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"The Prestige" Blu-Ray Review

Made in between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan's 2007 film about dueling Victorian-era magicians, The Prestige, seems to be mostly forgotten despite it starring Batman, Wolverine, Black Widow, Alfred and Ziggy Stardust. Perhaps it was because the title didn't convey what it was about unlike The Illusionist, which came out a year earlier and is also similarly sorta forgotten despite being a good film itself.

Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale are up-and-coming magicians and friends who are torn apart when a stage accident kills Jackman's wife setting off an escalating series of tit-for-tat attacks that lead to more death and misery for the participants. Bale's act features an illusion called The Transported Man which obsesses Jackman as to how it's done and when Bale thwarts his version, he heads to Colorado Springs where Nikola Tesla (David Bowie with one of cinema's greatest entrances) is making scientific magic and makes the apparatus for Jackman with the cryptic admonition about whether he's considered the cost of the thing. Jackman thinks he's referring to the price tag; he isn't.

I'd forgotten how out-of-hand things got in their war in the years since first seeing it. It's also a profoundly different experience watching it a second time as you realize that from the very first frames the Nolans (Christopher and his co-writing brother Jonathan, whose Person of Interest is a really cool TV show) are foreshadowing everything. Just as The Sixth Sense and The Usual Suspects read differently upon their second viewing, so it is with The Prestige and that extends beyond the big reveal at the very end. It can get a little too cute with the flashback structure revolving around encoded diaries, but overall The Prestige earns its applause.

The Blu-ray's image is nice and sharp, but there are very few extras - just 20 minutes of light behind-the-scenes discussion of the themes. There's no commentary. For some reason you can't stop the disc from the menu screen. I had to punch into a scene to be able to stop. Weird.

Score: 8.5/10. Buy it.


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