The Prestige (2006)

Unpredictable, Captivating and Magical 10/10

 

Two magician’s assistants, Robert (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred (Christian Bale), are performing a show-stopping routine when tragedy strikes and the trick goes wrong.  Robert blames Alfred and the two begin a strong rivalry, constantly sabotaging each other’s shows.  However things take an even darker turn when Alfred develops one of the most impressive tricks ever seen and Robert becomes obsessed with discovering his secret and ruining his competitor once and for all.

 

This film is a true hidden gem.  I had absolutely no idea it existed until I came across it in a TV magazine and decided to give it a shot, and I was hooked right from the very start.  It starts with the ending and then works its way through the story from where it all started, capturing your attention instantly by throwing you straight into the action and mystery.  The story itself is a pure work of art – full of plot twists, some of them so huge and unpredictable you’re left shocked, but never at any point is it confusing or hard to keep up with.  Set in Victorian London the feeling of mystery is increased by the complexity of magic tricks that, at the time, would have been utterly amazing.  I love real magic tricks and films about magic (I don’t just mean Harry Potter) and it had a similar feeling of wonder and illusion about it as Now You See Me (2013) which is another fantastic film if magic is your cup of tea.

 

The casting really supports the brilliant story.  Both Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale are on top form when they’re playing a gritty role and their respective characters in this suit their acting styles perfectly.  I have a real respect for both actor’s work – Jackman is great in The X Men/Wolverine films and Australia, and Bale really shines in American Hustle- and The Prestige has kept them firmly on my list of favourite actors.  Both of their characters have a tough life and they portray it with a real element of sincerity that really puts the icing on the cake of this fantastic film.  Both men are supported by a great cast of supporting actors too, with a host of famous faces such as Michael Caine, Rebecca Hall, Scarlett Johansson and Andy Serkis to name but a few.

 

The Prestige is an amazing hidden gem of a film that is unpredictable, captivating and magical.  Headed up by a terrific cast and a fantastic story, prepare to be entertained, mystified, and shocked, particularly right at the end when you think you’ve got it all worked out. This is one of my new found favourite films and definitely not one to miss out on.

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American Hustle (2013)

“Glamorous With a Top-Class Cast” 10/10

 

I had high hopes for this film having seen the line-up, and I wasn’t disappointed. Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence and Jeremy Renner pull together to create a story that is fast paced, smooth and witty. Each character is so strong and brings something totally different to the film, and the quality of acting was some of the best I’ve seen.

The entire film has a beautiful relaxed 70’s atmosphere which complements the pacy dialogue, and hits the ground running with a flashback opening scene. Atmosphere provides a real escapism here: the sets, costumes, music and dialogue are glamorously old-fashioned and authentic. Straight away the audience is drawn into the world of con artist Irving Rosenfeld (Bale) and his relationship with partner in crime Sydney Prosser (Adams) and the mysterious FBI agent Richard DiMasio (Cooper). The film unfolds slowly and smoothly moves between various hustles and more explosive character interactions. It really is the incredible dimensions that each character has within the story that makes it so enjoyable: the contrasts between Adams and Lawrence, and Bale and Cooper’s roles provides some wonderful moments of comedy, emotion and drama. There’s also a great minor role for Robert De Niro to watch out for.

Slick and glamorous, American Hustle boasts an excellent cast and top-class acting. This pacy and dramatic film is sure to keep you captivated throughout the many plot twists through its engaging characters and beautiful styling.