Today in Movie History: October 20

It’s a comparatively quiet day, marked by an all-time personal favorite. Christopher Nolan made his mark on cinema early, and every new film of his — even those that don’t reach their potential — merits notice. His greatest may still be The Prestige: the tale of two 19th century magicians (Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman) whose bitter rivalry drives them both to madness and blasphemy. Nolan and his brother Jonathan adapted a seemingly unadaptable novel into a handsome exploration of the price of greatness while slyly connecting their characters’ ephemeral sleight-of-hand artistry to the rise of filmmaking itself. They elicit strong performances from an impressive ensemble — including Bale, Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson, Rebecca Hall, Andy Serkis and the late David Bowie — but it’s Jackman who truly shines as a good man who slowly succumbs to utter damnation. The Prestige opened today in 2006.


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