Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writers: Jonathan Nolan (Screenplay), Christopher Nolan (Screenplay), Christopher Priest (Novel)
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Piper Perabo, Rebecca Hall, Scarlett Johansson, Samantha Mahurin, David Bowie, Andy Serkis
I'll be completely honest, the first time I saw Christopher Nolan's The Prestige I was not impressed. In fact I left the theater feeling pretty disappointed. Roger Ebert's review of the film pretty much summed up how I felt about it on my first viewing. However, even though it hadn't overly impressed me I still could not stop thinking about it.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized what Christopher Nolan was trying to do with the film and the more I began to believe it was actually a pretty good film. Of course, this made me want to see the movie again but I kept putting it off, afraid that it might disappoint me again. However, I recently decided to read the book and that led me to watching the movie one more time.
This will be less of a review of the film and more of a discussion of what caused me to change to change my mind on how I felt about the film. Because of the nature of my original disappointment with the film, this discussion will involve some pretty big spoilers. If you haven't seen the movie do not read on past the jump.
That being said, for some reason I could not get the movie out of my head. The sci-fi element had really taken me for a loop but I couldn't stop thinking about it. I started to think about why the sci-fi element was a part of the story and what Nolan was trying to say about these two men by using it. Because of my original disappointment with the film, it took me some time to actually get it. The film was not just about the rivalry between these two men but about the obsession that these two men had for being the best at their craft. The film became about just how much these two men were willing to sacrifice for their obsession.
It really took seeing the film a second time for me to really understand just what Nolan was trying to say with the story. I actually found that I enjoyed the story much more the second time around I was able to see how Nolan had expertly woven the sci-fi into the story. It seemed much more natural this time around. This is definitely one of those films that I feel needs to be seen twice to fully enjoy. Like any good magic trick, once you know the secret to the film, it does seem rather obvious. However, seeing how Nolan makes the story unfold once you know the secret is rather amazing.
This, of course, is not the first time a second viewing has changed my opinion of a film. I am quite sure that it will not be the last time either. A lot of things can affect your enjoyment of a film, from your surrounding to your state of mind at the time of seeing it. Then sometimes a second viewing is just necessary to pick up on some aspects you may have missed the first time around.