(For SI blog reader Rakeshbaba)
A short while ago, we watched the Christopher ‘Memento‘ Nolan directed film The Prestige (2006).
The movie is alright (well, by Bollywood standards or lack thereof, most Hollywood films would pass muster) but didn’t get us on a high.
With its central theme of intense rivalry, one-upmanship and revenge between two magicians (played by Hugh Jackman and Christian ‘Batman’ Bale), The Prestige is set for the most part in late 19th century London with a short interlude in America.
The story is reasonably interesting, the photography impressive and there’s even a nice twist at the end.
Sure, the principals Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale were alright. But we didn’t think either of them set the stage on fire.
We doubt Christian Bale has it in him to ever do that. Give him a fancy motorbike or a jazzy, low-slung car (like the ones Batman whooshes in) and he’ll dazzle the hell out of you. But he’s too stiff in roles that demand passion.
A combination of Robert Downey Jr and the late Heath Ledger would have probably made a big difference and given the movie a badly-needed shot of adrenaline. No harm in dreaming, right.
Scarlett Johansson was fine but we were more impressed with Rebecca Hall, Michael Caine and David Bowie, who play their parts notably.
Given the novel theme, one would have expected high drama. Alas, that’s what is missing here.
Instead of a fast gallop, the movie merely proceeds at a steady trot.
Also, the dialogs never had the zing and the verbal jousting that one expects from a confrontation between two highly ambitious performers on stage.
By the way, the screenplay is by the Nolan brothers Christopher and Jonathan based on the novel by Christopher Priest.
We can’t think of even a single ‘wow’ moment in the movie.
While the rivalry is supposed to be intense between these two magicians, the bitterness seldom comes to the fore in stark, vivid detail.
All in all, this is a movie worth watching but just don’t expect the cast or the director to pull a rabbit out of the hat, figuratively speaking.
That ain’t gonna happen.