An Underrated Chris Nolan Masterpiece
The Prestige, among Nolan's less well known films, is ironically one of his greatest masterpieces.
Christopher Nolan, one of the greatest directors in cinematic history, is recognized for his more well-known pictures, including The Dark Knight, Inception, Memento, and more. However, one of his less notable works, one of the most underrated films ever, is the masterpiece that is The Prestige.
A Story Of Magic
The story is about Alfred Border (Christian Bale) and Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman), two magicians who perform together. They are friends/partners until, during a show, one of them fatally messes up a trick, killing an assistant. They split apart and slowly become bitter enemies as they start their own separate magic shows. The rest of the film is simply a contest among the two wizards to see who can perform the ultimate magic trick. While this plot seems boring as far as Nolan movies go, the story's added twists and turns, coupled with phenomenal acting, take this film to a different level.
All cast members were spot on with their performances, particularly the two leads. Bale, one of the most versatile actors ever, delivers a fantastic performance, as expected. How he can alter his attitude and mannerisms across scenes is just unbelievable. But it's Hugh Jackman who genuinely impresses with the pure emotion he displays throughout the film, ranging from raw anger to immense sorrow. Nolan cast the two perfect leads for their respective characters as they perfectly complement each other. However, it wouldn't be right not to mention the acting of Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson, Rebecca Hall, and even David Bowie. Each mastered their role's contribution to the movie, which without them, would not have been the masterpiece it is.
Despite how great it is, The Prestige is criminally underrated, at least as far as the general public goes. While professional critics greatly appreciate the film, most of the public has never heard of it. While it could have been that the movie wasn't as flashy and loud as other popular films, it may have more to do with the timing of its release. Nolan released Batman Begins in 2005, which was a big success, grossing almost 400 million. The Prestige was released in 2006 and grossed around 100 million, which was relatively low then. This likely meant that audiences were more focused on waiting for Nolan's next installments of the Batman series to give The Prestige the attention it deserved. Sometimes movies can become popular a few years after release, but unfortunately, not in this case. In 2008 and 2010, Nolan released The Dark Knight and Inception, which completely shattered cinematic ceilings and expectations. The Prestige stood no chance of making a comeback against arguably the two most remarkable films of the modern era. And so it remained a hidden gem, sandwiched between Nolan's own films.
Underrated or not, The Prestige is a must-watch movie, especially for those who have enjoyed Nolan's more well-known films. Filled with twists, unpredictability, flashbacks, and more, it may require high focus to understand truly, but in the end, it's all worth the effort. After all, what else can you expect from a Nolan film?
Raving Rating: 8.8