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The Prestige (2006)

so i watched this because i was wiki-hopping. I was looking at the individual actors for the upcoming Avengers movie and when i reached Scarlett Johansson i saw "Christopher Nolan's The Prestige" and decided to click on it to see what it was all about since i'm generally a fan of the Nolan brothers' works. It felt worth watching, so i did.

it took some talking "out loud" (over IM) with my brother to focus what i thought about the film overall, which i'm still not sure about since i've only watched it once and feel like it warrants a repeat viewing, but overall i have to say that i liked it but i didn't love it, which is odd given how so much of the film had everything that i like in a movie. non-linear storytelling, layers of mystery that plant clues that are neither too obvious or too from-nowhere, various layers of storytelling as it relates to the three main themes introduced in the very beginning of the movie, a level of chaos and surprise, &c &c. but despite all of that, the movie was still only just okay.

i think there are two reasons why. One is the driving plot of the film, which was about the obsessive and vengeful rivalry between Bale and Jackman. The rivalry was established very early on in the movie and through the years of their individual lives that were portrayed in the film, that rivalry never evolved or changed even if the methods or the stakes did. 'he ruined my life, i want vengence.' 'i'm the better magician, i'm going to prove it.' this lack of change in the relationship of the two main characters made the plot eventually go stale.

Second, there were times when a more stepped-back version of me could have gotten distracted by the dramitas of the acting. the first time i watched Inception i didn't like it so much because i didn't like how DiCaprio was acting because it looked like he was acting. when i watched it, i thought it was because it was DiCaprio (since i haven't seen him act in anything else), but watching this and reflecting back on the Batman Begins franchise, i could see that maybe this has to do with Nolan's director style.

ultimately the film is still pretty damned good and will get some repeat viewings - in the spectrum of Nolan films, there is still nothing that has held up to the brilliance of Memento. i'm not sure if this fits below or above Inception in my ranking. Instinct is to say that it's better than Inception because it's cleaner, but Inception was also more ambitious and risky and still managed to be very successful which warrants a different kind of merit.

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girfan
Mar. 22nd, 2012 10:55 pm (UTC)
I like all 3 films and have them on DVD.
shazamaramack
Mar. 23rd, 2012 01:57 am (UTC)
Makes me curious where you rank The Dark Knight. As far as ranking Nolan films, I suppose it shouldn't be near the top, since the only thing that made it good was Ledger's performance, which I don't think had a whole lot to do with Nolan.

DiCaprio was great before Titanic. Watch What's Eating Gilbert Grape or Basketball Diaries. Now I don't know what to call him. There are different types of actors:
  • People like Matthew McConaughey who aren't good at acting and don't put any effort in, they just play themselves in every movie which is fine because they're likable.
  • People like Nic Cage who aren't good at acting, but put a lot of effort in so sometimes they nail it and sometimes they don't.
  • People like Brad Pitt who are good at acting, but don't put a lot of effort in and sometimes they're good and sometimes they're rather unremarkable.
  • People like Johnny Depp who are good at acting and put a lot of effort in and I think of as "good actors".
  • Then there's DiCaprio. I think he's good at acting and it seems like he puts a lot of effort in, but I usually don't like the end result.


Edited at 2012-03-23 01:57 am (UTC)
lifeofmendel
Mar. 23rd, 2012 04:55 am (UTC)
the problem with nolan's interpretation of the batman franchise is that he falls short of how great Bruce Timm has interpreted Batmam (and the DC universe in general). no one does batman like Kevin Conroy did in the animated series or the Justice League series. Batman/Owlman's struggle in Crisis on Two Earths and the Batman/Jason Todd story in Under The Red Hood are the best on-screen/television portrayals of batman period, and Batman Beyond was fantastic. Nolan's direction of the franchise is definitely a step up from where it started to go under whatshisname, but still not as good as those. But no one takes those seriously because "they're just cartoons".
shazamaramack
Mar. 23rd, 2012 05:39 am (UTC)
I'll check out some of that stuff. I used to watch the animated series in middle school and I liked it, but that was a very long time ago.
lifeofmendel
Mar. 23rd, 2012 05:46 am (UTC)
under the red hood is amazing, as is crisis on two earths.

wonder woman is good too, as is green lantern: first flight.

The others in the DCAU movies are okay, but not as strong as those.
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