their competition, which I can only assume is exactly what Nolan wanted. It helps that, as the finale grows closer, you start to see their faults more and more until the big act in the finale. The movie definitely plays you, making you see what you want to see, what you think is right, until all the tricks are revealed in the end. It’s superbly done and clever in it’s execution. The film jumps back-and-forth in time, but Nolan is able to masterfully keep the story straightforward and coherent.
Is it a movie worth seeing? Absolutely! But how’s the DVD? Well, once you get past the shiny foil slipcase and inserts, the DVD doesn’t offer that much in terms of extras. Sadly, you’ll find the extra content to be rather thin. Outside of a featurette, which runs nearly twenty minutes, and an extensive art gallery, the disc doesn’t offer anything else for extra content. True, there are trailers for upcoming theatrical and home video releases, but that’s it. This is the kind of film that just begged for an extensive two-disc set with extensive documentaries, deleted scenes, the whole nine yards. I would like to note the very clever menu screens, though, that fit the tone of the movie. The video and audio are top notch throughout the film, the detail being quite incredible on this release.
Overall, the DVD release is definitely worth picking up for fans of the movie. The movie itself looks great and slim the bonus features should please. I would’ve liked to have seen more, though the featurette does cover quite abit of the movie’s production. The art gallery also helps expand the tone of the movie, giving us a look at why certain production choices were made. The movie itself is worth the price of admission. It’s just a great movie to watch and is one of the few movies of 2006 that deserves to be re-watched. However, you might want to rent it before taking the plunge. However, this movie and DVD releases comes Recommended. Check out one of the best movies of 2006!
The Prestige appears on shelves February 20th, 2007.
Originally posted on DVD Discussion forum in February of 2007