Categories
Film Life Music

you’re coming alive to me

I love it when music and movies come alive. Recently I listened to Copeland’s new album, Eat, Sleep, Repeat. That album, as well as Jack’s Mannequin’s Everything In Transit, somehow opened up a new gateway into music and life for me. When I listened to them, everything else I had ever heard before that seemed stale. They completely revolutionized music for me, however hyperbolic that may sound. I was in just the right mood for the music to reach right into my soul and shake things up. I’m sure that if you are more than a casual listener to decent music you’ll know what I’m talking about. Maybe you’ve had a bad day, or bad month, and listening to a certain album just smashes a window open you didn’t know existed in your soul. I love it.

With Jack’s Mannequin, I remember my heart just throbbing and getting goosebumps while walking home from the public library. At that moment, God just came alive to me. It doesn’t even matter what kind of music you’re listening to. Each strum of the guitar was like a shock to my heart. Another time, I was listening to Sanctus Real’s The Face of Love. During that season of my life, I had been thinking a lot about love and what it really meant. Three different arenas of my life–classes, church, and music–all happened to focus specifically on this subject, which I know now wasn’t a coincidence. Listening to The Face of Love and thinking about the lyrics and how they applied to my life, it was like another jump start to my heart. My windshield had just been wiped clean and I could finally make sense of the stuff that was ahead of me.

This happens with movies as well. My sister could attest to this. In the months before our grandpa and grandma died, she was away at college and couldn’t be with them as much as she wanted. She had always been really close to them, so whenever she was getting down about it, she watched Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. I cannot vouch for the quality of the movie, but that doesn’t matter. She is emotionally bound to that film and to this day she watches it whenever she is having a bad day. We all can be moved by certain movies, whether it be because of its sadness or uplifting message. I recently watched Casablanca. I’ve only met one person who does not like/love this movie, and for good reason. I love the romance, I love the stubbornness of Rick (which I can relate to), and I love how there are so many things I can learn from it. That movie, along with a few others, lifts itself off the screen and into my heart. And sometimes, with all the crap we carry with us, that is exactly what we need.

Categories
Film Review

The Prestige

The Prestige is a film about magicians and their illusions, but it is also an illusion itself.

In the film and in magic, we are first shown the Pledge; a seemingly ordinary scenario that we will assume is probably not so ordinary. Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) and Rupert Angier (Hugh Jackman) two rival magicians who see their friendship turn into a rivalry after an ill-fated illusion involving Angier’s wife. Each becomes obsessed with discovering the other’s secrets and becoming the greater magician. Next comes the Turn; the magician takes the ordinary thing and turns it into something you would never expect. Alfred performs “the Transported Man” trick and sends Rupert on a desperate quest to uncover the illusion and starts a deadly game of cat-and-mouse which soon involve the double-crossing assistant Olive (Scarlett Johansson) and Rupert’s manager Cutter (Michael Caine). The final part of the illusion, the Prestige, sends the audience’s minds into a flurry with twists and turns you never expected. I try hard not to concentrate too much on twists in a movie so I can more fully enjoy the experience, but I found myself burning for answers throughout, getting a few along the way then asking some more.

Like a good magician, director Christopher Nolan lures us in with intrigue and presentation, shows us something we didn’t expect, and then throws us into a spin. There are echoes of his previous works in The Prestige that are evident throughout the film, like Memento‘s non-linear storytelling and ambiguity, and the darkness of Batman Begins. Aside from being simply an enjoyable film to be completely immersed in, The Prestige is great to look at with its breathtaking scenery and costumes. The thing that stands out the most to me is the acting. Without Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman in their top form, this film would have fallen short of its potential; something that happens all too often in movies. Michael Caine is always a delight to watch, while Scarlett Johansson’s performance seemed uninspired and unoriginal, leading me to think that she seems to be a little overrated and overexposed.

Above all, The Prestige is definitely one of the best films of the year. It could require multiple viewings in order to answer all your questions, but the beauty of the magic trick is not the illusion itself but the fact that we will never really know how the magician did it. You think you know what’s going on, but in the end you will find that you never really knew. Rarely do good acting, beautiful photography, and intelligent writing come together to form a film worth watching.