...engaging and discerning culture, as a way of life...

October 30, 2006

The Prestige - 7

I loved this film. Maybe it is because it was directed by Christopher Nolan (In my opinion he has yet to make a bad film). The film tells you upfront that the plot is going to have three parts, just like a magic trick. (1) The promise, where the magician tells everyone that the world is ordinary and simple. (2) The turn, where the magician shows the audience something out of the ordinary or does something that seems impossible. And finally, (3) the prestige, where the magician sets things back to normal, or makes that which disappeared reappear. If you are one of those moviegoers that must figure out twists in the plot and must know the answer before you are told, you may have fun trying to figure it out (of you may critique it for being manipulative as M. Night Shyamalan has been accused of). But if you hold the film up to “just” that standard, you will miss out on a much deeper truth.
The plot of the film sets up two apprentice magicians (Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman) up against each other as the go there separate ways to make their own shows in London. As they try to out do each other, they guard their secrets, and the competition gets intense and violent. The key to the film is the discussion of the role of magic and illusion. The film cannot help making one reflect on how awe and wonder work when humans think about the fact that reality does not always conform to the way we think it should work. The question you have to ask yourself: Is it part of the human condition to want to be fooled? Once we know the secret, it looses its power; maybe it is better to remain a mystery. Avoid the shallow, and listen closely for the deeper truth.

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