Saturday, August 04, 2007


In my last post I said that I had hated the Christopher Nolan-directed movie The Prestige but that was a story for another day. Today is that day. Like a science fiction monster that takes on the form of what it devours, the film superficially resembles Christopher Priest's novel, but on the inside it's pure Hollywood: the sets, the acting, and above all the dialogue, which is full of confrontations staged to make a point and fake "emotional moments."

That alone would be enough to make me dislike the film, but I have other problems with it as well. They're spoilery, and hence below the fold.

I don't object to the movie's reordering of the plot, though contra Abigail Nussbaum, this doesn't make its story better than the book's, it just makes it a different kind of story. Nor do I object in principle to turning Angier into a murderer, although I wasn't convinced by his transformation as shown in the film. But his being so obsessed with revenge upon Borden that he's willing to not only risk murdering Borden's assistant Fallon -- who as far as Angier knows is entirely innocent -- but kill himself up to one hundred times just to set a trap for Borden? Sorry, but I can't buy that.

In addition, the movie makes a change in the Borden plot which creates two plot holes. In Priest's book, the two Bordens are never seen together, even for a moment. It is this that makes their sharing one life necessary, as Angier deduces: the "out" Borden swaps places with the other Borden each time the trick is performed, and there's no opportunity for them to switch back until the next performance. In the movie the duplicate Borden, disguised as Fallon, is regularly seen with the undisguised Borden. This eliminates any need, except perversity, for them to share "Borden's" life and Sarah's bed. Also, wouldn't someone figure out that Fallon is Borden's double in disguise?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Adam,
I agree that Prestige wasn't a good movie. I haven't read the book, but I knew that the twist was that they were twins. Why? Because it's been done a million times before, most recently on Arrested Development. Also, are you the Adam Stephanides that went to University of Chicago Lab School in the 70s?

10:21 PM  
Blogger Adam said...

Yes, I am.

4:14 PM  

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