Well, I'm a little speechless (future me: "hahaha. okay, whatever you say, you liar" ), but I'll try to make this review somewhat coherent or as coherent as it can be considering I'm writing this nearly at midnight. This movie was a roller coaster of emotions and a marvel of storytelling. My good lord. I love me a good meta-drama, but this made for a confusing little package of three layers. The timing unwound itself thoughtfully, not telling us vital information until we had to know. With its three different timelines that all gracefully arced together, this movie made for an amazing evening.
The characters. Don't even get me started on the characters. What's that? No one asked? Great! I'll tell you all about it. The relationships within this movie took it up another notch for me. Not only did we have murky, dark, and muddy morals present in each character, but it was WELL DONE. You can usually tell when an author or writer creates a morally ambiguous character just because, and when they create a morally ambiguous character to prove a point. This movie was nothing BUT good points. It showed the slow corruption of a man who was wrapped in obsession. It portrayed the inherent twisted nature of those who take life in imbalance, preferring one thing to all other. Every. Damn. Character. Proved. A. Point. And I lived for it. Also, the relationships were just absolutely fan-freaking-tastic. They were messy and confusing and so real. Sarah deserved better. Yes. I said it. She was abused emotionally and it was horrible to watch. Even the Borden that loved her abused her by putting her second continuously and neglecting her in that way. She deserved better.
I adored the history woven into this, even if it was a bit romanticized and fantastical. Nikola Tesla was a god among men and deserves far more credit than he actually gets. Screw Edison. But I'm not starting a debate on that, so that's all I'll say.
What else? Hmmm. The costumes were great, as well as all the props. The camera work was perfect and impeccable and all the other synonyms that I am too tired to look up.
Okay. So I have a question that is burning in my tiny pea-brain: Cutter freaking nods at Borden when he goes in to eventually shoot Angier. Then later, he doesn't act surprised in the slightest to see him waltz in and pick up his daughter. DID CUTTER KNOW? DID HE SANCTION ANGIER'S DEATH?
This movie can't help but feel like a metaphor for something, or a giant string of metaphors. The idea of one man being two, and leading such similar but different lives really strikes me. The concept that one Borden was so in love with his family and the other so in lust with a woman just has some type of poetic resonance to it that I can't quite ignore. Also, the idea that one let his brother be killed has a very "Cain and Abel" ly type of feeling to it. On a different, but also metaphorical note, the idea of killing yourself over and over again for the purpose of ensnaring an enemy seems like it is supposed to convey some type of really deep message. What I surmise in my sleepy, and arguably too philosophical, state is that envy/obsession/etc will kill you bit by bit until it catches up to you. Or, conversely, by holding onto obsession you are slowly dying by your own hand. It was also creepy with all the images of the birds in the cages, waiting to die, and the Angiers in the tanks, dead. Also the tank in general. When his wife first died in one I figured it would be some sort of symbol, but oh my goodness.
The ending, oh lord the ending. Okay. Let me preface by saying that I called several twists in this movie. Firstly, I knew Angier wasn't dead. No way. I called it when he first died. I knew he'd be that weird "lord" guy as soon as the character was introduced. I just didn't know how it would happen. Once I saw the machine, even before the whole cat scene, I knew that he was going to be cloned. Secondly, I knew that Olivia was going to betray Angier. Again, I just didn't know how, though the journal thing wasn't particularly inspired. As soon as Angier discovered the journal though, I knew that the journal Borden was reading was going to be revealed to have a similar facade about it. HOWEVER, the whole Borden thing I didn't see coming. Like, holy shit. And the shooting Angier thing--damn. And the one Borden actually dying. I totally thought he'd escape somehow. So, even though I called a few, the biggest tricks still surprised me.
Another 5/5 stars. My lord, what a ride.
My, my, my. What a long-ass review. Maybe I should write all my reviews at midnight so they will be of this caliber. Or maybe I should spare the three of you(?) and myself the trouble and stick to writing them during the daytime when I'm far more prone to abbreviating...I will ponder this at a later time.