Wednesday, July 10, 2019

"The Prestige": Christopher Nolan period piece does ask good questions about the work of Nikola Tesla

Of some importance in science fiction is the 2006 film “The Prestige” by Christopher Nolan, with the title referring to the last phase of a magic act which offers a payoff to the audience.  It is based on a novel by Christopher Priest.

It is set in the 1890s in London, with two major lead magicians, the aristocratic Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and the working class Alfred Borden (Christian Bale).

The film invokes a speculative experiment with teleportation when it introduces Nikola Tesla (David Bowie), the inventor (later associated with alternating current and electrical engineering).  Angier spies on Borden and wants to produce the trick of teleportation. Eventually we learn that Borden was a pair of twins but they seem to share an identity.  There is some question in the plot as to whether a “new” Angier gets created by teleportation, or if there is anything in quantum physics or information theory that makes this theoretically possible.

The film was produced with New Market Films, which was normally an indie distributor ten years ago. It was also produced by Touchstone Films and distributed both by Disney and Warner Brothers. But the film tended to be shown in theater chains that prefer independent or art movies.

Picture: Reno, my visit (2018) 

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