The magician endorses it to be split into three acts, but Nolan whispers, one and it is monstrously beautiful.
Prestige is probably the most shrewdest adaptation that nothing but serves the “wow” factor on our face, it feels plastered. Adapted from Christopher Priest’s novel of the same name, by the Nolan brothers, this remains about a magic in that very sense. That you are hooked and wowed at the end of the show, till it’s big reveal. The film is about a two friends-turned-rival magicians who loses themselves and their loved ones in order to prove the superiority over each other.
And the film walks for that unsaid scoreboard mentality for the most part of the film. Grabbing points by excelling or cheating, this mano-y-mano aspect of the storyline deteriorates very quickly when bigger themes like art, science, philosophy and ethics dive in. The clash between art and science is what fascinated me the most, especially after the film started accounting in, the infamous feud between Tesla and Edison.
Often in a film that deals with parallel characters going awry and coming home, the film cheapens its content in latter stages by manipulating the audience emotionally. But the film dodges this bullet by wisely never revealing the hand that helps us in surviving this film. Empathy is never installed forcibly and even when for a brief period in its last act, you feel the film going soft on the characters, it actually turns the tables by revealing information that is always said to be hidden and not reversing the roles of any elements. This underrated genius often goes unmentioned, but it requires a closer and a second look. Nolan’s film’s malleability has been arctic over the ages. Not stiff, nor cold, but moody. To a degree that you will bow down to its celebratory behavior and PG-13 language. Something you don’t see nowadays.