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Just As Intriguing The Second Time, Too!
ccthemovieman-129 September 2008
I've seen this film twice now - about a year ago and then yesterday - and thoroughly enjoyed it both times, even the second time when I remembered some of those fantastic twists in the last half hour. Sometimes it's even more fun to view a film like this when you know a few things, because earlier scenes take on new meaning.

It's not an easy film to totally digest, even with two viewings, because that ending has some mind-boggling revelations. Without having to resort to spoilers, let me just say the story is extremely interesting, the acting very good, the period pieces fun to view and it's a pretty clean movie so grandma can also enjoy it, too, without language or sex concerns.

Basically, it's a story about obsession between two magicians in the last decade of the 19th century. They continually try to top one another and things get nasty along the way. Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale are both fun to watch in those roles, as are Michael Caine and Scarlett Johansson in supporting roles.

This is one movie guaranteed to have you thinking about it when it's over!
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NpMoviez30 May 2018
I won't say it's an underrated movie, but it has somewhat been buried by the legacy of other "popular" Nolan movies. With this movie, Nolan shows his ability to make a metacinematic film, yet again. This is obviously my most favorite Christopher Nolan movie, along with "Memento" (2000). Just like you can relate the theme of memories and interpretations shown in the story of "Memento" with the actual experience we had while watching the movie, we can relate the three acts of a magic trick narrated within the story with the movie itself. As the movie says, the final reveal in a magic trick is the most thrilling experience. So is that of this movie. In fact, the whole movie can be weirdly related to a magic trick. It is one of those movies which feel quite ordinary until a major twist makes it great. Speaking of the cinematic experience, it is a typical Nolan styled movie. It has broken timelines to enhance the storytelling, but unlike in most of his movies these are done more artistically than just for the thrilling reveal. This is perhaps the movie where Nolan's broken timelines have enhanced the storytelling in the most brilliant way. Like in most of movies, he dwells in a single theme - here it's obsession. The obsession of Robert Angier is what drives the plot of the movie, and is well established and doesn't even feel forced. There is a protagonist, and an antagonist in this movie. The character development is done so smoothly that we see the protagonist become an antagonist, while the antagonist remains somewhat the same. Though we don't get a full "interchange" between the antagonist and the protagonist, as the movie progresses, the protagonist feels more "wrong" than the antagonist. That's quite a difficult thing that it pulls off. Alfred Bordon is one of the most "complex" characters I have ever seen. He feels like some kind of a prick throughout the movie, and there are a lot of scenes to establish it for the viewers. That's until we get to know his character in the third act. It doesn't make him right for his wrong doings, but he gets the respect for his dedication as a magician. The whole Tesla plotline might feel like a convenient plot device, but Tesla is a scientist who is rumoured to travel through time. So, that is quite justifiable. Hugh Jackman has given a solid performance. This must go down as his best performances with those of "Prisoners" (2013) and "Logan" (2017). He is completely out of his public persona of Wolverine. He is the best possible choice for Wolverine imo, but reminder of Wolverine every time he appears on screen isn't so adorable. He didn't remind me of Wolverine at all, in this movie. But, the major highlight of the movie would be Christian Bale. He has given a terrific performance. You don't even get a hint at the complexity of the character he is portraying. It's after the reveal and in fact, in the second viewing that you start noticing the actual stuffs and the actual interpretations a particular scene is to be given. All in all, it's a fantastic movie. The way obsession play out to be the main theme, the way broken timelines are used for storytelling and the way the final twist is revealed - simply excellent. It gets a special "10/10" and an "A+".
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A Nutshell Review: The Prestige
DICK STEEL20 October 2006
I've said it before, but I'll say it again. Christopher Nolan can do no wrong. Teaming up again with his Batman Begins cast of Christian Bale and Michael Caine, and joined with the Scoop team consisting of X-Men's Wolverinie Hugh Jackman and Scarlett Johansson, the stellar (eye candy) cast already set tongues wagging as to whether they'll be able to live up to the hype of Nolan's long awaited movie directly challenging the other picture about Victorian magicians, The Illusionist. The Prestige is the third act of any magic trick, with the first and second acts being the Pledge and the Turn. And this movie lives up to its namesake to a T. The way the movie plays out, it's like a huge magic trick, with the audience waiting to see how it unfolds, getting the suspicion on how it's done, but yet sitting through it thorough engaged to discover how everything will be revealed and resolved. It tells the story of how two magicians, fellow apprentices turned unfortunate rivals, plod down the slow path of jealous obsession, revenge, and the deliberate attempts to go at lengths to steal each other's ideas, to go one up against the other, a fight in romance, life and the long held passionate drive to discredit each other. There are perfect explanations of the value of secrets, and how secrets can sometimes be used as tools for deceit. What I thought was valuable in the movie was the reinforcement of the notion of how "magic" actually worked. Besides the better understanding of the common body of scientific knowledge, things like having pretty assistants to distract, and having planted staff amongst the audience, somehow made me a sceptic to tricks and illusions, and try harder to spot at which stage had things undergone a sleight of hand. More importantly, it introduced me to the notion and importance of a loyal engineer behind the scenes who designs elaborate contraptions solely for the magician's use, and how having disloyal staff can indeed be detrimental to any leaks of secrets. And Michael Caine took on this engineering role as Cutter, responsible for assisting Rupert Angier (Hugh Jackman) with loyalty and conviction that they could, as a team, beat Christian Bale's Alfred Borden. I thought the cast in general were superb, with Christian Bale leading the charge. Hugh Jackman too showed that he could play a dark character, as the two leads tackled their characters' theme of sacrifice, arrogance, and ultimately redemption, especially for Rupert Angier. I thought he did what he did towards the end was a kind of penance to what happened in the beginning, hoping to kill two birds with a single stone, to exact the sweetest revenge he could possibly muster. What also was intriguing about the two lead characters was that there is no right or wrong, no hero or villain. It's always a shade of grey in what they do, and for Alfred Borden, I felt it's more for survival and the provision for family, which is a strong subplot running through the film. I just have to mention though, that Scarlett Johansson being Esquire's Sexiest Woman Alive, gets to play a flower vase role here as a magician's assistant, though her role as the pawn between the rivals added a little gravitas. The atmosphere was set up great, and so were the costumes and sets. The soundtrack was hauntingly mesmerizing, capturing the look and mood appropriately. Look out too for David Bowie's appearance as a Serbian scientist! I was floored by the deftness of how Nolan weaved and juxtaposed the non linear narrative so flawlessly. While the usual techniques is to use placeholders, or flashback sequences, colours etc, here, time is so fluid, but yet the audience will know precisely which era they're in, without being explicitly told, or working too much of the noodle. You just know, and it's just that feeling of being totally transparent with time. Even though the movie clocked in at slightly more than 2 hours, you don't feel its length at all. At the end of the movie, one quote popped into mind: Misdirection - what the eyes see and the ears hear, the mind believes. Quite apt to describe how things work out during the movie, or to describe in general, Nolan 's films so far. That added richness to lift the movie to a superior plane. Do yourself a favour, if there's one movie you absolutely must watch this week, then Prestige must be your natural choice. It's smart in delivery and slick in presentation. There is none other. P.S. Is it just me, or are notebooks a common feature in Nolan's movies?
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Outstanding acting performances worth price of admission
iohefy-216 October 2006
I went to see a critics preview of The Prestige this afternoon and to my surprise I found the film to be one of the best I have seen all year so far, and that writers can come up with an excellent script it they would only try a little harder. The acting performances by Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale and Michael Caine were the best I have see in a long while. The only objection I had to the film was that it was a little long, but once you leave the theater you will discuss the film and it many twists and turns. My wife and myself discussed it all the way home from the movie theater. This is a winner and should be up for some academy award statues, and my recommendation is go see this as soon as you can, you will not be disappointed.
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Obsession and Revenge
SnoopyStyle14 December 2013
Around the turn of the century, Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman), his wife Julia McCullough (Piper Perabo), and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) are assistants to the magician Cutter (Michael Caine). Due to hubris, Julia is killed in one of the tricks. It sets off a combative obsessive competition between Angier and Borden that ends in their eventual destruction. Rebecca Hall and Scarlett Johansson play other love interests.

This is a dense complicated plot. If you figured it out before the ending, then you're much smarter than me. Christopher Nolan and his brother have woven an intrigue story of obsession and revenge. The twists will leave you stunned. The reveals of the tricks are jaw dropping. It doesn't get more mind bending than this one.

In a way, the flashforwards are not that necessary. It throws a complicated story into more confusion. It's too much. The movie may be better to be more straight forward. Personally, I like the challenge.
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Webby meshwork of magic and mystery
Flagrant-Baronessa27 December 2006
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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Storytelling at its best!
Surecure21 October 2006
The Prestige is a masterful exercise in storytelling with superb direction and powerful performances by a grand ensemble cast. From set and production design to cinematography, from script to presentation, Christopher Nolan has once again demonstrated why he is one of the film world's brightest up and coming directors. The Prestige only helps solidify his standing as one of the landmark directors of his generation.

Told in a narrative that jumps between various points along its time line, playing out like a magic act itself, the story is that of two magicians on the rise in their careers. The first -- played by Christian Bale -- is an expert in understanding the fundamentals of any trick, but lacks showmanship. The second -- played by Hugh Jackman -- is a master showman who is more entertaining than technical. A tragic series of events pits the two performers against each other in a battle of wits that spirals further and further out of control, consuming both of them and everything and everyone they care about.

With a story that requires actors with a great deal of emotive range, Nolan has assembled what could be described as a dream cast. Both Bale and Jackman suit their respective roles perfectly, and pitting these two performers against each other was a stroke of casting genius. Michael Caine takes what could have been a forgettable role by any lesser actor and elevates it with his demanding screen presence. Probably the most surprising performance comes from David Bowie whose unforgettable turn as master physicist Nikola Tesla absolutely shines. Add Andy Serkis to the mix, and what is assembled is a group of performers who know how to fully engage the audience.

The Prestige is hard to pigeonhole into any specific genre as it walks the fine line between mystery, drama, suspense and fantasy. In that, the story becomes a never-ending stream of wonder for the mind: one can never tell exactly where the story is going to lead next, becoming more and more as time goes on. This gives Christopher Nolan ample opportunity to play. And play he does. With narration by several characters, each adding their own viewpoint to the events, and with a direction that moves between time to mystify and distract, the end result is a climax that itself is a series of puzzles that each unravel beautifully.

The only major criticisms that can be leveled at the Prestige are a confusing play with the seasons during Tesla's introduction (winter suddenly becomes spring/summer and back again) and a strange choice of music for the closing credits (a pop song at the end of a film such as this seems tacky). However, neither is significant enough of a problem to warrant any need to avoid the film at all.

In the end, the Prestige is a fantastic display of what can be accomplished when you bring together superior talent. It is certainly worth the price of admission and as good as any magic show you are to come across.
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The Prestige
auuwws17 February 2021
Great movie and best movie I've seen directed by Christopher Nolan. The story of the movie was great and I did not expect the end. Most of the film's characters were excellent, and Tesla's appearance in the film was excellent. The acting was excellent, especially from Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale who were dazzling in the film, the film embodies the period of the end of the nineteenth century, a great film.
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Give This Film Time to Sink In...
gavin694228 October 2006
Leaving the theater, I thought the film was just okay. An hour later, I thought it was pretty clever. And now, the next day, I think it was amazing. Why the change? It took that long for most or all of the subtle hints to sink in and the real twists to be discovered. The film doesn't end when you leave, it begins.

The story is the tale of two magicians in a bitter rivalry, always trying to do a better trick than the other and trying to sabotage the other's success. At least, that's what you think the story is until you finally see "the prestige".

I can't discuss much of this film because giving almost anything at all away would ruin some of the fun. But a few notes: Christian Bale, as always is awesome. An incredible actor with a wide range and screen appeal. Christopher Nolan works well with him (see "Batman Begins") and I hope they continue this Burton-Depp relationship they have. I foresee only greatness.

Hugh Jackman is also spectacular, probably giving the most diverse performance in the film, easily the most demanding. And he does this convincingly.

Scarlett Johannson is Scarlett Johannson... if you've liked her before, you should like her here (though her role never really gets the full story it needs). And David Bowie... wow, he is so much better than "Labrynth" would have you believe.

The visuals are stunning, but the real credit goes to the makeup department, who deserve an Oscar for this picture. Outside of horror films where extensive makeup is often required, this film probably does more to change the actors' appearances than any other film I've ever seen. And I was going along with the ride the whole time.

If you see one film from 2006, see "The Departed". But if you see two, "The Prestige" better be on your list.
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One of the best movies EVER
UrbanFilmCritic19 October 2006
What makes this movie so incredible is that while it is indeed a movie about magicians (or illusionists) it is also a complex character study about how self destructive obsessions are with a sideline love story and a sci-fi twist. A unique plot with an amazing cast--any of whom could believably garner an Oscar nomination. Christian Bale was amazing in one of his rare cockney performances. We already know from Kate and Leopold how well Hugh Jackman plays a distinguished English gent. He's absolutely priceless. Is there any point in discussing Sir Michael Caine? He brings polish to the movie.

This is the kind of flick that you can discuss for weeks after. The plot is so detailed and complete and open to interpretation. My friend and I have been discussing various nuances of this film for the past 3 weeks. It definitely stays with you.
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Kirpianuscus26 January 2016
a film about magic at different levels. the magic as art. the magic as axis of life. art as only way to survive. beautiful, mysterious, ambiguous and almost impeccable. in fact, brilliant job. and this status is result of delicate-precise mixture of acting, impeccable story, splendid atmosphere and the feeling than competition escapes from the screen. a seductive detail - David Bowie as Nikola Tesla, a role who gives to film a special flavor. at first sigh, story of a cruel fight for success. or a portrait of manipulation art. in fact, fresco of a time. and one of admirable roles for Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman.
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Imaginative and intriguing crash of wits between two famous magicians
ma-cortes9 December 2008
This enjoyable and fresh story about intense rivalry among magicians is set in turn-of-the last century, London.Robert Angier(Hugh Jackman) his wife Julie McCullough(Piper Perabo) and Alfred Borden(admirable Christian Bale) are friends and magician's assistants. Then Julie accidentally deceases during a sideshow , Robert accuses Alfred for her killing . A new assistant named Olivia(Scarlett Johansson) helps Robert and he falls in love with her, though later she fell in love with another man. The magicians use their powers to combat among them. Both become prestigious magicians and get mutual envy. Magician Robert sees the Borden's transportation show and he becomes obsessed with his magic trick. They battle each other for their magic tricks and Robert attempts disclose the secret about disappearance from his contender with fateful results.

This splendid movie is stunning in many aspects and blends appropriately various genres: the lush romantic period piece during nineteenth century Victorian Era, mystery thriller and fantasy.The picture gets it all : suspense, mystery drama, star crossed lovers,plot twists, murders,tragedy and supernatural illusions . Featuring an excellent casting, as main actors, Jackman, Bale, Johansson as eclectic secondaries, Caine,David Bowie,Andie Serkis and Rebecca Hall.Luxurious attention to period detail in brilliant costumes and spectacular production design . Beautifully and mesmerizing cinematography by Wally Pfister. Intriguing and evocative musical score by David Julyan. The motion picture is perfectly directed by innovator director Christopher Nolan, author of various masterpieces: ¨ Insomnia,Memento,Batman begins, Dark night¨. At the same time was made another film(2006)with similar theme titled 'The illusionist'by Neal Burger with Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti and Jessica Biel which also achieved much success. Rating : Above average, it was throughly amusing and exciting, and no as predictable as you would think. The film results to be a complete pleasure to watch these actors at this work,it's highly recommended and keep you guessing until final.
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Batman and Alfred (outside Gotham) meet Wolverine
lee_eisenberg29 December 2008
In between the Batman movies, Christopher Nolan cast Christian Bale and Michael Caine in "The Prestige". It tells the story of magicians Alfred Borden (Bale) and Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman). Initially partners, they had a falling out and became rivals. From there the movie becomes a battle of wits, showing how the men have no aim except to destroy the other. Caine plays John Cutter, the state engineer who works for Angier.

I notice similarities between this movie and some of Nolan's others. There's the non-linear plot, like "Memento"; one-upmanship, like "Insomnia"; the question of morality, like in "The Dark Knight". But what impressed me more than anything was all the stuff about magic tricks, how the characters use the tricks against each other, and how they both use Olivia Wenscombe (Scarlett Johansson). Angier's and Borden's rivalry mirrors Nikola Tesla's (David Bowie) rivalry with Thomas Edison.

All in all, I recommend this movie. It's both a look into the world of magic tricks, and also the dangers of obsession with revenge. Also starring Andy Serkis (Gollum in the LOTR movies) and Ricky Jay (a real-life magician).

PS: other 2006 movies dealing with magic tricks are "The Illusionist" and "Scoop" (also starring Hugh Jackman and Scarlett Johansson).
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A Great Tale of Rivalry, Obsession, Revenge and Sacrifice
claudio_carvalho28 April 2007
In the end of the Nineteenth Century, in London, Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman), his beloved wife Julia McCullough (Piper Perabo) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) are friends and assistants of a magician. When Julia accidentally dies during a performance, Robert blames Alfred for her death and they become enemies. Both become famous and rival magicians, sabotaging the performance of the other on the stage. When Alfred performs a successful trick, Robert becomes obsessed trying to disclose the secret of his competitor with tragic consequences.

"The Prestige" is a great tale of rivalry, obsession, revenge and sacrifice. The unpredictable screenplay has many twists, disclosing unusual situations and hooking the attention of the viewer until the very last scene. Christopher Nolan, after the masterpiece "Memento", offers another excellent movie for the cinema lovers, better and better than the Oscar winner "The Departed". The amazing dispute between the outstanding Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman is supported by the extraordinary Michael Caine and a wonderful cinematography. My vote is nine.

Title (Brazil): "O Grande Truque" ("The Great Trick")
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Does anybody look better in a top hat and tails than Hugh Jackman?...
AlsExGal10 February 2019
... but I guess that is really beside the point.

Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman play two young British magicians - Alfred Borden and Robert Angier - trying to learn the tricks of the trade, somewhat even allied at first. Borden is a common Londoner, but Angier is to the manor born, using an alias in his magic work so as to not to embarrass his rich Victorian family. In the pursuit of a more fantastic trick a terrible accident occurs and Angier loses somebody close to him, vowing revenge against Borden, whom he holds responsible.

These two are both the Roadrunner and Wiley Coyote to one another. Each one tries to sabotage and learn the other's tricks, make each other look ridiculous, etc. Angier is the more dangerous of the two because he is truly intent on killing Borden when he infiltrates his "catch the bullet" act early on in the film and, instead, maims him. The rivalry ratchets up to increasingly dangerous proportions. It is ultimately a fine piece of drama as to how far these two are willing to go in their obsession and for their art, with them both ultimately living tragic and miserable lives in the process. So much sacrifice for what most people would consider a trivial pastime. It is madness beyond obsession.

This is a very entertaining and thought provoking film, and there is plenty of foreshadowing. Watch closely and watch it twice. I honestly don't think Christopher Nolan would be capable of linear storytelling if his life depended on it, but he is a master of this adapted material. At the end I could only go - "Brilliant".

Scarlett Johannson plays Angier's lover who has a pivotal role in how the final act plays out. Rebecca Hall is Sarah, Borden's wife, who can't figure out why her husband seems to only love her on some days. David Bowie lends a real air of mystery to his portrayal of Nikola Tesla. But who else but Bowie could believably introduce his character by walking through lightning? Yes, the Tesla-Edison feud gets incorporated into the film and even a sci-fi angle is thrown into the plot. Michael Caine, as Jackman's magician mentor, seems to be playing his Alfred character from The Dark Knight. He has a supporting role, but watch him carefully, he has some of the most important lines of the film. And his final decision - do you think it was correct? Did two wrongs make a right in this unique situation?

I wish I could tell you more, but I would give away the plot if I did. This is truly one of the better films made in the 21st century, and I largely don't like films made after 1960. Highly recommended and a real head scratcher, especially given the last line of the film.
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orko_dutta13 July 2019
The final reveal in a magic trick is the most thrilling experience. So is that of this movie. The Prestige is a masterful exercise in storytelling with superb direction and powerful performances. I was floored by the deftness of how Nolan weaved and juxtaposed the non linear narrative so flawlessly. What makes this movie so incredible is that while it is indeed a movie about magicians (or illusionists) it is also a complex character study about how self destructive obsessions are with a sideline love story and a sci-fi twist - very unique.
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Remarkable. Nolan's best
ceeingred1329 February 2012
This movie was truly a game-changer for me. I initially saw it simply because I enjoyed some members of the cast so much (Bale, Caine, Bowie), but I left the theatre in awe. It is such a well-written, layered, intense, character driven story on par with Faustus or Jekyll and Hyde in terms of characters that are overly driven by their obsessions. It invites you to watch in the first lines of dialogue and from that point forward, you hardly have a choice. One of Nolan's strengths is that he doesn't shy away from difficult stories to tell. None of the characters are entirely likable. It's hard to pick someone to root for, but that is one of the things that makes them so human. Jackman and Bale are both fine actors that attack their roles with tremendous capability and Rebecca Hall is one of the best discoveries I've had in movies. Even Johansson, who is easily the weakest link, was used sparingly and didn't detract from the movie. The plot is fascinating and leads to an immensely satisfying ending. I can't watch this enough times.
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(Magic) Layers
kosmasp19 October 2010
I really don't know where to start. The great production design, the fabulous acting, the great cinematography, the superb writing, the awesome directing ... I really don't know. But I do know, that this is another Nolan movie. Which kinda is a trademark or became one for me. That is why the number one movie I was looking forward in 2010, was "Inception".

But I will get into that other movie on its own page. If you haven't watched any Christopher Nolan movie yet ... well it's almost not possible. Even if you got away from all the buzz Memento created, it's almost impossible, that you haven't seen at least one of the Batman movies he made. Then again you might not be into that sort of movies. And that's the great thing about Nolan. Making entertaining movies, that have substance.

Maybe Insomnia is his "weakest" movie (if you count the reception it got) and "Following" was just a student film, but even those two are a showcase of his talent. But then again, I might be just a fan-boy drooling about achievements that you think are not worthy mentioning. You have to make up your own mind ... start with this mind-boggling or with any other of his movies ... Repeated viewing is almost necessary! And you will most likely want to anyway!
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Great entertainment, though it pigeonholes itself there
benm-4175113 February 2018
This movie is very engaging and intriguing. You are presented with a complete mess of scenes which go back and forth through time and are needlessly confusing, yet the core story and the characters were compelling enough to keep me interested and paying attention. The cinematography, the sound, the acting, and the visual elements are all perfectly in place, and overall its very entertaining.

My only concern is that the film prevents itself from achieving greatness by relying heavily on a very cheap, shallow plot element. It becomes science fiction, which is fine but a bit strange after spending so long convincing me the characters are real. This is something I find with all of Nolan's movies, that they present themselves as being mysterious and secretive but fall a little flat if you apply any brain power to them.

Still, I think this movie is worth watching if you're looking for something a little suspenseful, a little creepy, and very entertaining. Maybe the movie's ultimate goal is the same as a magician's, as said in the movie: that one moment where the audience is in awe and disbelief.
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Masterfully Handled!!!
artistgp23 February 2012
I continue to be blown away at how fantastic this film is. It is executed with extreme precision. Every aspect of the film, all the way from visuals to the character development, is masterful.

I'm not sure how it fared awards wise upon its release, but it should have racked up quite a few. The story is wonderfully layered, the acting is superb, the directed is spectacular, etc. I can't find anything about this film that I would change.

Congratulations to the entire team that put this project together. I consider it one of the best films of all time.

If you have the opportunity I strongly urge that you check this film out. I think you'll be glad you did.
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UK ( A+ Movie) My Ratings 10/10
Muhammad_Rafeeq13 December 2021
The Prestige is my most favorite movie of Nolan. This movie is magic in itself. It has broken timelines which enhance the storytelling and it is done artistically. It was feeling like an ordinary movie until the major twist reveals. It's a masterful exercise in storytelling with superb direction and powerful performance. The character development was brilliant.
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I'm addicted to it
cogleone18 July 2007
Every so often I see a film that I get addicted to. As soon as I watch it in the cinema I know I'm going to buy it the day it comes out on DVD.

Well The Prestige is the latest of these. This film gets better and better with each viewing. Hugh Jackman should have won many awards for his role. People say "Oscar" but there are better awards out there than that, the Oscars are about as representative of what's the "very best" as the IMDb's Top 250 list is.

People have told me that they predicted the end, well that's their funeral, I never clicked until it was revealed for me, so I got much more value for my money.

Christopher Nolan is a master. Even though he seems quite humourless in his DVD extra interviews. He makes extremely entertaining films that are well cast and superbly executed, just as the Prestige is.

All those who never liked the film should be rounded up in a field and used for crazed scientific experiments, we could use Tesla!
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"The Prestige" starts well but cheats with its own premise...
ElMaruecan8225 May 2018
There are many kinds of magic: wizardry à la 'Harry Potter', illusions or hallucinations, or entertaining shows: mediums, rabbits in top-hats, women sawed in half, bag-content guessing, magic cards etc.

Speaking of cards, Christopher Nolan's "Prestige", made between two 'Batman' movies, lays its cards at the first voice-over monologue where we immediately recognize Michael Caine's smooth voice. It's about the third kind of magic and provides the three structural rules of an act: it starts with the Pledge: you show something normal then the Turn, you make it do something extraordinary... but there's an element of expectation and the higher your reputation goes, the more sophisticated the public. In fact, there's got to be something unpredictable, so it all comes down to the Prestige, the trick no one sees coming and will earn magicians applauses and guess what? prestige.

Then, the least you can expect from the film is to follow these three rules even in the loosest possible way if it means wowing you with a spectacular surprise. And given that it's a Nolan film about the deadly art of illusion, much more opening with the killing of a magician, the imprisonment of his rival whom everything accuses, your twist-radar is set from the start, so not any twist will do. Whatever the prestige will be, if it's not venturing in the realm of feasibility, something will have been missed. We're dealing with magic after all, not fantasy, not sci-fi. I insist on the sci-fi element because the film opens with some electrical contraption that shakes its credibility from the start until a reassuring trap door shows and we can let a sight of relief go.

French called electricity a Fairy so it all makes sense that magicians would use it as a device for generating illusion, just like rivals Edison and Tesla were perceived as wizards. After all, it's also established that magic is about what you see and what you don't and the use of lights and darkness is integral to the act. Still, I didn't like that machine. It felt incongruous and weird in a period drama and I was afraid Nolan would end up inserting some Batman-like device. And when he said in the "making of" video that he wanted to portray magic according to his personal vision of film-making, I thought "no kidding?", I'm pretty sure everyone got the parallel, especially when magical acts use special effects worthy of a Spielberg film.

So Nolan gets a little carried away at the end while the first two acts of the movie had really gotten me involved, I mean the escalating rivalry between the two magicians Alfred Bowden (Christian Bale) and Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and their attempts to destroy one's act or find one's secret. What Nolan got right is that the rivalry mostly works as a foil to plunge us in the world of magic and know all the tricks. After all, that's the greatest thrill about magic, seeing how it works. For instance, the way a magician puts a dove in a cage and then flattens it to magically making the dove reappear under a handkerchief always made me scratch my head... but in this Dickensian universe where there's no pity for little children, why should there for innocent animals?

The trigger of the rivalry also helps to understand how one of the most famous magic tricks, the "escape from the tank water" that made Houdini's reputation, is indirectly explained. Working as false audience members, Bowden and Angier are assigned to tie the magician's pretty assistant (Piper Perabo), one of them makes the kind of knot that doesn't leave any chance for the poor girl, who happens to be the other's wife. We gather that from then, it's personal. Another pivotal moment occurs when one conceives his masterpiece, an act that consists on getting in a door and coming out of another. He calls it "The Transported Man", for us, it looks like teleportation and it justifies why the rival is devoured by jealousy, although Caine's character can only see one explanation: there must be a double.

At that point of the review, it's impossible to go further without spoiling the film. It's engaging enough to make you forget there's a twist but it's not spoiling the film to say that there's a twist, since it's the essence of magic. You've got to wow the audience with a surprise at the end. With the seemingly death of a character right at the start of the film, the battle to know everyone's tricks and the existence of a double, anyone could reassemble the pieces of the puzzle. But you know Nolan has more than a trick in his sleeve and that's both a blessing and a curse. Granted anticipations are to be toyed a little to be emotionally rewarded, all he had to do was working on the narrative structure to make what we know first a more effective reveal or a shock.

Instead of that, Nolan relied on a far fetched revelation combined with an implementation that destroyed the whole atmosphere built throughout the film. From the start, we follow magicians who are dedicated to their passion, which is good, but the escalation toward sadism and some ends-justifying-the-means means made their whole approach to their art debatable, leaving no room for sympathy. In this cruel battle of wits, women are reduced to disposable pawns (Rebecca Hall and Scarlett Johannsen would get more dimensional roles in a certain Woody Allen's movie).

The first two acts, we can call them 'pledges' and 'turns' are great but then the film goes downhill. One thing for sure, I hated that Tesla Machine, and no offense to David Bowie, but Tesla was quite a handsome fellow whom I doubt spoke with such a heavy British accent. Nolan wanted his film-making to echo magic, but he let the reverse thing operate.
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liamshaw-402582 May 2022
This film continues to astound me with its brilliance. It's done with exceptional dexterity. Every part of the film is great, from the graphics to the character development. I'm not sure how well it did in terms of accolades when it came out, but it should have piled up quite a number. The tale is richly layered, the acting is great, the direction is breathtaking, and so on. There isn't a single aspect of this picture that I would change. Congratulations to the whole team that worked on this project. It is one of the finest films of all time in my opinion. If you have the chance, I strongly advise you to see this film. You'll be pleased you did, I believe.
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Top Notch cast and many plot twists will make this film a must see
adudewhoiscool18 March 2007
In a modern age where most films are either: remakes, sequels, or prequels it is nice to be able to view a modern day original film. Yes, it is an adaptation, from a book, but many viewers will probably not know that until they actually begin to watch the movie, like this reviewer. Rolling Stone magazine (as printed on the DVD cover) said it best, "You want to see it again the second it is over." Christopher Nolan, who last directed one of the best comic book movie adaptations, in "Batman Begins," does it again with "The Prestige."

"The Prestige" is based on a book, of the same title, that was written by Christopher Priest. The story is about two magicians who have been rivals to each other ever since the day they met and throughout the course of time, each of them tries to gain an advantage over the other. Eventually the friendly rivalry becomes an obsession. Their obsessions over trying to discover how the other does the trick, or how to upstage that trick, could turn into something that would kill one another.

First things first, this reviewer will not make any comparisons to the other magic movie, "The Illusionist." What this reviewer will talk about is the plot. The story is fantastic. You cannot help but stay alert, and throughout the film you want to know what will happen next. There are many twists and turns to the plot, which will make you say, "How did I not catch that?" There is a quote in the movie that is used frequently, "Are you watching closely?" You need to be paying close attention in order to catch all of the various twists throughout the film.

Besides all of the various twists, the acting was also fantastic. Hugh Jackman was a big surprise success as Rupert Angier. Christian Bale is always good and the trend continued as Alfred Borden. Michael Cane as always was great as Cutter. Scarlett Johansson was also very good as Olivia Wenscombe. Even David Bowie and Andy Serkis popped up as Nikola Tesla and Alley.

Overall, there is not much to complain about. If you are looking for a movie about magic with a hint of science fiction, you should enjoy this. If you enjoy Christopher Nolan films, you should see this movie. If you enjoy movies in general, you should see this film. It is a shame this movie did not win any academy awards. "The Prestige" is recommended!
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