Thursday, April 12, 2007

Bale vs. Jackman vs. Is Scarlett doing that thing again?

The Prestige did not disappoint.

I can't say it's one of my favorite movies-- even though I want to.

The fact of the matter is, it was quite engaging and watchable throughout, but not totally compelling. For 130m, I'm fairly certain a few chunks could have been cut out.

Without giving a total spoiler, it has the absolutely most compelling third act since The Sixth Sense-- better, in fact, because while the Sixth Sense gave you the clues and bits (if you knew to look for them)-- in The Prestige- the film actually trains you to look for deception, swaps, sleights of hand. And though it's possible to guess the ending, it is this very possibility that you can figure it out-- that ties the film together, as well as proves the film's points on deception and secrets that are more overtly made in the dialogue and scenes.

I can't help but have a flashback to Batman Begins-- with Michael Caine, Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale working on the same films. In particular, when Bale is brought into jail at the beginning of the film and Jackman scales a snowy secluded mountain (for the secret that presumably lies at its top), even the look of it can't help but be nostalgic of Bruce Wayne in a Chinese prison, then scaling the mountaintop.

When I think about the film version of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, I always think disappointment-- disappointment because the book does something very clever and crafty in how it propels its readers through the final bits of plot, while throwing them through a crazy and shifty time-warp that actually makes the original story that much more engaging. As much as I enjoyed the third Harry Potter film, the time-shifting sequence that brought so much thrill in the book became more of a chore to be finished with in the film.

Nolan's work on The Prestige, though admittedly-- I have not read the book, most likely captures the shifts of time and revelation far better than the adaptation of the Prisoner of Azkaban. The diary sequences, as well as the final pages, demonstrate Nolan's ability to weave a story from multiple points, string the audience along so that they might guess the ending, and yet still "wow them in the end," as Brian Cox's character from Adaptation would be apt to say.

Also, I have come to the conclusion that the majority of Scarlett Johanssen's film roles define the term strumpet.

PS- 2:06AM update: SPOILER ALERT!!!!

After finishing the movie think about the birds. I just realized this as I was ironing my shirt just now