Sunday, November 12, 2006

Weekend Views No.11 (are you watching closely?)

It being November, there are actually some quite good mainstream bits of cinema to be enjoyed. Yesterday off to see Christopher Nolan's masterful The Prestige. How was it? Damn, I just said it was masterful didn't I?
Nolan's been on fire since day one, but this time he really seems to have come up with a true follow-up to Memento, his masterpiece of reverse logic and time-bending, synapse-frying cleverness. From the opening shot of a woodland floor littered with black top hats it's gripping, dark, funny and filled with some really good performances.
Dispensing with the already common complaint that Nolan doesn't give women much to do (Rebecca Hall is actually very, very good, while Johansson is kinda wasted) this film belongs to Christian Bale whose pugnacious cockernee magician, Alfred Borden is a tour de force. Mind you, probably more surprising is Hugh Jackman's turn as the swankier rival, Robert Angier. There's more to him than Van Helsing and Wolverine! As for reports that Dame Bowie's portrayal of Tesla is 'weird'?: No, he's precise, amusing, well-timed and obviously really enjoying himself. What's really interesting is how the only representative of 'science' in the film is also the only one who actually gives it its only real magic as opposed to mere illusion.
Actually, the real star of the show is Nolan (and his brother)'s script. Twisting time like a conjuror cutting a lady in two with some of the most bravura flashbacks ever, the surprises are plentiful and never predictable. Up until the last second this is a film that keeps giving. See it.

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