Watch Prestige Magic!

Nic and I rarely watch movies at the cinema unless the movies are really good – good plot, great directing, amazing cinematography and with our favourite actors.
But we caught a movie with a difference two weeks ago. The only cineplex which played The Prestige was GSC Gurney Plaza. None in Bukit Jambul Complex (that’s our regular movie place as it is only 10 minutes down the road from where we live). Prangin Mall was out of the question – that place is maniacal even on weekdays.
It was a two-hour plus movie which started with a dead person. The movie began with Hugh Jackman playing The Great Danton found dead in an eight-foot tank of water. The type of tank where magicians like to be bound and thrown into before they escape being drowned just in the nick of time.
The person who is accused of murdering him is none other than his arch rival, Borden who is also a magician in his own right (perhaps one that is a little more successful!). Thus the movie plays backwards and forwards – zipping between magic tricks, elaborate hoaxes and ‘now you see it, now you don’t’ storytelling.
The directing, I must say, is masterful. It was one of the most well-crafted movies I have seen in a while. Though I was impressed by the Da Vinci Code (the novel), the movie was left wanting.
Now this movie, The Prestige, is like a magic trick nestled within a magic trick. Think Sherlock Holmes-type of movie, beginning with the death of Danton’s wife which is caused by a mistake of Borden when they were both magician apprentices. Add in science, the antithesis of magic, and a complex love-hate relationship and you have The Prestige.
But the movie is more than that. It deals with human psychology and how magicians work their craft. The underlying message is about ultimate self-sacrifice – how far would you go for the sake of your magic? Enough to kill someone? Enough to masquerade for the rest of your life? Enough to send your own brother to the gallows? Enough to travel far to learn what you thought could be learnt for those few moments of thunderous applause from your awestruck audience?
The movie is a splendid storyteller’s dream – it is fast-paced when it needs to be and slow and dark, investigating the more frail of human emotions – love – when it has to. It talks about love in all manner – the love of magic, the love of lovers, and the love of brothers.
But the magic in the movie is something else. You are a spectator and you get amazed too at the elaborateness of the tricks. Magic is a delicious secret never to be revealed for it is beautiful cloaked in mystery but cheap and tawdry when you know how it is done.
I highly recommend this movie. It is definitely one of the best movies I have seen in a while (I watched Jacky Chan’s Rob-B-Hood a few weeks ago but that’s a formulaic and typical Jacky Chan movie. It’s funny and full of action but I’m not that keen on Mr Chan). I won’t spoil the movie for you but I can say it is full of clever intrigue and immensely enjoyable at each turn. You’ll want to know why and the ‘why’ grips you intently. It helps that Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman look very hunkilicious in the movie.
When the movie ends, you’ll have more questions than before. And you’d want to watch it again, if only to catch bits of what you missed because you blinked.
Exactly like a magic trick!
Here’s a bit of magic trivia: Every magic trick has 3 segments – the first is the Pledge, the second is the Turn and the final is the Prestige. It is the climax of the magic trick, one which leaves the audience momentarily stunned before they erupt into magnificient applause. That’s why the movie is called The Prestige.
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