I couldn't help myself. I just kept saying "wow, what a beautifully crafted film," all the way home, and around my house when I arrived home. I have not been so captured and entertained in a long time. I was especially enamored with the screen writing and how tightly and beautifully the visual metaphors tied in with the writing, and with the impact of the human message about obsession, competition and retribution carried to the extreme.
One can relate to this personal human struggle for victory over another at all costs on a much grander scale, as the two magicians could easily be symbolic of how leaders of countries come to blows with each other, at the expense of their women and children -- something we struggle with right now in our world. There are deeper layers of this film that will be uncovered over time.
Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale and Sir Michael Caine all contributed stunning, emotional performances. Rebecca Hall, who played Sarah to Bale's Alfred Borden, turned in a highly charged performance as well, making Scarlett Johansson's Olivia flat in comparison. And although some people thought the plot line a bit tedious, I found it to be refreshingly complex and engaging, while not being so complex as to lose you. If you can't follow this one, you've been watching television too long. And who cares if the illusions are mundane or scientifically unbelievable? Isn't that what both movies and illusions ask us to do? To suspend disbelief? Meantime, there's a message in its madness. Hello.
The film is visually moody and evocative, easily transporting you into the time period. What more could you ask for? A film is a visual medium and this one is a visual ten. The acting is superb as well as the plot. It keeps you interested; it keeps you guessing right to the shocking but most appropriate end.
It asks you, what is one willing to sacrifice for the "prestige?"
I think this one's an Oscar definite.
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