The Magic is Lost
The Prestige
Review by Ross Anthony

For a movie populated by magicians, itís a bit surprising that the magic is lost. With so much clever story up its sleeve to tell, I fear, the filmmakers may have forgotten all about the wonder of magic. Aside from the not-so-watertight box of this crafty tale, there is little else to pull from the hat. Honestly, I found the mood rather miserable.

Iím a fan of Jackman, Bale, and Johansson. But, here they canít find spark. Perhaps thatís because their characters lack heart. In fact, heart is nearly absent from the entire production. Michael Caineís characterís patient wisdom reveals some heart. But, in a darkly shot picture that focuses on the tit-for-tat rivalry between two lost-souled performers that heart virtually vanishes.

From the very first big tragic trick, I cringed. A tied performer drowns in less than 30 seconds of screen time in a locked box of water, while Michael Caine tries desperately to break the glass sides of that box with an axe. This makes no sense. There are two other sharp individuals on stage, but no one opens the top of the box and pulls the woman out. I donít get it. Yet this is the scene that sets up the motivations that drive the entire scheming film. And the question about which knot was used on her arms Ė Iíd much rather have had Jackmanís character simply have an ungrounded suspicion.

Regarding the dialogue in the very last scene Ė where did that come from? ďTo see their faces filled with wonder.Ē Ridiculous. Thereís nothing in the film that supports these last words.

That said, faults aside, the idea of the story is actually pretty cool. And I really like the Tesla stuff. (David Bowie nails that small part). I bet thereís a great deal of depth in the book that never made it to the screen.

This film screened at a Krikorian Theatre.

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  • The Prestige. Copyright © 2006.
  • Starring Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson, David Bowie, Piper Perabo.
  • Directed by Christopher Nolan.
  • Screenplay by Jonathan Nolan. Based on a book by Christopher Priest.
  • Produced by Christopher Nolan, Aaron Ryder, Emma Thomas at Touchstone/NewMarket.

Grade..........................C+ (1/4)

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Copyright © 1998-2019 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

Last Modified: Sunday, 29-Oct-2006 19:19:47 PST