Occasionally there comes along a film that is so great it makes you say a cuss word and choke on your bourbon. And even more remotely, there comes one that makes you rearrange and alter your top-five favorites list. Well, friends and enemies, this here is one of those.
This film came out around the same time The Illusionist arrived on scene. Just like Deep Impact and Armageddon, The Matrix and The Thirteenth Floor, and Little House On The Prairie: The Movie and James Bond in Casino Royale. Like movies always seem to hit the scene at the same time. Like they both thought of it at the same time and one of them didn’t copy the other’s idea. (Like Leeanne Rimes suddenly deciding she needed to sing How Do I Live Without You shortly after the superior Trisha Yearwood had already sung it. And sang it well. And there’s your introduction.
Back to the point, it differs slightly from The Illusionist in that it has different actors, a different storyline, different plot elements and a different title. This was a wholly remarkable movie with an excellent storyline and great characters. The acting was superb and the props and set design were great. How much more can I say without telling you a single thing?
No, but seriously, Christian Bale and Huge Ackman are rival magicians, always trying to one-up each other with a better show closer. Without revealing the hook, just suffice it to say that the twist at the end is not so much a twist, but rather a Prestige in its own right, revealing a hideous reality that is both unpredictable and frightening. I was pretty happy with the way it turned out, and found myself nodding as I watched it unfold at the end. Sickening and chill-invoking, but refreshing compared to most Hollywood drama, this one is definitely worth watching.
Some distractions for me are Christian Bale’s and Michael Cane’s British accents. They’re pretty awesome, but at some points it was a little difficult to understand what they were saying. Scarlett Johansson plays a pretty good stage hand, but doesn’t get naked, so she caused no real distractions. This is a good thing, you see. I only like seeing nudity when it’s completely appropriate, and the movie is a dump anyway. Like most Heather Graham flicks.
David Bowie makes a moderately brief appearance in the picture, playing the part of Nicola Tesla. This is only mildly bemusing to me. I don’t particularly care for portrayals of actual historical figures unless I’m watching a period piece or a documentary. If there’s a cameo by Ludwig Van Beethoven, for instance, he had better be playing the piano. Know what I mean? It’s hard for me to latch onto the great name of Tesla and have them say he built this magical, evil machine. I know, it’s only a slight annoyance, but it’s sort of like having Al Einstein in your movie and having him design a time machine or something. If he didn’t really do that in real life…
Bottom line though, this was my second viewing of the film, and it really held up. I’m gonna give this one four-and-a-half stars, two thumbs up and a big Spacey seal of approval. If you haven’t seen it, and have a few hours to be completely engulfed in entertainment, check it out. You won’t regret it.