Last night, I stayed up way too late and caught The Prestige on Netflix. It’s a story about two magicians trying to one up the other in the creation of the ultimate stage illusion. It was 2006. The magicians duel in Hollywood was underway. The Prestige vs The Illusionist. I think Woody Allen shoehorned a comedy in their somewhere too. Give Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale props, they carried this movie. Thinking through it, this is not an easy film to pull off. It’s a historical period piece tossed into a blender with two competing love stories, a revenge plotline, a father’s love for his daughter, a machine seemingly constructed two hundred years in the future, and the ultimate illusion (with a plot twist at the end to boot). Even Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla make appearances. Why not? David Bowie really can do it all.
Somehow, all of this worked for me. The movie reminded me of one of my favorite books, Carter Beats the Devil. What a wonderful book. It took the blender approach too. The world’s greatest magic trick. Invention of television. The death of William G. Harding. Chase scenes. Lions. More chase scenes. There is a place in the world for the action packed historical magician genre. Come on Hollywood, make more of these.