"Exact science isn't an exact science," David Bowie's character Tesla says in The Prestige. Neither, it seems, is digital cable because while I'm not supposed to be able to watch Encore OnDemand movies, I was allowed to view this awesome movie this week. And were it not 9 a.m. (and me not having gone to sleep yet), I would have watched it twice in a row. That's how good it was.
Christopher Nolan of Memento and Batman Begins fame directs, and The Prestige looks the business visually. Storywise we have the tale of two rival magicians in late 19th century London. Rivals in that they try to outdo each other in their acts, yes, but also the shooting off fingers and burying friends alive kind of rivals. Nolan, who also co-wrote, nicely pulls us in from the jump with Christian Bale's Borden character reading the journal of rival Hugh Jackman's Angier, who we see writing his journal while reading and translating Borden's.
I figured out a major element about an hour in, but things get twisty, and revelations come out of left field like throws from Andre Dawson, if he played left field. So I started thinking I figured it out too easily and was duped. Nope, I was right, but never comfortable as more madness and reveals roll out.
The Prestige gave me the vibe I was watching an extended issue of Warren Ellis and John Cassday's Planetary, as high praise as I can think of. After watching The Prestige, I wouldn't mind seeing Nolan take on a live action Planetary, actually.
— 5 out of 5 top hats
NOTE: I liked the "exact science" line a little better in 12 Monkeys, when the crazy homeless guy/voice in Bruce Willis' head, summing up the abilities of the "scientists" sending Willis thrugh time, says, "Science isn't an exact science with these clowns." Always cracks me up.