The Prestige

Two stage magicians engage in competitive one-upmanship in an attempt to create the ultimate stage illusion.

To describe a film as “formulaic” would normally be considered a great insult – but I think The Prestige earns it. The film follows its very own formula, established by Michael Caine in the opening moments: act one is “The Pledge”, in which the magician, or film-maker, shows us something ordinary. The Prestige seems, at first, ordinary. An entertainment-industry rivalry-thriller. But, similar to the tricks within its fiction, The Prestige quickly shows us “The Turn”, and ultimately, “The Prestige”. And we’re left, much like a 19th century crowd at a magic show, reeling. Continue reading “The Prestige”

Prisoners

When Keller Dover’s daughter and her friend go missing, he takes matters into his own hands as the police pursue multiple leads and the pressure mounts. But just how far will a desperate father go to protect his family?

Despite that synopsis, Prisoners barely has time to establish its whodunnit foundation before screenwriter Aaron Guzikowski pulls the old bait-and-switch. Any hope of finding the girls is dismissed by one character incredibly early on: “No-one took them. Nothing happened. They’re just gone.” And I breathed a sigh of relief, because Prisoners then became quite unlike its crime/mystery peers. Continue reading “Prisoners”