Movies: The Prestige
(Note: I normally don't get to watch this many movies, but I am on vacation, and my family consists of mostly incurable cinephiles.)
"The Prestige" opened only a couple months after "The Illusionist," another movie about stage magic. "The Prestige" concerns the rivalry of two magicians and their attempts to one-up each other, which eventually leads down some dark paths. Directed by Chris Nolan of "Memento" and "Batman Begins" fame, it's a better movie than "The Illusionist" in that its central, gagdet-like premise is a bit more inventive, but ironically it shares many of same problems.
The central crime committed here, in my view, is that the ending and the "trick" behind the story is telegraphed to the viewer well in advance, and that even when fully explained, so many plotholes arise when "the trick" is fully extended to its logical limits that the results are jarring to say the least.
In the aggregate, the acting, production, and direction are quite satisfying. Christian Bale gets to use the horrid English accent he developed for "Reign of Fire" once more, and along with Hugh Jackman, 90% of the movie revolves around the two, as it should be. Scarlett Johansson is a nicer bit of eye-candy than Jessica Biel provided in "The Illusionist," but she isn't given much to do here. "The Prestige" makes for a decent rental if you're willing to accept the film's screwy internal logic - Nolan claims it's a genreless film, but to me, it was basically 19th-century science fiction.