The student news site of Davis High School

The Dart

The student news site of Davis High School

The Dart

The student news site of Davis High School

The Dart

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A Cinematic Analysis of The Prestige

A Cinematic Analysis of The Prestige
film that is full of mystery, and it is one of the only films that has left me genuinelyspeechless. It was perfectly casted, including Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale,Scarlett Johansson, and even David Bowie.“The Prestige” dives deep into the concept of obsession, rivalry, and thelengths that people are willing to go to achieve greatness, and even perfection. Itis set in Victorian Era London, and the film follows the intense rivalry betweentwo magicians, Robert Angier and Alfred Borden. They both desire to be the bestand it leads them down a dark and twisted path, full of lies and deceit. Through itsthemes, “The Prestige” takes you on a thrilling journey where reality and illusionare blurred.“The Prestige” is about the pursuit of perfection and the many sacrificespeople are willing to make to be considered perfect. The title is a nod to theclimax of a magic trick, the moment where something that is consideredimpossible becomes possible. However, throughout the film you see that reachingthat moment of prestige comes with a cost that is both personal and moral.The rivalry between Robert Angierand Alfred Borden is extremely important tothe plot. They are both full of jealousy andthe desire and need to be recognized, and itdrives both of them to extremes. This leadsto tragic consequences.The film does not have a linearstructure, meaning the events are shown out of order. This adds to the sense ofmystery and keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat the entire time. The storyunfolds through a series of flashbacks, flash-forwards, and real time scenes.Because of this, the layers of deception and manipulation are slowly revealed tothe viewer, and with each flashback it starts to make more and more sense, whilebecoming even more confusing all at once. This technique works to keep theviewer fully engaged throughout the entire movie. If the viewer looks away foreven a minute, they could miss an important detail that shapes the entire film.

Christopher Nolan does an extraordinary job of putting the viewer into the
film. Instead of just watching it feels like you are actually there, trying to figureout the many mysteries of this story.Deception is a key theme in the film. Both Angier and Borden are willing tosacrifice everything, their relationships, their integrity, and even their own lives,to outdo each other and be seen as the best magician. They take extrememeasures to be “perfect”. Their obsession with winning blinds them to the harmand chaos they are causing. It eventually leads to a cycle of betrayal and revenge.They are both so worried about the pursuit of the prestige that it becomes an all-consuming obsession for both Angier and Borden.Thematically, “The Prestige” explores the idea of duality, both in the termsof the characters’ identities and the nature of reality itself. The film repeatedlyfocuses on the notion that every magic trick has two parts: the pledge, which iswhere the magician shows the audience something mundane and ordinary, andthe turn, which is the moment where the magician turns the ordinary object intosomething extraordinary, or even impossible. This duality is reflected in thecharacters of Angier and Borden as well, who are constantly engaged in andobsessed with a battle of wits and wills. They are both striving to outdo the other,and are completely willing to do whatever it takes to be better.Another important theme in the film is the sense of identity. Both Angierand Borden hide their true selves, which reflects how people often act differentlydepending on who they are around and interacting with. As the film unfolds, youare left to try and put the pieces together to figure out what was real, and whatwas fake.Nolan’s storytelling is full of twists and turns. It keeps viewers on the edge of theirseats. The complexity of the film makes you want to watch it again and again,trying to pick out new details to make sense of it all. Each time you watch it, younotice something new that has the power to completely change the story. Thismakes the film very complex, and it is definitely a film where you cannot afford tomiss even a second of it.In the film, Alfred Borden asks “Are you watching closely?” While this mayseem like its just a line in the movie, it has a much deeper meaning. This is the

moment where the twists of the film start to come together. The viewer has to
watch closely to really understand the true meaning of the film.One of the most compelling aspects of “The Prestige” is its exploration ofthe ethical dilemmas that are part of the pursuit of greatness. As Angier andBorden become increasingly consumed by their rivalry, they are forced to face theconsequences of their actions and the moral issues with all of their choices. Thefilm raises many questions about the nature of sacrifice and the price of success,and it forces viewers to consider the ethical implications of ambition andobsession.Christopher Nolan pays a lot ofattention to every detail in the film.Every single thing that happens inthe film happens for a veryimportant reason. The sets areintricately designed, as well as thedialogue being very well written, and thought out very well. Every element of thefilm, from the music to the cinematography, works together to create a sense ofunease and uncertainty. This mirrors the psychological turmoil and distress thateach other characters experience throughout the film.In conclusion, “The Prestige” is a compelling film that explores manythemes, such as ambition, sacrifice, reality, and illusion. It has compellingcharacters and an intricate plot that offers an interesting outlook on the idea ofobsession, and the consequences that come with it.

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About the Contributor
Savana Abel
Savana Abel, Journalist
My name is Savana, and I'm literally Stan Marsh if he was an 18 year old girl who loves music, wild west cowboys, and film?