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Movie Reviews

1. The Prestige- Movie Review

PG-13 | 2h 10min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi | 20 October, 2006 (USA)

  • Director: Christopher Nolan

  • Screenplay by Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan

  • Cast: Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, Michael Caine

  • Budget: 4 crores USD

  • Box Office: 10.97 crores USD

The secret impresses no one. The trick you use it for, is everything.

The same goes for Christopher Nolan’s, The Prestige. Are we truly watching closely? Or do we want to be fooled?

The Prestige, is a thriller mystery, set in late 1800s London. Its mystifying timeline and plot is intended for teenagers and adults only. Based on the novel by Christopher Priest, The Prestige follows the prolonged rivalry between stage magicians, Alfred Borden (Bale) and Robert Angier (Jackman), competing to outperform one another. Once partners, their bitter feud was triggered by a tragic incident. Now following separate magic careers, both men strive to pull off the greatest magic trick known to man – Teleportation. 

They stop at nothing, risking both theirs and their beloved’s lives, to root out the other’s secrets. Rife with revenge, betrayal, and espionage, we see a darker side of man prevail when obsession takes hold of him. 

When it comes to filmmaker-director, Christopher Nolan, no one can deny that he outdoes himself every time, be it in relation to Memento, Interstellar, Inception, Dunkirk or any of his other blockbusters. The cast for The Prestige had been chosen immaculately and each actor suited his/her role. Hugh Jackman, playing Robert Angier, showed us both loss and great determination. His character was a good showman- charming and likeable. His equal opposite is Alfred Borden, portrayed by Christian Bale. Borden’s the man in the crowd- disguised and street-smart. In a way, Angier and Borden are like two sides of the same coin. Jackman and Bale’s performances created the film’s suspenseful atmosphere.  A first-rate supporting cast included Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson, Andy Serkis and the late, David Bowie.

A true art in film-making: cinematography. Low key lighting in the film created an aura of mystery and fear. Scenes shot close up and at eye level enabled the audience to connect with the actors and experience their feelings. 

The Prestige tells a tale of revenge but has a certain depth to it. The truth. It is a hunt for the truth, with characters going great lengths to uncover it. What do we know of such truth? Are we willing to sacrifice and do what it takes?

The film, itself, is a magic trick, allowing the audience to invent their conclusion. Throughout the film, the audience is on the edge and provoked to severe nail-biting. As the plot develops, excitement amplifies and we find ourselves at an ending which, no doubt, lived up to all expectations.

I recommend this film to all viewers as it is unique and visually manipulating, making the experience enjoyable yet ever so mystifying. 

2. The Lorax – Movie Review

PG | 1h 26min | Animation, Adventure | 2 March 2012 (USA)

  • Director: Chris Renaud

  • Screenplay by Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio

  • Cast: Zac Efron, Danny DeVito, Ed Helms, Taylor Swift, Betty White

  • Budget: 7 crores USD

  • Box office: 34.88 crores USD

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

-Dr. Seuss.

The power of “unless”. What does it mean to care? To make a change? To be different? Whatever does it mean?

A tree on my left,

A plant to the right.

If only we knew,

What a marvelous sight!

Dr. Seuss, as he is popularly known, had always been one for Nature. He spoke for the trees. Long before the earth was plagued with a global crisis, Dr. Seuss spoke for the importance of trees and the home Nature is to us. We remember him for his stories and fantasy tales with the most unforgettable characters in play. But there was always a deeper message to be rooted, a forgotten truth for us to recall.

The Lorax, based on Dr. Seuss’ book, is one such tale. The town of Thneedville is quite unlike our own. Picture this – PLASTIC. Just plastic, nothing more- the houses, buildings and roads, and don’t get me started on the food. There was not one tree in this town, unless you count plastic, air-filled or glass ones that light up. The mayor of Thneedville, Mr. O’Hare, a crafty little (quite literally) man, profited from this fact. See, the people had no need for trees, for what could get better than bottled air every day at their doorstep, thanks to our beloved mayor?!

But things could simply not continue like this. They had to change. In a bid to do this (and win over the affections of his dream girl), Ted Wiggins (Efron), an idealistic 12-year-old, began to search for the trees. He sought out The Once-ler (Helms), an old, failed businessman living in a wasteland. It was of the belief that he knew exactly what had happened to the trees…

From here, the film alternates between the hidden past and disastrous present with Ted inspired to undo the disaster. The film meets its climax at the end when the past is divulged, and the truth is revealed to us. It doesn’t take too much thought to know what caused the sudden disappearance of trees. The film ends with a song in a bid to appeal to the audience to act for the greater good and simply, let things grow.

People often steer clear of animated films, especially musicals, but like I said, there is more to it. The Lorax is not only about greed, destruction, and extinction of life but also about repentance. How much do we care about our home, Mother Nature? The trees and forests, dales and falls, every blooming bud, buzzing bee and pair of fluttering wings. Although this film is reminder of the constant degradation of the environment, it speaks to the purest part of humanity – the simple act of being humane.

Reviewer: Pooja Balasubramanian.

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