In these modern times, technological advancements and sophisticated storytelling techniques have allowed filmmakers to take over the role once occupied by stage magicians. Now, instead of gazing with wonder as the illusionist produces a rabbit out of his hat, audiences instead fix their eyes on movie screens, where filmmakers make the impossible seem possible. After all, a good movie can inspire you to abandon reality and believe the unbelievable - if only for a couple hours.
"The Prestige," the new film from Christopher Nolan ("Memento," "Batman Begins"), is a prime example of such showmanship. Telling the tale of two rival magicians in turn-of-the-century London, this is as much an elaborate magic trick as it is a movie. Through its considerable running length, writer/director Nolan puts on his top hat and exploits the principles of misdirection like a seasoned illusionist. When it's over, viewers may feel cheated by the simplicity of the solutions to the film's central mysteries - but there's simply no denying Nolan's skill as a cinematic manipulator.