Friday, 5 February 2016

The Prestige revisited: Impact of a reddit thread

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I have just seen it again, analyzing it frame by frame, trying to come up with some semblance of objectivity as to what really happened in it. The notorious director that Christopher Nolan is, has less to do with his clever plot lines that sometimes leave the audiences amazed and more with the subjectivity of what he shows on the screen and what really seems to have happened behind those frames.

The Prestige, starring Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman, is about two nineteenth century magicians who try to out do each other, one with his talent and the other with his showmanship. Soon they become so obsessed with each other that they let themselves as well as their loved ones get consumed in this battle to glory. But to tell you the plot is just scratching the surface of the numerous things that this film has to offer to you.

In your first watch, although appealing to you as a true cinematic masterpiece, The Prestige will leave you satisfied. And being satisfied is not a good term to use when it comes to Nolan movies. But when you start to dig within the structure, within those clumsy plot points and thick altered memories of the protagonists is when you realize or either doubt that something entirely different from what you have just seen is going around in the movie. The very same happened with me too.

Prior to my current viewing, I had seen The Prestige a good 5 times. It gives you immense satisfaction by creating an aura of mystery and drama and suspense around you. You long to know about the great trick of 'The Professor' (Bale) "the one that is going to make him famous" and which eventually does. You think that you would know about it by the end of the movie. But the film tells you that you wouldn't like the secret, "The secret impresses no one". What can you do now? Well, for once you move to 'The Great Danton' (Jackman) and you feel that he has no secret. If you are a person of moral inclinations, you will probably begin to hate him. I know I did.

I did until something tremendous happened. For those people who have been living under the rock all these years, having not seen it yet, 

SERIOUS SPOILERS ahead- ( DO NOT READ THE TEXT IN RED)

I was simply browsing through some fan threads so as to answer one or two 'minor plot doubts' I had in regard to the movie. And that's when I came across this reddit thread. This thread seemed to be working upon those doubts I had furnished and by the time I was done reading the entire thread, my whole idea of the movie had got challenged. Immediately, I thought of revisiting it and voila, I feel like I have seen another movie. The alternate theory, or possibly the entire actual theory, notwithstanding what the book says comprises of this-

  • Tesla's machine never worked. He had been fooling Angier into pumping money in his experiments by first giving him false promises that he could make the machine and then tricking him into believing that it did work.
  • Angier, having retuned after two years with an actual machine made by Tesla (which did not work), came up with an elaborate plan regarding the machine, surrounded it with an aura of intense mystery, showing that it was 'real magic'.
  • He re-hired his double, got him to perform the acts that he did and appear in the prestige. Only this time, he supposedly had better access to his family fortunes so he could convince him to do a better job at that.
  • On the final performance, or maybe towards those few days,  he got his double to play the pledge and told him that he would be the prestige. This he does because he knew Alfred was trying to uncover his secret.
  • That day, knowing that Alfred would go backstage, he got the tank put there, with replaced locks, and let his double drown.
  • Alfred was in for his murder and Angier was out as Lord Caldlow. He would keep his magic trick that was 'far better than Angier's original' safe with him till his death.
  • When the final reveal comes, he does not leave his character nor does he reveal his secret. Thus, he stays the bigger, better magician in Alfred's eyes.


As good as this one is, it is just a theory and if you ask Nolan for clarification, he would probably say 'Why Not' chucking at the idea of how good a director he really is.

As for others, who didn't/did read the spoiler reds having not seen the movie, go watch it and come back here. This post would be waiting for you.



Bandwidth verdict- We are looking for the secret, but we wouldn't find it. Because we want to be fooled.

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

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