October 23rd, 2006

Lermontov

Watching Closely

On Saturday, I planned on driving up to Los Angeles to see Tideland, which is the closest place it's playing, and even there it's only playing at one cinema. But I decided I really didn't feel like driving around L.A., which always stresses me out. I still might face the gauntlet at some point, though, because I want to see that movie very, very badly. That's despite the many bad reviews I've read for it. In fact, the bad reviews only make me want to see it more.

Instead, though, I went on Saturday to see The Prestige, which was mostly an absolutely brilliant film. Fine directing, acting, costumes, set design, and writing--gods, the writing was so much better than Batman Begins--all added together for a great movie.

Christopher Nolan oughta be chained to his brother and never let David Goyer take his place ever, ever again.

Anyway, I won't talk much about specific plot details as there is a surprise ending of sorts. Though I guess the one problem I had with the film is that I was able to figure out the surprise ending halfway through. Not a problem in itself, except that I couldn't believe that none of the characters in the movie would've realised it too. Which is too bad, because otherwise the characters are very intelligently drawn.

Fortunately, the movie isn't dependent on something so trite as a twist ending. Memento, a previous film of the Nolan brothers', was criticised for a structure gimmick that supposedly made second viewings inferior, and The Prestige might garner a similar criticism. I have to say I don't agree in either case. I watched Memento again a few weeks ago and I must say I believe it's still the best film noir of the past decade.

And The Prestige is a great story about obsession, the value of illusion, and art.
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