I don’t know if this makes me biased but my husband and I really like the movie, The Prestige. I have been thinking that I should read this book for a while but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read a book where I already know the big twist in the end. I decided to read it, or listen to it rather, because reviewers on audible highly recommend the book, because the narrator is Simon Vance (an accomplished narrator who has also done The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series among many others), and because I could review it and the movie for this blog. I am so glad that I did decide to read it because I loved the book and, surprisingly, listening to the book made me love the movie even more.
There are a lot of revelations and twists found in this story so it is difficult to fully discuss the story without spoiling it for those who have not experienced it yet. The story is about two rival magicians Robert Angiers and Alfred Borden. The reason for the rivalry or the reason their rivalry begins (because it does evolve) differs between the book and the movie. Through the use of diaries kept by both men we learn of their backgrounds, how their love for magic began, and we come to understand their point of view on magic, life, and the rivalry that comes to consume them. This rivalry is heightened to the point of no return and many moral lines are crossed.
Whereas the story in the movie ends with these two magicians, the book explains that the rivalry continues through the generations of the families and even affects the grandchildren of the magicians. I really liked this added aspect to the story as it gave the novel a story within a story feel. It is hard to say what other main aspects were left out of the movie because many aspects of the movie were simply changed from the book. And, I was impressed to feel that I didn’t care that there were changes. The way it was in the book made the book great and the way it was in the movie made the movie great. I do wonder why the filmmaker decided to change the story in a way that made Borden into the good guy and Angiers into the bad guy. In the book, the retaliation is, for the most part, equally brutal and both are wronged men. In the movie, Angiers’ intent to get back at Borden and discover his secrets go way beyond obsession to the point of near insanity.
Speaking of the filmmaker and screenwriter, he is none other than Christopher Nolan. When I fell in love with the movie, The Prestige, back in 2006, Nolan was not as well-known as he is now. His two big movies up to that point were Memento and Batman Begins. Since then, he has become a giant in the film industry with the remainder of the Batman trilogy and Inception. Last year, Nolan became the youngest director to add his hand and footprints to the cement in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater. His excellent writing combined with the impeccable acting that he manages to garnish out of film greats such as Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Michael Caine, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (or JGL as I fondly call him) make his movies highly enjoyable to me. Those actors work with him film after film because they know that he is, in part, the best that it comes right now and he is only 43 so he hopefully has a long full career ahead of him.
Please listen to this book and see this movie. Simon Vance does an excellent job, as usual, with the narration of this book making the voices very distinct and imaginative. The Prestige is story for everyone as it has love, mystery, loss, horror, excitement and humor. I could say a lot more about it but I wouldn’t want to give away any of the story. Leave comments below if you would like to discuss the story in a more detailed manner.