Wednesday, December 2, 2020     Volume: 21, Issue: 39
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Santa Maria Sun / Film

This weeks review
BEST WISHES, WARMEST REGARDS: A SCHITT’S CREEK FAREWELL
BINGABLE: ABANDONED (2016)
BINGEABLE: Barry
BINGEABLE: CASA DE LAS FLORES
BINGEABLE: FLEABAG
BINGEABLE: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC DOCUMENTARIES
BINGEABLE: OUTLANDER (2014-present)
BINGEABLE: STRANGER THINGS 3
BINGEABLE: THE SINNER (SEASON 2)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: COOL RUNNINGS (1993)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: FISH TANK (2009)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: HOUSE
BLAST FROM THE PAST: OLDBOY
BLAST FROM THE PAST: RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK
BLAST FROM THE PAST: THE MATRIX
BLAST FROM THE PAST: THE PRESTIGE (2006)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: WILD AT HEART (1990)
BLOW THE MAN DOWN
BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM
DA 5 BLOODS
DAVID ATTENBOROUGH: A LIFE ON OUR PLANET
FIRST COW
GREYHOUND
GUILTY PLEASURES: CHEER (2020)
HAPPIEST SEASON
HAVE A GOOD TRIP: ADVENTURES IN PSYCHEDELICS
HE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO
HEARST CASTLE: BUILDING THE DREAM
I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS
LYING AND STEALING
SHUT UP LITTLE MAN! AN AUDIO MISADVENTURE (2011)
THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM
THE OPERATIVE
THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO SEVEN
THE VAST OF NIGHT
TREAD
TV REVIEW: BOSCH
TV REVIEW: COBRA KAI
TV REVIEW: DEFENDING JACOB
TV REVIEW: EVIL
TV REVIEW: FEAR CITY
TV REVIEW: GENERATION KILL (2008)
TV REVIEW: HANNIBAL (2013-2015)
TV REVIEW: HELL ON WHEELS (2011-2016)
TV REVIEW: HOMECOMING
TV REVIEW: I KNOW THIS MUCH IS TRUE
TV REVIEW: I MAY DESTROY YOU
TV REVIEW: I’LL BE GONE IN THE DARK
TV REVIEW: JULIE AND THE PHANTOMS
TV REVIEW: LENOX HILL
TV REVIEW: LITTLE AMERICA
TV REVIEW: LOVECRAFT COUNTRY
TV REVIEW: MRS. AMERICA
TV REVIEW: PANDEMIC: HOW TO PREVENT AN OUTBREAK (2020)
TV REVIEW: RAISED BY WOLVES
TV REVIEW: RAMY
TV REVIEW: RUN
TV REVIEW: SPACE FORCE
TV REVIEW: TABOO
TV REVIEW: THE BOYS
TV REVIEW: THE END OF THE F***ING WORLD
TV REVIEW: THE HAUNTING OF BLY MANOR
TV REVIEW: THE LAST KINGDOM
TV REVIEW: THE MIDNIGHT GOSPEL
TV REVIEW: THE MORNING SHOW
TV REVIEW: THE MOST DANGEROUS ANIMAL OF ALL
TV REVIEW: THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA
TV REVIEW: THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT
TV REVIEW: THE THIRD DAY
TV REVIEW: THE VOW
TV REVIEW: TREADSTONE (2019)
TV REVIEW: TRIAL 4 (2020)
TV REVIEW: UNDONE
TV REVIEW: WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS
TV REVIEW: ZEROZEROZERO
UNDERRATED: BATMAN BEGINS
UNDERRATED: THE BATTERED BASTARDS OF BASEBALL
VINYL NATION

BLAST FROM THE PAST: THE PRESTIGE (2006)

PHOTO BY PHOTO COURTESY OF TOUCHSTONE PICTURES

BLAST FROM THE PAST: THE PRESTIGE (2006)


Where is it playing?: Blu-ray, DVD, Amazon Prime, iTunes

What's it rated?: PG-13

User Rating: 0.00 (0 Votes)

Reading Zac Ezzone’s column on Magic For Humans last week inspired me to keep up the illusionist thread and revisit one of my all-time favorite psychological thrillers, 2006’s The Prestige, aka “Magic For Humans Who Like Christopher Nolan Movies.” Like many of his films, Nolan uses a non-linear story structure—jumping back and forth between the past and present, sometimes indistinguishably and, as I’ve heard from opposing opinions, at the expense of the viewer.

Having seen the film many more times than once, I can’t recall how much of The Prestige’s puzzle I was able to piece together during my first viewing. But what I do remember about seeing it for the first time was being intrigued all the way through, thanks to its increasingly foreboding atmosphere, even if I couldn’t tell what the hell was going on. It demands repeat viewings, and, in my opinion, deserves them.

The plot follows two rival magicians in 1890s London, Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale). Imagine the venomous relationship between Salieri and Mozart in Amadeus, but pitted between two men trying to pull rabbits from their top hats. Surprisingly, said trick isn’t depicted in the film (Nolan trying to avoid cliché tropes, no doubt), and neither do the men try to saw any women in half. Sure, they accidentally drown one during a freak “escape the water tank” mishap, but not a single handsaw in sight.

This horrifying incident serves as the initial spark of hatred between the two men. The film opens with youthful versions of Angier and Borden working as assistants to the same magician. Angier’s wife, Julia (Piper Perabo), worked alongside them and was the woman who tragically died during the tank trick. Convinced that Borden tied too strong of a knot around Julia’s wrists, allegedly preventing her from escaping the tank, Angier becomes obsessed with revenge.

As the two men go their separate ways to pursue becoming magicians themselves, Angier never lets go of his obsession. What unravels is a back-and-forth struggle between the two, as both men strive to either outdo the other or sabotage each other’s tricks entirely. Borden becomes just as bitter toward Angier as the conflict grows more and more hazardous to both men’s lives.

Taut atmosphere and powerful direction aside, what keeps the train moving is Jackman and Bale, who were perfectly cast, as if they were destined to play rival magicians—who wouldn’t want to see Wolverine vs. Batman? There’s also a great analogy between their feud and the historical struggle between competing inventors Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla. Tesla appears in the film as a supporting character, played fantastically by David Bowie. I won’t give away Tesla’s (the man, not the car) involvement with the plot, but I will say that top hats are involved—just no rabbits. (135 min.) 

—Caleb Wiseblood










Weekly Poll
Would a second stay-at-home order be effective at slowing the spread of COVID-19?

No, pandemic fatigue is too high to get people to follow a stay-at-home order.
Yes, we need it, otherwise our hospitals will be in rough shape.
Local governments should get a say—not all purple tier counties are the same.
It would be bad news for the economy.

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