(Christopher Nolan, 2006)
Reviewed by Dave Lancaster
Summary: Absolutely riveting and brilliantly constructed, Christopher Nolan's The Prestige signalled the genesis of a truly magical filmmaker. A must in 4K UHD Blu-ray.
It's quite hard to review a film like The Prestige as so much of the enjoyment that film has within its depths comes from unraveling the narrative's numerous twists and turns. And while there is a big revelation in the third act, a lot of the magic is inherent within how director Christopher Nolan constructs even the smallest of reveals. He is perhaps the most engaging cinematic confidence trickster since Orson Welles.
Set as the 19th century draws to a fog-drenched and brutal close, The Prestige is a film that slivers within the duplicitous world of magicians. These celebrities were, in an era well before the idea of "going viral" was a thing, among society's most addictive and beguiling trendsetters. Their command over a paying audience was legendary but such power resonated behind the scenes as oneupmanship created rivalries in the profession too. This is the story of one such bitter rivalry.
Christopher Nolan's leading man from his Dark Knight trilogy, Christian Bale, is excellent as one of the magicians whose world begins to implode once a trick goes horribly wrong. Hugh Jackman, in one of his first roles to really show his acting chops, is his opposite while the likes Scarlett Johansson, Andy Serkis, Rebecca Hall, Michael Caine and even David Bowie round out a fantastic ensemble cast.
As the deceptions unravel, each of these skilled performers is given time to shine resulting in a beautiful cinematic tapestry that is both accessible thanks to this high star wattage and also challenging in its own right due to the subtleties inherent in their craft. The Prestige is intelligent, rewarding entertainment that cemented Nolan's reputation as the filmmaker par excellence when it comes to mind-bending narratives, virtuoso filmmaking and a perfectionist's approach to fine art-styled mis-en-scene.
It's a welcome addition on 4K UHD Blu-ray - in fact, it's never looked or sounded better outside of a cinema. The set also includes the film on standard Blu-ray and an additional Blu-ray loaded with extra features including:
- Director's Notebook: The Prestige
- The Cinematic Sleight of Hand of Christopher Nolan / 5 Making-of Featurettes
- The Art of The Prestige
- Production Photos
- Behind-the-Scenes Photos
- Poster Art Galleries
- Theatrical Trailer