The Prestige: Drunken Commentary Track

Audio: Use controls to play, pause, etc.

Download 'The Prestige': Drunken Commentary Track (mp3, 31.2 MB).

'The Prestige': Tesla provides enlightenmentThe reasons for recording (with Bride of Culture Snob) this commentary track to The Prestige are many and simple:

  • Director/co-writer Christopher Nolan didn’t include one on the first DVD release — at least not that I’ve found.
  • In my essay, I faulted the movie’s ending, but I now accept it as suitable and even necessary.
  • There remains great confusion and debate about what actually happens in the movie, even though the script and presentation seem to me models of clarity and foreshadowing.
  • Bride of Culture Snob and I continue to argue about the conclusion, and whether it fits or panders to an audience’s anticipated inability to follow the story.
  • While it received generally favorable notices, The Prestige seemed to be dismissed as a mere entertainment, and I think critics and audiences failed to recognize the movie’s depth, density, and elegance.

We address all these areas in the commentary track, come to some resolution about the ending, and explore my theory that viewers tend to understand one of the movie’s “tricks” while watching the first time but get fooled by the other.


Regarding Pamela’s ending comments that Jackman’s character Robert Angier doesn’t make a sacrifice:

As a viewer I’m horrified by the revelation that Angier essentially creates life and snuffs it out - painfully - as soon as it acquires consciousness. I believe Algier does make a personal physical sacrifice each time he denies his double a proper life, as it really is a separate “him.” But, I think the big sacrifice he refers to is actually that of his conscience, morality, and possibly his damned soul for playing with life in such a way. He destroys both his physical self (selves) and more importantly the very things that make him human. What could be a bigger sacrifice?

I’m glad you guys made this. I was hoping to watch the commentary on the DVD but found there was none.

However, a bit of advice, don’t try so hard to sound intelligent on some elite level. Just talk to the audience and say what you think. Numerous times I can hear both of you stretching to make some academic-sounding explination or go out of your way to use film lingo but it just comes off as pretentiousness.

When your wife counters your copy of a copy idea with the concept of digital copies, you don’t have to grasp at straws for a new explanation. You can just say “you’re right” and move on. It’s a problem with people who try to be academic where they can never admit fault and confuse that with intelligence.

You don’t really want to live up to the title of this blog, right? =)

The only “wedding ring rule” is that married people wear rings and you can frequently see people’s hands in movies. In the one scene where Freddie is playing with the ring, that is intentional. The scene when Angier takes his ring off, that’s intentional. The rest is just people wearing rings - not everything has an “obvious” meaning. Snobs read in to things to the point where they see what isn’t there! =P

In any case, I’m sorry for talking like a jerk here, I usually try to spread peace and love in my life. And as I said, I am grateful that you guys made this - truly.
But too often it felt like you guys were TRYING to sound like pretentious film snobs, and I believe your inner voice is a much cooler person trying to get out, yet scared of being thought “stupid” if you don’t talk like a cryptic college professor.

Jessica: Thanks, and sorry to it took me so long to publish your comment. (If you couldn’t tell, I’ve been a serious slacker lately � miraculously, even more than over the past six months.)

There is no cooler person trying to come out. For better or worse, when we try to talk for two hours straight � and try to argue and comment and still watch the movie while drinking � it’s sometimes a struggle, and sometimes there are stretches.

But don’t doubt the wedding-ring rule. It’s ironclad. I can (and someday will) provide dozens of examples. (Here’s one.)

You say: “The rest is just people wearing rings � not everything has an ‘obvious’ meaning.” But every aspect of every character’s appearance in a movie is designed � including whether a ring is being worn. You might not think that has an “obvious” meaning, but there is inherent meaning in each choice filmmakers make.

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