I thought that this film was great. It became a more than what I was expecting before watching the film. The Prestige understands what it is trying to do and does it in an innovative way. The two men spend the majority of the film being competitive with one another that grows from an obsession to something far greater. Their ambition to be better than one another consumes their lives to the point it affects themselves and the people they care about. The film is greatly executed and I believe it’s intentions were crafted in a clever manner and had a direction that was easy to follow.
What seemed the most interesting to me was how much the film works much like a magicians performance. It has the exposition, the climax, and the resolution. It’s much similar to the three acts as mentioned in the movie. The director shows a scene, then gives the audience something significant, and subverts the expectations. The answer is hidden and you have to discover it in order to piece everything together. This is exactly what the two characters are doing, trying to discover each other’s secrets. One aspect of the movie in which I think was off is the pacing and sequence of events. Although it is not a terrible issue, it should have gone with smoother transitions when moving on from different scenes. I got confused at some portions of the film because I forget which perspective that the scene is going by. The sequence of events is a bit disorganized, but I was capable of understanding the point in which the story is taking place.
Regarding the chapters, the first concept I learned about while reading the textbook is about formal analysis, which examines how a scene or sequence uses elements to convey the story, mood, and meaning (P. 498). One example I will provide is the opening scene, with the multiple hats scattered across the ground. This includes the opening scene with Antier’s trick. It establishes the mood well, giving off this mysterious feeling of uncertainty. Not only this, it also conveys the setting as an old-fashioned, 19th century time frame from on the style of the clothing, the buildings, and the machine itself. The story is layed out instantly, it’s going to discuss what led up to the events in which we see from the beginning. But at first we don’t know if Borden’s actions about killing Antier were intentional or not. As for the meaning, I think it establishes it well. Like a trick, you don’t know what is going to happen next. It’ll either return to something we previously knew all along or something completely different. Like the opening sequence, it sets up the premise of the story but doesn’t give you the answers you are looking for at first. You have to look deeper to understand how it truly ends. The second concept I will discuss regarding this film is about protagonists. A protagonist is “the primary character whose pursuit of a the goal provides the structural foundation of a movie’s story” (p. 502). Although not exactly the most conventional heroes, the two protagonists we have is Robert Angier and Alfred Borden. Both men have a set goal in mind; to outwit each other through illusions. They want nothing more but to figure out each other’s secrets and beat each other in the end. It isn’t until the ending when we figure out the secrets all along, and their goals are met. Angier discovers Borden’s twin brother, while he realizes Antier has duplicates of himself.
In the end, I found this film greatly fascinating and was able to identify the key concepts from the chapter that utilizes and establishes the story’s plot, purpose, and theme. They work well together and the film portrays these concepts in a creative way. The Prestige is a highly enjoyable film with an interesting choice of narrative. It goes beyond an average movie and let’s you think with a more critical mindset. It’s essential to watch with a analytical mind as every little detail has a purpose in getting you towards that ending point. It knows exactly what it wants to be and sticks with it.