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THE PRESTIGE (2006) *** ½

Wolverine and Batman star as these two magicians living in turn of the century England.  When a trick goes wrong and Wolverine’s wife is killed, he blames Batman and vows vengeance.  Batman meanwhile starts performing on the magic circuit doing a snazzy bullet catching trick.  One day, an extremely pissed off Wolverine shows up with an itchy trigger finger.

 

Batman doesn’t catch the bullet.

 

Batman gets steamed cuz his wife is pregnant with a Batgirl and he can’t very well do magic with only eight fingers.  Even worse is that his loyal butler, Alfred jumps ship and starts helping Wolverine with his magic act. 

 

Good help is so hard to find.

 

So Batman goes around mucking up Wolverine’s tricks, killing birds and breaking people’s fingers.  The Caped Crusader then invents a new trick that stuns the audience called The Transported Man and Wolverine goes Beserker trying to figure out how he does it.  Wolverine seeks out David Bowie to teach him how to do The Transported Man because if you’ve ever seen Bowie levitating crystal balls and walking on walls in Labyrinth, you know he knows his magic. 

 

I won’t reveal how the rest of the flick plays out because you don’t want the magician, or in this case the director, Christopher Nolan to tell you how he does his trick.  The twist ending to The Prestige, like any good magic trick, is right there in front of your face the whole time and if you’re sharp (like me) you’ll see the secret.  Despite the audience knowing how the trick works, a good magician will still marvel you with his showmanship and that’s exactly what Nolan does here.  Although I figured out Bale’s secret about halfway through the movie, I was still thoroughly entertained thanks largely to how Nolan unraveled his tale.  

 

Both Batman and Wolverine’s performances helped tremendously and for my money any time you can get David Bowie in front of the camera, it’s okay by me.  The film is far from perfect (the “Turn”, or middle section of the film is especially draggy), but honestly, how can you pass up seeing Batman and Wolverine playing dueling magicians during the turn of the century?

 

Bowie gets the best line of the movie:  “Exact science is not an exact science!”  

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