Bob and Justin's Mad Movie Blog

My name is Bob. My friend Justin and I are aspiring filmmakers and we have pretty similar tastes in movies. This will include our take on what's going on in film and television today as well as updating you on the status of our own work.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Wolverine vs. Batman!

No no, I'm not talking about a comic book fan boy's dream of a Marvel-DC crossover. I'm talking about the terrific new film from Christopher Nolan starring Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale, "The Prestige." If you've read many of my reviews you know that I often say, "The less you know about the details of this film the better. I want you to be surprised." I don't think that's ever been more true than in regards to "The Prestige."
Set in London in the late 19th century, Nolan's film actually bears little resemblance to Neil Burger's "The Illusionist," despite the shared time period and subject matter. Both are outstanding in their own right, but where Burger's film was at its heart a love story, Nolan's is a tale of bitter revenge between two rivals. The rivals are Rupert Angier (Wolverine) and Alfred Borden (Batman). An incident early in the film sets off the chain of events that drive the two men to destroy what the other holds dear: his rival's act. Jackman and Bale each plunge into their roles completely. I don't believe they've ever been better. Michael Caine is, well he's Michael Caine, he can't not be awesome. The man simply doesn't know how. Scarlett Johansson has a relatively small but pivotal role as Olivia, Angier's assistant. Some may find her part underwritten, but she's there as often as she needs to be for the purpose of the story. Funnily, this is the second time this year (the first being in Woody Allen's enjoyable "Scoop") that Johansson and Jackman have starred together in a film revolving around the world of magic. There is also fine work from David Bowie (yes, THE David Bowie) as Nikola Tesla, and from Andy Serkis (ya know, Gollum and as importantly, Martin Hannett in "24 Hour Party People").
This is only Nolan's fourth feature film, but his track record is as impressive as it is diverse ("Memento," "Insomnia," and "Batman Begins" being his first three). He does an outstanding job here. I don't want to give too much away, but I will say, there is something of a magician in him, both as a director and as co-writer with his brother Jonathan. The pair know how to tell a story.
It's a movie that may leave you puzzled (I'm still trying to figure some things out), but it's a mystery you'll enjoy trying to sort out. Perhaps though, it's as Caine's character suggests, a secret "you don't want to sort out, because you want to be fooled." Enjoy the magic of "The Prestige." 9/10


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