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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Revisiting The Prestige

I was just going through my movie collection the other day (needed a break from my frantic exam preparation ;) ) and I chanced upon a disc I'd watched a few years back and thought "Bravo! What a movie".

The movie that I can always re-watch is The Prestige, a tale of obsession. The movie perfectly captures the vibe of turn-of-the-century Victorian England. It all starts well enough with two friendly magicians. Later the death of Angier’s wife seems to establish Borden as the villain. With his pig-headedness and disregard for procedure leading up to her death, the movie swayed me toward mentally rooting for Angier. Thus starts the game of one-upmanship between Borden and Angier. Even the first time when Angier tampers with the gun so that Borden gets shot didn’t sway my loyalties. The journey of each magician from just another guy on stage to big-time performers vying for audiences’ attention was well chronicled in the film. The introduction of Tesla along with his “remotely powered field of light bulbs” experiment brings a smile to my lips every time I see the flick, what with me being in the engineering field and keenly interested in such scientific marvels. The movie even got me thinking about Tesla’s rivalry with Edison, just like Borden vs Angier. All the while Michael Caine’s role as Cutter is one you can’t possible hate.

The terrible price that Angier was willing to pay to usurp Borden’s “Transported Man” was the first thing that really shook my support for the character. Murder for applause, in a way. Besides that, his hatred for Borden goes to the extent of having him framed for murder. The plot revelation towards the end of the movie regarding Fallon and Borden being twins came as a big surprise, though my mind did ask why Borden was so livid that he may lose his assistant, who should by all means have been replaceable. Though possible, who would imagine that men would be this dedicated to their profession. The final act that Angier commits in letting one of the twins hang turned me a full 180 degrees, and I firmly wished for Angier dead (despite the book’s ending). This again is exactly what happens.

I can never ever tire of watching this movie that brought me through a full U-turn from the start of the film to the end.


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