The Prestige

October 20th, 2006

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The Prestige

Still of Christian Bale in The PrestigeStill of Piper Perabo in The PrestigeStill of David Bowie in The PrestigeStill of Hugh Jackman and Christopher Nolan in The PrestigeStill of Michael Caine in The PrestigeStill of Christian Bale and Christopher Nolan in The Prestige

The rivalry between two magicians is exacerbated when one of them performs the ultimate illusion.

Release Year: 2006

Rating: 8.4/10 (314,334 voted)

Critic's Score: 66/100

Director: Christopher Nolan

Stars: Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson

In the end of the Nineteenth Century, in London, Robert Angier, his beloved wife Julia McCullough and Alfred Borden 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.

Writers: Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan

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

Taglines: A Friendship That Became a Rivalry.


Official Website: Touchstone Pictures [United States] | Warner Bros [France] |

Release Date: 20 October 2006

Filming Locations: Belasco Theatre - 1060 S. Hill Street, Downtown, Los Angeles, California, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $40,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $14,801,808 (USA) (22 October 2006) (2281 Screens)

Gross: $53,082,743 (USA) (4 February 2007)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

'Scarlett Johannson' and Rebecca Hall also appeared together in Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

Revealing mistakes: Near the end of Cutter"s Summation, Alfred Borden picks up his daughter with left arm. It is very quick camera shot, but all five fingers are revealed.

[first lines]
Alfred Borden: Are you watching closely?

User Review

A Stylish, Uniquely Twisted Period Piece

Rating: 8/10

What "The Prestige" does very well is recreate a period of show business history near the turn of the century in which competition between magicians was serious and intense. The workings of the complicated illusions are gorgeously brought to life via smartly detailed apparatus that replicate the actual mechanics of Victorian legerdemain.

Much of the film rings very true, such as the all-consuming obsessions of the lead characters to be the best and outdo all others. It's an easy step to accept that such unwavering determination spills over into deadly territory, as rival magicians suave Rupert Angier (a riveting performance by Hugh Jackman) and audacious Alfred Borden (Christian Bale effortlessly playing a brooding lower-class Brit) each seek to wreak continuing revenge upon the other.

The story, though adapted from a novel, feels like a perfect fit for director Nolan's sensibilities, as the machinations of the two men become increasingly convoluted during a back-and-forth tug of wits that keeps you guessing in the style of Nolan's "Memento." As the game grows increasingly deadly, and threatens to consume all they love, the film becomes a fascinating study in single-mindedness.

The work is epic in sweep, beautifully filmed, and strongly acted. The only odd note in casting is David Bowie as Nikola Tesla (he looks nothing like the actual Tesla, if you care about these sort of things, and his appearance calls attention to itself as superstar casting often does), but Mr. Bowie holds his own. Solid performances are all around, with Michael Caine adding dignity and depth as the old master, Scarlett Johanssen as the as the lovely stage assistant who becomes the third point in a twisted love triangle, and even Andy Serkis (Gollum!) in a memorable supporting role.

The introduction of Tesla adds yet another twist, as the film shifts from real-but-possible stage illusion to steam-punkish sci-fi. This transition is a hard note to pull off, since the beginning of the film doesn't quite suggest such a direction, but if you're willing to let Nolan lead you on the journey into increasingly fantastic realms, the narrative rewards you with thought-provoking moral and dramatic exploration of the issues raised.

A truly entertaining movie, and an original, unusual, dark ride -- well worth seeing in a theater for its grand scope and vision.

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