Nolan, who wrote the screenplay with his brother Jonathan, from a novel by acclaimed British writer Christopher Priest, obviously knows his way around sleight-of-hand and tricky plot twists. But The Prestige is heavy-handed to a fault, lugubriously laying out its complicated plot and loading it up with flashbacks, secondary storylines and even some social commentary, personified by the appearance of famed inventor/engineer Nikola Tesla (an adequate David Bowie), who had his own skirmishes with an envious Thomas Edison.
Admittedly, Bale as the conflicted Borden is superb, and Michael Caine is fine as Cutter, an older magician who is privy to both men's secrets. But their compelling performances only highlight the movie's general weaknesses, from Jackman's dull take on Angier to the waste of Scarlett Johansson, in a thin part as a woman who becomes entangled with the rival magicians, to the manipulative feeling that Nolan's direction engenders. The film's final, “shocking” revelation isn't half as imaginative as any part of
was. It's also a cheat, contradicting too much of what has gone on before. As magic tricks go, there is much less here than meets the eye.
Distributor: Buena Vista
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Rebecca Hall, Scarlett Johansson and David Bowie
Director: Christopher Nolan
Screenwriters: Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan
Producers: Emma Thomas, Aaron Ryder and Christopher Nolan
Genre: Fantasy drama
Rating: PG-13 for violence and disturbing images
Running time: 130 min.
Release Date: October 20