Christopher Nolan's Film "The Prestige" Film Review by Nicky

An analysis of the blend of cinematic and theatrical conventions in Christopher Nolan's film "The Prestige".
# 151026 | 1,552 words | 1 source | MLA | 2012 | US
Published on May 18, 2012 in Film (Analysis, Criticism, Etc.)

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The paper looks at how Christopher Nolan's 2007 film, "The Prestige", deploys the tools of magical tools of cinema to destabilize the viewer's sense of reality and security, much like one of its characters, the real-life inventor Nikola Tesla. The paper highlights both the cinematic and theatrical conventions in this film and how they challenge conventional narrative structure and notions of cinematic time.

From the Paper:

"On one hand, The Prestige could be read as a perfect illustration of Kubrick's words. Film can make even events on stage seem fantastic and transcendent of reality. Yet on the other hand, the film is ironically dependent upon the viewer's knowledge of stage conventions, because the nature of the trick it depicts is only fantastical if it actually takes place in real life. Granted, both stage and screen can inspire a conviction in the supernatural: Houdini was said to possess superhuman capabilities by some of his most ardent admirers, even though the master himself always insisted that his works were illusions. Nolan makes use of the techniques of filmmaking and their illusionary capabilities from the first scene of the film to show how magic on stage and cinematic art question our notions of what is real. The first scene is surreal, as the character played by Michael Caine named 'Cutter' speaks directly to his captive audience, breaking the fourth wall. The first shot is of a hill littered with magician's top hats, and then Cutter reveals himself to be an old-time showman and producer of magical equipment, the man behind the magic of these hats, a stereotypical representation of old-fashioned magical art in a film about a trick that may not be magic at all."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • The Prestige. Directed by Christopher Nolan. 2007.

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