Haven’t been to the cinema for a while, so I gave into the urge and went to see The Prestige, mainly because it’s based on a book by Christopher Priest, a writer I’ve always thought I’d like but haven’t got round to reading yet. (His The Glamour is on my to-read shelf.)
I’d heard a bit of criticism about the film of The Prestige — about David Bowie’s accent in his role as Nikola Tesla (or Nikolas, according to the IMDB), and about the twist at the end — so was prepared not to be bowled over, but actually I think this is an excellent film.
David Bowie’s accent aside — I wouldn’t say it’s as execrable as Mark Kermode seems to think it is — I think the main thing to bear in mind if you’re tempted to go and see this film (and I’d recommend it) is that you shouldn’t think of it as a twist-at-the-end tale. The thing that sets it apart from a film like, say, M Night Shyamalan’s Signs, which was nothing but a twist-at-the-end story, meaning that when the twist occurred you (or at least I) felt you’d just been mildly distracted for the last hour and half but nothing more, The Prestige‘s end of the film revelations add a whole new layer of emotional meaning to what went before. Obviously I’m not going to say what happens at the end, but even if you guess it before it happens (as I, slowly, did), it only adds to what is, anyway, an incredible tale about obsession, rivalry, and the destructive dedication to one’s art above all things.