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The Prestige

A movie with a few tricks of it own
By JUSTINE ELIAS  |  February 20, 2007
3.0 3.0 Stars

Postmodern turns out to have been the wrong word, and world, for the Nolan brothers (director Christopher and screenwriter Jonathan) of Memento fame. In The Prestige, a Victorian-set sci-fi tale of rival magicians in search of the ultimate trick, the Nolans delight in embedded flashbacks, unreliable diaries (purloined, of course), mad scientists (David Bowie, in a deft cameo), and presto-change-o stagecraft. (“Abracadabra!” will never again sound cheesy.) Cast as a proto-Vegas showman, Hugh Jackman would seem to have the meatier role, but it’s Christian Bale, as the brooding illusionist whose art blights the lives of those he loves, who makes a darker, deeper impression. Although the slowish pacing early on over-indicates how both magicians’ marquee misdirection (a disappearing act) will be achieved, The Prestige still manages a neat trick of its own. So what if you twig to the “how” of the deception. That still leaves the lingering horror of how anyone could stand it.

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