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The Prestige

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

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Bale and Jackman are Spellbinding in the Prestige

  • Jan 13, 2008
  • by
Rating:
+3
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, while a wizard is a true master of magic. The Prestige deals with the magician and is an altogether confusing movie that moves forward and backwards in time too incoherently to create a cogent story.

The Story

Co-written and directed by Christopher Nolan (Batman Begins, Insomnia, Momento), The Prestige is hard to wrap your mind around at first. The story centers on magicians Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman – X-Men, Van Helsing, The Fountain), and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale – American Psycho, Batman Begins, 3:10 to Yuma). The two are arch-rivals who used to be associates.

They became bitter enemies and rivals after Borden caused the drowning death of Angier’s wife Julie (Piper Perabo – The Cave, Coyote Ugly) by playing with the trick that she was part of. After her death the two magicians spar trying each trying to one-up the other’s performance. After Borden creates a trick called The Transported Man Angier becomes obsessed with finding the secret of the trick. He sends his assistant and lover Olivia (Scarlett Johansson – Lost in Translation, Girl With the Pearl Earring, A Love Song for Bobby Long) to spy on Borden and ascertain his secrets, but she resents being used and ends up having an affair with the married Borden.

Things continue to tumble out of control after Borden’s wife Sarah (Rebecca Hall – Wild Sargasso Sea) hangs herself after learning of her husband’s dalliance with Olivia, and Borden is accused of killing Angier.

My Thoughts

As I stated at the outset, The Prestige is altogether confusing at the beginning. That is because the movie time travels extensively from the present to the past and back again with such fluidity, one will quickly become lost unless one is paying very close attention. Think Momento wherein the movie winds backwards through the narrative; after all both movies were directed by Nolan.

At first this smooth slide in time-lines doesn’t play well with the mind, but halfway through the movie all of the pieces start to come together to form a well crafted whole. And there are surprises hidden amidst the magical interplay; indeed most come near the end of the movie but they are big. While The Illusionist (2006) relies on special effects to tell a lot of its story, The Prestige takes us into the underbelly of world of magic and musician showmanship; the movie takes some of the wonder out the field, but that’s not all bad.

Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman do a masterful job as the dueling magicians, while Michael Caine turns in a fine performance as Cutter the engineer behind Angier‘s magic. And David Bowie deserves mention as Nikola Tesla one of the pioneers of AC power generation at the turn of the 19th century.

In the final analysis The Prestige is a complicated intelligent tale that genuinely beguiles and entertains.


Recommended:
Yes

Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older

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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 . 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 31, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
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 …
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
Vincent Martin ()
I am an IT Professional and have worked in the industry for over 20 years. I may be a computer geek, but I also like reading, writing, cooking, music, current events and regretfully, politics.
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Wiki

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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