SilentDawn’s review published on Letterboxd:
Part one of Preparing (As much as Humanly Possible) For Interstellar
Ah, The Prestige. Such a magic trick, such a brilliant concept, such beautiful execution, such rich cinematography, such immaculate performances; the entire film is an example of Christopher Nolan as a magician. As a storyteller. As a master of the medium. And as one of the finest directors of the modern generation.
It might be my favorite of Nolan's work, and while that might change as I work through his filmography in anticipation for Interstellar, one fact that will never change is that The Prestige is incredible. Masterfully combining fantastical, dramatic, and surrealistic touches; Christopher Nolan weaves this biting little tale with such operatic grandeur that you want to applaud at the end. Simultaneously a film about feuding magicians and the ever-lasting curiosity with illusion, The Prestige also comments on the consequences of obsession and the advantages of power.
With so many themes and pieces, both big and small, flowing throughout the film, It's truly an achievement that Nolan keeps every aspect of both narrative and spectacle in check. Whether juggling the performances, the flow of the story, the editing, or the correct placement of important details; Mr. Nolan pulls it off without even breaking a sweat.
Both Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale bring confident and mesmerizing performances, handling every moment of drama and relishing every twist and turn. Scarlett Johansson also brings, while small, a beautifully understated and layered role as an assistant to the magicians.
Wally Pfister's cinematography is indelible, focused and ravishing as always. The inky blacks, the bright hues of golden yellow and ocean blue, the dark reds of the Victorian era; his work here is some of the best that he's ever done. Also, go back to being a DP Wally. Quite frankly, your directing job didn't work out so well.
Christopher Nolan's direction, while more subtle and intimate than some of his later works, is absolutely incredible. I love his camera moves, especially in the moments involving magic acts. The camera has an otherworldly flow to it all, highlighting the fantastical and sensational feelings oozing from the screen.
Overall, The Prestige is something to behold. Every moment, whether major or minor, builds up to a film of passionate tension and blistering emotion. If you love movies, and if you love Nolan, this is absolutely essential.