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The Prestige
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The Prestige (2006) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 57 | slideshow) Videos (see all 16)
The Prestige -- Rival magicians in turn-of-the-century London battle each other for trade secrets.
The Prestige -- US Home Video Trailer from Newmarket Films
The Prestige -- Bonus Clip: Screenwriter - :52
The Prestige -- Bonus Clip: Christian Bale - :19
The Prestige -- Bonus Clip: Hugh Jackman - 19


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Down 5% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writers (WGA):
Jonathan Nolan (screenplay) and
Christopher Nolan (screenplay) ...
View company contact information for The Prestige on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
20 October 2006 (USA) See more »
A Friendship That Became a Rivalry. See more »
Two stage magicians engage in competitive one-upmanship in an attempt to create the ultimate stage illusion. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 27 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Webby meshwork of magic and mystery See more (1078 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Hugh Jackman ... Robert Angier

Christian Bale ... Alfred Borden

Michael Caine ... Cutter

Piper Perabo ... Julia McCullough

Rebecca Hall ... Sarah Borden

Scarlett Johansson ... Olivia Wenscombe
Samantha Mahurin ... Jess Borden

David Bowie ... Nikola Tesla

Andy Serkis ... Alley

Daniel Davis ... Judge

Jim Piddock ... Prosecutor

Christopher Neame ... Defender

Mark Ryan ... Captain

Roger Rees ... Owens

Jamie Harris ... Sullen Warder
Monty Stuart ... Stagecoach Driver

Ron Perkins ... Hotel Manager

Ricky Jay ... Milton
J. Paul Moore ... Virgil
Anthony De Marco ... Boy (as Anthony DeMarco)

Chao Li Chi ... Chung Ling Soo (as Chao-Li Chi)
Gregory Humphreys ... Policeman

John B. Crye ... Voice

William Morgan Sheppard ... Merrit (as W. Morgan Sheppard)

Sean Howse ... Man

Julia Sanford ... Elegant Lady (as Julie Sanford)

Ezra Buzzington ... Ticket Hawker

James Lancaster ... Moderator
Olivia Merg ... Jess Borden as Toddler
Zoe Merg ... Jess Borden as Toddler

Johnny Liska ... Scalper

Russ Fega ... Man in Hotel

Kevin Will ... Man in Hotel

Edward Hibbert ... Ackerman

Christopher Judges ... Burly Stagehand

James Otis ... Blind Stagehand 1
Sam Menning ... Blind Stagehand 2
Brian Tahash ... Blind Stagehand 3
Scott Davis ... Carriage Driver

Jodi Bianca Wise ... Glamorous Assistant

Nikki Glick ... Housekeeper

Enn Reitel ... Workman 1
Clive Kennedy ... Warder

Rob Arbogast ... Leonard (as Robert Arbogast)

Chris Cleveland ... Will
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Basilina Butler ... Bar Maid (uncredited)

Marty Carroll ... Guy at Bar (uncredited)

Erin Cipolletti ... Dancer (uncredited)

Ernest Heinz ... Rudy (uncredited)

Tim Pilleri ... Piano Player 1 (uncredited)

Wendy Rosoff ... Dancer (uncredited)

Gary Sievers ... Stagehand (uncredited)

Inna Swann ... Handkerchief Lady (uncredited)

Deanna Walsh ... Woman on Carriage Bus (uncredited)

Jesse Wilde ... Man in theatre (uncredited)
Jessica Willys ... Ana (uncredited)

Directed by
Christopher Nolan 
Writing credits
Jonathan Nolan (screenplay) and
Christopher Nolan (screenplay)

Christopher Priest (novel)

Produced by
Christopher Ball .... executive producer (as Chris J. Ball)
Valerie Dean .... executive producer
Jordan Goldberg .... associate producer
Christopher Nolan .... producer
Aaron Ryder .... producer
Charles J.D. Schlissel .... executive producer
Emma Thomas .... producer
William Tyrer .... executive producer
Original Music by
David Julyan 
Cinematography by
Wally Pfister (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Lee Smith 
Casting by
John Papsidera 
Production Design by
Nathan Crowley 
Art Direction by
Kevin Kavanaugh 
Set Decoration by
Julie Ochipinti 
Costume Design by
Joan Bergin 
Makeup Department
Janice Alexander .... department head hair
Karen Asano-Myers .... hair stylist (as Karen Myers)
Terry Baliel .... hair stylist
John R. Bayless .... key makeup artist
Leo Corey Castellano .... prosthetic makeup artist
Maggie Fung .... makeup artist
Kenny Myers .... makeup artist: Mr. Jackman
Peter Robb-King .... department head makeup
Kimberley Spiteri .... hair stylist
Heba Thorisdottir .... makeup artist: Ms. Johansson
Victoria Wood .... wigs
Roxane Griffin .... hair stylist (uncredited)
Aimee Macabeo .... special effects hair: Optic Nerve Studio (uncredited)
Nicole Michaud .... hair ventilation: Cine-Makeup Inc. (uncredited)
Nicole Michaud .... special effects hair: Optic Nerve (uncredited)
Margarita Pidgeon .... hair stylist (uncredited)
Lancel Reyes .... special makeup effects artist (uncredited)
Bob Smithson .... contact lens technician (uncredited)
Greg Solomon .... special makeup effects artist (uncredited)
Fiona Stiles .... makeup artist: David Bowie (uncredited)
Production Management
Gregg Edler .... production supervisor
Teresa Kelly .... post-production supervisor
Nancy Kirhoffer .... post-production supervisor
Cristen Carr Strubbe .... unit production manager
Mark Scoon .... executive in charge of production (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Alan B. Curtiss .... first assistant director
Jody Spilkoman .... second assistant director
Cy Roscoe Strickland .... additional second assistant director
Lynn Struiksma .... second second assistant director
Art Department
Scott Buckwald .... property master
Erin Cipolletti .... art department production assistant
R. Scott Doran .... leadman (as R. Scott Duran)
Jared Fleury .... assistant property master
Capella Kincheloe .... art department production assistant
Jeanne Kukor .... assistant property master (as Jeanne Marie Kukor)
Scott Lafferty .... gangboss
Mark Lucero .... set designer
Naaman Marshall .... assistant art director
Joe Ondrejko .... construction coordinator
Ledia Telo .... construction estimator
Sally Thornton .... set designer
Scott Zuber .... set designer
Jory Alvarado .... drapery foreman (uncredited)
Jason Bartolone .... construction foreman (uncredited)
Tonya Brewer Hunt .... set dresser (uncredited)
Michael Buha .... set dresser (uncredited)
Ryan Claridge .... greensman (uncredited)
Emily Crupper .... set decoration buyer (uncredited)
J.P. Fitting .... set dresser (uncredited)
Rob Garlow .... construction general supervisor (uncredited)
Will Grant .... set dresser (uncredited)
Matt Hausmann .... assistant props (uncredited)
Brock Helfer .... set dresser (uncredited)
Bill 'Kauhane' Hoyt .... stand-by painter (uncredited)
John Kelso .... metal fabricator (uncredited)
Thomas D. Krausz .... set dressing gang boss: Tesla (uncredited)
Tim R. Lafferty .... construction gangboss (uncredited)
Amy Lamendola .... art department assistant (uncredited)
Phillis Lehmer .... graphic designer (uncredited)
Marc Meisels .... set dressing gang boss (uncredited)
Paul Pastorelli .... set dresser (uncredited)
Chris Patterson .... set dresser (uncredited)
Mike Peritz .... set dresser (uncredited)
James Pollack .... set dresser (uncredited)
Jamie Rama .... illustrator (uncredited)
Mark Richardson .... props (uncredited)
Bret Ross .... set dresser (uncredited)
Bennet Silver .... on-set dresser (uncredited)
Bruce G. Smith .... paint supervisor (uncredited)
Daniel Vincent Smith .... set dresser (uncredited)
William Stout .... prop designer (uncredited)
Toby Swinehart .... paint gangboss (uncredited)
Robert H. Winn .... paint foreman (uncredited)
Sound Department
Jessy Bender .... utility sound (as Jessica Bender)
Paul Berolzheimer .... sound effects editor
Andrew Bock .... first assistant sound editor
Rick Canelli .... adr recordist
Christopher Flick .... foley supervisor
Linda Folk .... adr supervisor
Eric Gotthelf .... adr mixer
Kimberly Harris .... adr editor
Lora Hirschberg .... sound re-recording mixer
Richard King .... sound designer
Richard King .... supervising sound editor
Jonathan Klein .... foley editor
Mary Jo Lang .... foley mixer (as Maryjo Lang)
Michael W. Mitchell .... sound effects editor
Alyson Dee Moore .... foley artist (as Alyson Moore)
Scott Morgan .... foley recordist
Ed Novick .... sound mixer
Thomas J. O'Connell .... adr mixer (as Tom O'Connell)
Kurt Peterson .... boom operator
Gary Rizzo .... sound re-recording mixer (as Gary A. Rizzo)
John Roesch .... foley artist
Christopher Sidor .... sound recordist (as Chris Sidor)
Carolyn Tapp .... adr recordist
Hugo Weng .... dialogue editor
Linda Yeaney .... first assistant sound editor
Kevin Globerman .... digital recordist (uncredited)
Bill Henderson .... sound re-recording engineer (uncredited)
Larry Hopkins .... layback sound mixer (uncredited)
Jan Petrov .... adr recordist (uncredited)
Special Effects by
David Blitstein .... special effects coordinator
William Lee .... special effects rigging foreman (as William D. Lee)
David Simmons .... special effects set foreman (as David L. Simmons)
Mario Vanillo .... special effects shop foreman (as Mario Vanilo)
Kirk Barton .... special effects craft service (uncredited)
Greg Bryant .... special effects assistant (uncredited)
Lenny Dalrymple .... special effects technician (uncredited)
Ruben Garcia .... special effects assistant (uncredited)
Bruce Y. Kuroyama .... special effects technician (uncredited)
Arthur G. Schlosser .... snow effects technician (uncredited)
John Vulich .... special effects (uncredited)
Douglas D. Ziegler .... special effects assistant (uncredited)
Visual Effects by
Florent Andorra .... cg sequence supervisor: BUF
Florent Cadel .... cg artist: BUF
Giacun Caduff .... visual effects coordinator: BUF
Stephane Ceretti .... visual effects supervisor: BUF
Melanie Cussac .... visual effects coordinator: BUF (as Mélanie Cussac)
Robin Deledicque .... cg artist: BUF
Olivier Dumont .... associate visual effects supervisor: BUF
Laurens Ehrmann .... cg artist: BUF
Vanessa Fourgeaud .... visual effects producer: BUF
John Lee .... visual effects editor
Eddy Moussa .... cg artist: BUF
Laurent Panissier .... cg artist: BUF
Clement Rambach .... software development: BUF
Michel Samreth .... cg artist: BUF
Scott Shapiro .... visual effects producer
Vanesse Simon .... visual effects producer: BUF (as Simon Vanesse)
Janek Sirrs .... visual effects consultant
Mathilde Tollec .... cg artist: BUF
Olivier Dumont .... on-set visual effects supervisor: BUF (uncredited)
Joni Avery .... stunt double: Olivia
Mike Avery .... utility stunts
Rick Avery .... stunt coordinator
Meegan Godfrey .... stunt double: Julia
Steve Hart .... stunt double: Cutter
David Hugghins .... stunt rigger
Michael Hugghins .... stunt rigger
Paul Lacovara .... stunt double: Christian Bale
Brian Machleit .... stunt double: Angier Test
Rick Marcus .... stunt double: Hugh Jackman
Thom Williams .... stunt warder
Camera and Electrical Department
Hans Bjerno .... director of photography: Colorado aerial unit
Jose Deleon .... camera technician: SpaceCam, Colorado aerial unit (as Jose DeLeon)
François Duhamel .... still photographer
Rod Farley .... best boy grip (as Roderick G. Farley)
Craig Fikse .... steadicam operator
Ray Garcia .... key grip
Antonio V. Garrido .... dolly grip (as Tony Garrido)
Anthony Gaudioz .... additional camera operator (as Tony Gaudioz)
Cory Geryak .... chief lighting technician
Bob Hall .... first assistant camera
Michael Herron .... video assist operator
Peter Krouse .... camera intern
Jerry L. Marshall .... best boy rigging grip
Daniel C. McFadden .... camera loader (as Dan McFadden)
Charlie McIntyre .... rigging gaffer (as Charles H. McIntyre)
Blake Pike .... rigging key grip
Philip Shanahan .... second assistant camera
Cricket Sloat .... rigging electric best boy
Larry Sushinski .... assistant chief lighting technician
Stephen Vaughan .... still photographer
Curtis A. Andrews Jr. .... lighting technician (uncredited)
Eric M. Davis .... lighting technician (uncredited)
Anthony Donati .... rigging set lighting technician (uncredited)
Charles Ehrlinger .... grip (uncredited)
Matt Floyd .... rigging grip (uncredited)
David Michael Fordham .... grip (uncredited)
Michael Franco .... electrician: fixtures (uncredited)
Michael Franco .... rigging electrician (uncredited)
Sheila Greene .... rigging electrician (uncredited)
Joe Guzman .... grip (uncredited)
Julie Helton .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Jeffrey A. Johnson .... grip (uncredited)
Christopher J. Lama .... electrical rigging technician (uncredited)
Damon Liebowitz .... electrician (uncredited)
David McMillan .... dimmer board operator (uncredited)
Keith Morgan .... set lighting technician (uncredited)
Dara Norman .... lighting technician (uncredited)
Jason Puliti .... electrician (uncredited)
Cricket Sloat .... assistant chief lighting technician (uncredited)
Conner Vandeer .... electrician (uncredited)
Mike Visencio .... rigging set lighting technician (uncredited)
Paul Wilkowsky .... grip (uncredited)
Brian Woronec .... lighting technician (uncredited)
Casting Department
Jennifer Cram .... casting assistant
Barbara Harris .... adr voice casting
Rich King .... extras casting
Kean Cronin .... extras casting (uncredited)
Marlo Tiede .... casting assistant (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Anthony Almaraz .... costumer
Shandra Beri .... costumer
Tom Cummins .... set costumer
Carrie Dacre .... production assistant: costume department
Monica Haynes .... costumer
Jose S. Hernandez .... costumer (as Jose Hernandez)
Marci R. Johnson .... costumer (as Marci Johnson)
Jo Kissack .... costumer
April Krueger .... costumer
Donna Marcione Pollack .... costumer
Robert Q. Mathews .... costume supervisor
Dennis McCarthy .... costumer
Toni Kehaulani Reed .... set costumer
Kenn Smiley .... key costumer
Tricia Yoo .... set costumer
Michele Flynn .... head costume ager/dyer (uncredited)
Christopher Koelsch .... costumer (uncredited)
Michael Welch .... costumer (uncredited)
Tim Wilson .... costumer (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Charles Harrison .... post-production assistant
John Lee .... first assistant editor
David Orr .... color timer
Laura Rindner .... assistant editor
Scott Wesley Ross .... assistant editor
Mary Beth Smith .... negative cutter: Buena Vista Negative Cutting
Donald Likovich .... assistant editor (uncredited)
Music Department
Sandy DeCrescent .... orchestra contractor
Alex Gibson .... music editor
Tom Hardisty .... score recordist
David Hoskins .... music programmer
Alan Meyerson .... score mixer
Alan Meyerson .... score recordist
Blake Neely .... conductor
Dana Niu .... orchestrator
Peter Rotter .... orchestra contractor
Greg Vines .... assistant engineer (as Gregg Vines)
Matthew J. Ward .... technical assistant (as Matt Ward)
Booker White .... music preparation: Walt Disney Music Library
Hans Zimmer .... executive music producer
Frank Macchia .... music preparation (uncredited)
James Thatcher .... musician: French horn (uncredited)
Transportation Department
Phil Helman .... transportation local captain: Colorado (as Phillip W. Helman)
Maxwell R. Johnson II .... transportation co-captain
Rock LeRoy .... transportation
Tommy Tancharoen .... transportation coordinator
Tom Whelpey .... transportation co-captain (as Tom Whelpley)
Ted Basso .... production van driver operator (uncredited)
Neale Blase .... transportation (uncredited)
Audrey A. Conrad .... transportation office coordinator (uncredited)
Robert Garcia Jr. .... driver (uncredited)
Tim Whisenant .... driver: Hugh Jackman (uncredited)
Dean Winton .... driver (uncredited)
Bonnie Yamahiro .... driver (uncredited)
Other crew
Jess Brackenburry .... animal wrangler: cats (as Jesse Brackenbury)
Allan Bragg .... stand-in: Mr. Caine (as Alan Bragg)
Jeffrey Caruso .... assistant production coordinator
Jennifer Clark .... first assistant accountant
Clayton Cogswell .... production assistant
Jesse Cole .... key assistant location manager
Jareth Costello .... accounting clerk
Kim Crabb .... key assistant location manager
Jeanie Daniels .... post production accountant
Scott Davis .... animal trainer: horses
Jim Dirker .... helicopter pilot: Aircam National Helicopters, Colorado aerial unit
Colin Dunning .... production assistant
Russ Fega .... location manager
Beau Foster .... production assistant
Meghan C. Fraser .... wrangler: cats
Karen M. Fuchs .... payroll accountant
Steve Gehrke .... script supervisor (as Steven R. Gehrke)
Susan Hegarty .... dialect coach: Mr. Bowie
Gregory D. Hemstreet .... production accountant (as Greg Hemstreet)
Henry Humphreys .... first aid
Andrew Jablonski .... assistant accountant
Ricky Jay .... technical advisor: magic
Nick LeClaire .... production assistant: Colorado
Parker D. Lemire .... production assistant: Colorado
Jim Lindsey .... stand-in: Mr. Bale
Mike MacCuish .... assistant accountant
Rob McCabe .... stand-in: Mr. Jackman
Scott Michaels .... production assistant: Colorado
Benjamin Morehead .... assistant: Mr. Nolan (as Benjamin T. Morehead)
Guy Morrison .... assistant location manager
M. Michelle Nishikawa .... assistant: Mr. Schlissel
Craig Okeson .... production assistant: Colorado
Anthony Penido .... first aid
Catherine Pittman .... wrangler: cats (as Cathy Pittman)
Jess Platt .... dialect coach: Mr. Jackman
Erin A. Ramos .... production secretary
Lawra Robertson .... assistant: Mr. Jackman
Lee Roeser .... wrangler: cats
Josh Scheer .... production assistant (as Joshua Scheer)
Peter Scheer .... production assistant
Michelle Schrauwers .... production assistant
Cheryl Shawver .... animal trainer: cats, Animal Actors of Hollywood
Cody Smith .... wrangler: horses
Jimmy Smith .... craft service
Phil Smith .... animal trainer: horses and birds, Phil Smith Animal Renters
Beatrice Springborn .... assistant: Mr. Ryder
Cindy Taylor .... production assistant (as Cindy A. Taylor)
Tim Territo .... production liaison: Colorado
Amy Treadwell .... stand-in: Ms. Johansson
Victoria Vopni .... wrangler: horses (as Victoria M. Vopni)
Michael Weber .... technical advisor: magic
Shawn Williamson .... production assistant
Terrence B. Zinn .... production assistant
Eric Binns .... production assistant (uncredited)
Ron Bottitta .... adr voice (uncredited)
Doug Burch .... adr voice (uncredited)
Brian Clark .... rigging medic (uncredited)
Brian De Esch .... production assistant (uncredited)
Alexandra Ducocq .... executive assistant: hugh jackman (uncredited)
Rebecca Edelson .... script clearance administrator (uncredited)
Lily Garcia .... additional production assistant (uncredited)
Carolyn Harris .... production executive (uncredited)
Patrick Holland .... additional voices (uncredited)
Nicholas Hosking .... adr voice group (uncredited)
Robert Lamkin .... caterer (uncredited)
Matt Lombardo .... additional set production assistant (uncredited)
Peter Madamba .... script researcher (uncredited)
Ossie Mair .... adr voice (uncredited)
Erich A. Muller .... production assistant (uncredited)
Skyler Ng .... production assistant (uncredited)
B.J. Rayniak .... site representative (uncredited)
Jordan Schmidt .... location scout (uncredited)
John Trujillo .... layout board (uncredited)
David Copperfield .... the producers wish to thank
Derek DelGaudio .... the producers wish to thank
Dan Sasaki .... the producers wish to thank
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial Effects
  • BUF (visual effects)
Other Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated PG-13 for violence and disturbing images
130 min
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Argentina:13 | Australia:M | Brazil:14 | Canada:14A (Alberta) | Canada:PG (British Columbia/Manitoba/Nova Scotia/Ontario) | Canada:G (Quebec) | Denmark:11 | Finland:K-11 | France:U | Germany:12 | Hong Kong:IIA | Ireland:12A | Italy:T | Malaysia:18PL | Netherlands:12 | Norway:15 | Peru:14 | Philippines:R-13 | Portugal:M/12 | Russia:14+ | Singapore:PG | South Korea:15 | Spain:18 | Sweden:11 | Switzerland:12 (canton of Geneva) | Switzerland:12 (canton of Vaud) | UK:12A | USA:PG-13 (certificate #42935)

Did You Know?

Alfred Borden takes on the stage name of "The Professor". This is the nickname that was given to Dai Vernon, the man many consider to be the best modern day sleight of hand magician.See more »
Audio/visual unsynchronized: When Angier gives the first show of his last 100, he explains the risks of the underwater-unleashing trick. The camera switches between shots of him and Borden, and we see the crowd behind Borden (soundlessly) clapping although Angier is not done explaining.See more »
[first lines]
Alfred Borden:Are you watching closely?
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in "Pointless: Episode #3.7" (2010)See more »
Princess WaltzSee more »


Are there alternative explanations for the tricks performed by Borden and Angier?
Who played Root?
Where does the new matter for the duplication come from?
See more »
183 out of 233 people found the following review useful.
Webby meshwork of magic and mystery, 27 December 2006
Author: Flagrant-Baronessa from Sweden

Director Christopher Nolan has a proclivity for warped narratives (Memento) and in The Prestige he serves up a deliciously twisty tale, puffed full of magic theatricality and inventive cinematic devices. With his remarkably sleight-of-hand direction, he spins the tale of two rivaling magicians in Victorian-era London, creating a cerebrally stimulating 2 hour long mise-en-scene in which the audience is literally left guessing and gasping at its rare uniqueness through magic acts and bitter behind-the-stage intrigue.

The final pay-off of any magic act – the prestige – is of the essence, and preluding it is the pledge, followed by the turn. Together these three key components are slotted in unique positions in 'The Prestige's arrestingly clever script but it is the titular act that propels the film. The pledge introduces our main characters: magicians Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) and Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) in turn-of-the-century London and we see how their friendship abruptly becomes a fully-fledged rivalry and hostility with a magic act gone horribly wrong in front of an audience. There is a death, and it lights the fuse of an onslaught of reel revelations and the one-upmanship that will ensue between the two competitors. 'The turn' comes to offers twists by the bucketload in the form of love-interests, and technologically marvelous magic acts. I gasped, I scratched my head, I watched on in awe. No description will do it justice.

The prestige as the end note to the show – in which, for example, the disappearer reappears to the deafening applause of the crowd – is so meticulously composed in the film through foreshadowing and fractured chronology that rigorously intersects, intertwines, intercuts, fast-forwards, rewinds and replays key parts of the story that the whole spectacle floors you. Christopher Nolan and his brother Jonathan have worked out a template script that is more twisty and turny than a mountain road and for that reason I am very reluctant to spoil even the slightest detail of the story of 'The Prestige'– of all of its acts, in fact. If you are shaking your head thinking a clever twist ending does not make the movie (and I agree), know that this is not a "gotcha"-kind of Shyamalan trick where you want to stop the film, rewind it and watch it meticulous foreshadowing up to the cheap pay-off, but a tightly-written ever-shifting hall of mirrors with so many intrinsic twists that on your way home you will still be scratching you head and searching for clues.

Our two magicians are perfectly-cast with Hugh Jackman capturing the showy, slick, ambition-driven nature of his character Angier in contrast to Bale's technique-driven purist who may be well on his way to perfecting the craft, but lacks the 'Abracadabra' entertainment value. I had always crowned the latter the more capable actor of the two, but the fact is that Jackman performs just as well in the film. Having said that, Borden has more layers to his complex, contradictory (keyword) persona than the flashy, greedy Angier which perhaps begs more weight from the actor behind the role, shifting more demand on Christian Bale. The sad fact of it is that neither of these two men are likable characters and elicit nothing more than temporary sympathy. However, the secrecy with which the intricate story approaches them makes it impossible for the viewer to slot them in protagonist vs. antagonist positions, and indeed they are given almost the exact same screen-time and voice-over narration throughout, a subtle and brilliant accolade of Nolan's.

To further evaluate the cast of The Prestige, David Bowie and Michael Caine undoubtedly merit a great deal of praise for supporting the two moody, unlikeable leading men. It is a crying shame then that Scarlett Johansson – always an incapable actress except for the rare occasions in which she plays a sultry American vixen (Match Point) – performs so badly in the role of Olivia Wenscombe, a magic assistant pending between Borden and Angier. Here she is actually given a very good and important character who is not necessarily bad like the rest, but botches her interpretation by giving an unspeakably hammy London accent. Nolan picks up on her shortcomings as an actress, and resorts to boob-shots en masse. This he should be fully entitled to do as a director, for a beautiful diversion will always camouflage the process and any of its potential missteps, as Michael Caine's character puts forward.

With Scarlett as a pleasurable paint-job, twists by the bucket-load and flashy magic tricks as windowdressing to a solid mystery film, there is little or no need to delve deeper into the psyches of its characters to keep our attention. Yet this is done, and superbly so, by Christopher Nolan. 'Antihero' gets a whole new spin to it in The Prestige with two friends-turned-rivals so bitterly poised on the brink of obsession of outshining the other that succeeding with the ultimate 'prestige' of magic followed by applause is enough to drive them to murder, bankruptcy, deceit and sabotage. Borden simply wants to be better on a technical level, while Angier wants the public's recognition and wide-spread fame. Their ambition is in effect largely the same: create the definitive deceptive illusion and do it through any means necessary.

'The Prestige' is a majestic film that nevertheless spans across too long a running time. Condensation would have done wonders and surely bumped it up a notch, as would underpinning some humour at one or two points (it is VERY gloomy), but it truly is a great cinematic achievement and a shoe-in for my top 10 of 1006, and easily the most inventive film I have seen in years. I am eagerly anticipated director Christopher Nolan's next sleight-of-hand direction, and it looks like the closest is The Dark Knight (2008).

9 out of 10

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