Blakeson - Writer

Cardiff-based film, theatre and gig reviews, cultural ramblings, whingeing, short films, etc.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Prestige

Saw Christopher Nolan’s “The Prestige” on Sunday – a dazzling piece of work; a return to the elliptical, game-playing narrative style of “Memento”, distinguished by reliably excellent performances from Caine, Jackman, and Bale (even though the latter’s method Cockney mumbling is sometimes a tad off-putting). Being someone who laps up those “Magicians Are Crap – Here’s How It’s Done!” programmes which occasional crop up on ITV2, I was prepared for an depiction of the ridiculous obsessiveness of the fake trickster, but this went above and beyond in terms of showcasing their callousness. I was unsure, however, of how to react to the very final plot-twist - a brazen vindication of the magical? An outrageous cheat? Probably both, but the journey is sufficiently enjoyable to override any momentary irritation.

The only other cultural event I’ve dragged myself out to see of late was a showing (in Chapter, Cardiff) of Jean Cocteau’s first film, “Le Sang d’Un Poete”, from 1930. Having repeated in my thesis the suggestion that it may have owed something to his experiments with opium, I thought I may as well actually make sure – and I was left in no doubt whatsoever. Lots of surreal juxtapositions and homo-erotic imagery, much use of the disorienting special effects which became his cinematic trademarks (the wall of water signifying passage into a new dimension, the reverse motion) all elucidating the suffering soul of the artist. There was a live soundtrack composed and played by Charlie Barber, with his Band, which was astoundingly clever, although I found myself reminiscing about the folksy, small-ensemble music which used to soundtrack kids’ programmes like “Pogle’s Wood”. Once a peasant, always a peasant, I guess.

There was a repeat of one of my “Tracy Beaker” episodes on BBC1 last week, which means I should receive a fee some time in 2008 – nice. I’ve also received a couple of small royalty cheques in the past fortnight, which might pay for a couple of Christmas presents. I really should make the effort to get another job – nothing coming up apart from a possible play reading in the New Year.

Rupert Murdoch has made me a criminal. Thanks to Sky outbidding Channel Four for the rights to show “Lost”, I’ve had to go searching the Internet for bootleg uploads of Season 3 episodes. I hope he’s proud of himself.


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