Monday, March 30, 2020     Volume: 21, Issue: 4
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Santa Maria Sun / Film

This weeks review
1917
AD ASTRA
BINGABLE: ABANDONED (2016)
BINGABLE: DON’T F**K WITH CATS: HUNTING AN INTERNET KILLER (2019)
BINGEABLE: Barry
BINGEABLE: CASA DE LAS FLORES
BINGEABLE: FLEABAG
BINGEABLE: GRACE AND FRANKIE
BINGEABLE: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC DOCUMENTARIES
BINGEABLE: OUTLANDER (2014-present)
BINGEABLE: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (1995)
BINGEABLE: RUSSIAN DOLL
BINGEABLE: STRANGER THINGS 3
BINGEABLE: THE PEOPLE V. O.J. SIMPSON: AMERICAN CRIME STORY
BINGEABLE: THE SINNER (SEASON 2)
BIRDS OF PREY (AND THE FANTABULOUS EMANCIPATION OF ONE HARLEY QUINN)
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: ROBOCOP
BLAST FROM THE PAST: THE MATRIX
BLAST FROM THE PAST: THE PRESTIGE (2006)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: WILD AT HEART
BLAST FROM THE PAST: YOU’VE GOT MAIL
BLOODSHOT
DOCTOR SLEEP
DOWNHILL
EMMA
FANTASY ISLAND
FORD V FERRARI
GUILTY PLEASURE: THE HANGOVER
GUILTY PLEASURES: CHEER (2020)
GUILTY PLEASURES: GIRL MEETS WORLD (2014-2017)
HATEWATCH: 92ND ACADEMY AWARDS (2020)
HATEWATCH: NAILED IT!
HATEWATCH: THE WITCHER (2019)
HEARST CASTLE: BUILDING THE DREAM
I STILL BELIEVE
JOJO RABBIT
JOKER
JUST MERCY
KNIVES OUT
LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE
LITTLE WOMEN
MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN
MY HERO ACADEMIA: HEROES RISING
ONCE UPON A TIME … IN HOLLYWOOD
ONWARD
SONIC THE HEDGEHOG
THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN
THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM
THE CALL OF THE WILD
THE GENTLEMEN
THE HUNT
THE INVISIBLE MAN
THE LAST FULL MEASURE
THE LIGHTHOUSE
THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON
THE WAY BACK
UNCUT GEMS
UNDERRATED: BATMAN BEGINS
UNDERRATED: DOUBLE DRAGON (1994)
UNDERRATED: INSOMNIA
UNDERRATED: SHUTTER ISLAND
UNDERRATED: THE BATTERED BASTARDS OF BASEBALL
UNDERRATED: THE FALLING
WESTWORLD (Season 3 debut)
YESTERDAY
ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP

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








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Catching up on movies and books I've been wanting to read or watch.
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