English Language - Writing to Entertain - Short Story

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                English Language – Writing to Inform – Movie Review

Not many movies can claim the distinction of having hypnotized their audience; The Prestige is one among those movies, and one look at its director Christopher Nolan’s previous works, unsurprisingly so. From the cult classic following he gained in his debut effort (appropriately) titled Following, to the critically acclaimed restarting of the Batman franchise in Batman Begins, Nolan’s portfolio has no room for failure thus far, and The Prestige is certainly no exception.

Based on the Christopher Priest novel of the same name, the plot revolves around two amateur illusionists, Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale), under the apprenticeship of Cutter (Michael Caine), both of whom are eventually involved in a better and deadly feud; from the get-go of the rivalry, we can expect tables to be turned and gauntlets to be thrown down. The movie opens with Cutter’s narrative, demonstrating the three sections of a magic trick; the trick, the turn and the prestige. The narrative is spoken over scenes of Angier performing a trick with an almost Frankensteinian contraption, while Borden watches in the crowd. After Borden forces his way backstage, a terrible accident occurs, leaving Borden convicted of murder. In his cell, he is given the diary of Angier, and in read it, a flashback occurs to when Angier was reading Borden’s diary. Needless to say, the flashback within flashback mode of the movie can make it hard to follow; but following it is only half the entertainment.

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If you were expecting grandiose landscape views of Victorian London, you would be disappointed; the spotlight in this period piece is not set on the scenery, but on the characters. Though it’s star-studded cast seem to be reminiscent of Nolan’s Insomnia, The Prestige seems to be more of a Victorian remake of Memento, in it’s dizzying convoluted plot, and the manner in which the climax is unveiled. Nolan is one of a select few directors that can effectively manipulate our sympathy from the character and place it directly upon the adversary, or in this case, the audiences sympathy is shifted ...

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