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The Prestige

Director Christopher Nolan's dark 2006 thriller about the fierce rivalry between two magicians.

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  • Mar 31, 2007
Pros: Probably the single most...different movie plot I've ever seen.

Cons: Sometimes hard to follow the heavy English accents

The Bottom Line: Don't look away...

Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.

Are you watching closely?

I’d heard all sorts of good things about The Prestige so one day when my mother and I were out running errands, we decided to pop into the video store to see what was out. With little else to choose from and both of us having heard it was a good movie, we got it. No disappointment here.

Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) is a magician. He used to work for another magician until one day the assistant – also his wife drowned. Her death was the result of a specific knot tied around her hands by Alfred Borden (Christian Bale). That’s where their rivalry got its ugly start. As time passed, each man strove to have the better magic trick. It grew beyond revenge for Angier into something else entirely, but each of them got their hands dirty in some shape or form. Finally there was just one trick left for them to outdo each other with: The Transported Man. But each man has his own methods…if only they would just leave each other alone…except then they would never have learned the ugly little secrets lying beneath the tricks…

That’s really the best I can describe it for you. In a movie full of magic tricks and obsessive desires to be the best magician over one another, there are bound to be numerous twists and turns. You have to pay close attention at all times because missing something could lead to confusion later on. It’s hard to explain a movie like this because it’s just so strange and unique. I’ve certainly never seen anything like it. I was very impressed. And with a great cast that includes Michael Caine, (ok, ok, and Scarlett Johansson too), you can be sure the acting is top notch.

The setting is early 1900s when horse and buggy carriages were still means to travel in cities, though electricity, trains, and automobiles are up and coming. All the details are very well done, dark colors throughout the movie, or at least little color is involved, and the costuming is spot on.

You’ll be glued to this movie, trying to figure out what is going on – whose secret you can figure out, and there are at least two big ones that you’ll find out at the end of the movie. Will you be able to guess them before the end? That’s always the big question. Here’s what I managed. I figured out Hugh Jackman’s. If you paid attention, you’ll remember what he found and you’ll figure out what he’s been doing. And it’s super creepy I might add. That was the weirdest part of the movie – great, but very “whoa, that’s freaky.” I never guessed Borden's secret. I should have because I knew that his associate was not who he claimed to be and I had this nagging feeling of who it really was, and was right, I just didn’t get the final puzzle piece for it to make sense. So close.

It’s a strange movie, to be sure, but still well worth watching. Kudos to the creator of the story, and kudos to everyone else who crafted the rest. Impressive in every shape and form. It may be a while before I watch it again though. Heh. Angier...disturbing.



Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Fit for Friday Evening

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More The Prestige reviews
review by . July 01, 2011
Warner Bros. DVD review
I've not much to type of Christoper Nolan's finest accomplishment that hasn't been stated before. At this juncture, it wouldn't be unfair for the Nolans to abandon non-linear plotting; they've exploited the conceit so thoroughly here in conjunction with numerous interrelated visual metaphors in order to fully explore a variety of Victorian themes: the thrill of technology-driven entrepreneurship during the onset of modernity, science as magic explained and the nature of dualistic …
review by . December 30, 2009
A mind bending and twist a minute thriller....
I've seen some movies that try to blow your mind, I've seen some movies that try to challenge you and make you believe in the unimaginable. The Prestige does both, it challenges you while making you think you know what is going on and just when you have it all figured out it throws a Monkey wrench into your plans and leaves you totally baffled and dumbfounded even after the ending, so the real question is what is true in this film? and what is a lie?         The Prestige …
Quick Tip by . July 27, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
A few flaws, however a great , great film. Chris Nolan has yet to make a bad film. Christian Bale is oscar-worthy is this movie.
review by . May 15, 2009
The Prestige
The Prestige is probably one of the most underrated films of this this past decade.  With such a great cast that included Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Caine and Scarlett Johansson, this great drama/thriller did not get all the attention it deserved.  This probably had a lot to do with the fact that The Illusionist was released around the same time of The Prestige.  One thing is for sure, this film was pure magic.      The Prestige follows two magicians, …
review by . September 09, 2009
Two rival magicians in the late 1800’s.  Each trying to sabotage each other, outdo each other, and decode the secrets of each others tricks.  The twists and turns in this movie never seem to end.  The story even brings in Houdini’s water closet escape trick as well as the great scientist Tesla.  The story does exaggerate a lot about Tesla but it seems to work in this film.   The acting is first class and Michael Caine puts in another great supporting spot.  …
review by . January 13, 2008
Pros: Great story-line and performances; outstanding direction.     Cons: Hard to wrap your mind around at first...     The Bottom Line: In the final analysis The Prestige is a complicated intelligent tale that genuinely beguiles and entertains.      Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. According to The Prestige (2006) there is difference between a magician and a wizard; the former entertains with gimmickry, …
review by . April 18, 2007
There were many surprises at this year's Academy Awards. One of the biggest was the absence of nominations for several films, most noticeably this one. Containing no sex, no nudity, no bad language, no gore, no grand action scenes, minimal comedy, a non-descript sountrack, and only several seconds of violence, this movie has none of the hallmarks of a top movie. But a top movie it is; it sat atop the box office charts for a month and everyone who has seen it comes away impressed. This is one of …
review by . April 17, 2007
This movie has certainly captured the art of magic, its complexities and wonder. As two friends' different philosophies on magic set tensions in motion, it is a tragic death that forever puts a wedge between them. A rivalry ensues between the more penetrating Borden (Bale) and the showman Angiers (Jackman). With three different time lines moving all at once through most of the movie, there's really never a moment's boredom. This storytelling is efficient and compelling. The characters are rich--they …
review by . March 29, 2007
Two rival magicians (Jackman and Bales) in the late 1800's. Each trying to sabotage each other, outdo each other, and decode the secrets of each others tricks. The twists and turns in this movie never seem to end. The story even brings in Houdini's water closet escape trick as well as the great scientist Tesla. The story does exaggerate a lot about Tesla but it seems to work in this film.    The acting is first class and Michael Caine puts in another great supporting spot. Scarlett …
review by . March 17, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Outstanding performances, very tightly controlled story and imagery      Cons: One romp into the unreal that is a little hard to accept      The Bottom Line: One of the best DVD's I've seen in a long time. Worth the time and effort (attention is required).      Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie''s plot.      The Prestige (latest movie by the Nolan brothers who gave …
About the reviewer
Nicole ()
Age: 27 Currently: Freelancing my butt off and querying my other novel, Blood for Wolves. Who likes seriously factured fairy tales? =D      Like books? Then take it from a real, live … more
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About this movie


The Prestige represents the second film that Christopher Nolan directed that Christian Bale starred in; the first was Batman Begins. 

Christian Bales character in The Prestige was named Alfred.  Alfred is the name of the Michael Canes character in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.  Cane has co-starred with Bale in all three of these films, coincidentally directed by the same director of all three, Christopher Nolan. 

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