Skip to main content

Movies you don't have to see - The Prestige

Super short review: Well acted, tired plot, too cute for it's own good.

Short review: The Prestige is one of those movies that starts with a premise (voiced over by one of the characters) and then proceeds to build the structure of the movie on that premise. The premise of The Prestige is that there's three parts to a magic trick: the pledge (where the performer sells the trick), the turn (where the performer makes the ordinary extraordinary, and the prestige (the payoff).

It sort of works, but the disjointed timing of the flashbacks and staccato movement of the action is jarring. Many people have commented on the similarities to the director's (Christopher Nolan) previous work, Momento. The Prestige has that feel, although not nearly as jarring. In that vein, however, The Prestige falls down. Where Momento jumped around in order to draw you into the point of view of the main character, The Prestige manages to confuse and dare you to figure out the When of what you just saw. For Nolan, disjointed timelines are starting to feel like a fall-back position.

That said, the movie is visually stunning, building a sense of presence from the sets themselves. The acting is very good, perhaps superb considering the stiffness of the leads previous roles (Michael Caine aside). Christian Bale and Michael Caine are both excellent and the casting of David Bowie as Nichola Tesla was a wonderful surprise. Scarlett Johansson as always, played herself, only this time she had to wear older clothes.

In the end, you're left wondering exactly what happened. The movie tried far too hard to be a magic trick, working to whip aside the cloth and reveal the end of the illusion. But the "ta da" moment never really hits you and you're left wanting. While the film waits for the applause after the prestige, all I could muster was courtesy clapping for technical execution and acting, but not so much for the experience.

3.5/5 stars (liked it, won't buy)

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

RIP Tom Petty

Tom Petty died today, aged 66. I won't claim to be a huge Tom Petty fan, but I've bought an album or two and sang along in the car to one of those songs everyone knows. I'll  stream a lot of his catalog today to remember the songs I've heard once or hundreds of times.

I also owe Petty credit for a singular moment in my life, and one I never expected to last in my mind.

Nearly 20 years ago, I was a fresh-ish faced transplant to Ann Arbor, MI by way of my first "real job" out of college, working for a software company in Dexter. I was renting a house with some other folks who'd also been displaced as a result of a fire at my first apartment. I was the only family member East of Lansing, which made me a contact point for anyone going through Detroit Metro airport.

Which is how my uncle Dean came to spend a few hours with me one evening. At the time, my grandparents (his parents) were wintering in Texas. My grandfather had health problems most of his life and…

Google Inbox: A classic Google product

My work domain (an EDU) recently had Google Inbox enabled so I had a good chance to try it out. My personal email is relatively quiet and, I believe, doesn't provide a good Inbox experience. Work is more active and requires actual management, something I've tossed many a tool at over the years. As part of my work life, I supported the Google Apps for EDU installation here and took a pretty extensive presentation to campus about how to manage large amounts of email.

Inbox is a classic Google product: the distillation of a number of excellent ideas into a set of half-complete features built for a use case most people don't meet. We've seen this in the past in products like ChromeVox, Google's Chrome extension for accessibility. ChromeVox works great on ChromeOS devices, but completely ignores the point that most users of accessibility tech (AT) don't have or want ChromeOS devices and come to services with their AT in tow. ChromeVox also ignores decades of convent…

Evernote

Evernote, for better or worse, is the best note-taking service for my needs. It works across all my devices/computers/modes. It's fairly easy to get stuff into it. Hell, they even have 2-Factor authentication. The Windows app is a little clunky and my girlfriend and I have never been able to get shared notes to work properly (conflicted note! three times in the same grocery trip!), but what service is perfect? At least they have nice socks.

Everything, in fact, is pretty good as long as you don't screw up. And screw up I did. I'm not very regular about making backups, but I do make them every month or so. Once you figure out how to create a backup, that is.

There's a helpful Export Note option (which turns into Export Notes when you select multiple notes HINT). The export process is essentially opening All Notes, selecting every note, and then choosing Export Notes. Or something like that; Evernote never tells you, you're left to figure it out on your own. The file…