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The Prestige (2006) Movie Review

How far would you go to achieve perfection? Are you willing to sacrifice your mentality to outlast your opponents and improve in every way?

The Prestige explores themes of betrayal, rivalry, sacrifice, and obsession with art. A harrowing film that explores these dark and realistic instances of a man going to great lengths to beat a rival who also has the same idea as his.

Plot Overview

The Prestige is set in London during the 1890s. Two magicians, Robert Angier, and Alfred Borden, work as assistants to John Cutter, a skilled engineer specializing in stage magic. After a failed water tank magic performance, Angier's wife dies, and he blames Borden for sabotaging her act. The two decided to perform in separate ways. Borden begins his solo performances while Cutter helps Angier with his own acts. During one of Borden's bullet catch performances, Angier arrives and sabotages it, and shoots off two of his fingers. Sometime later, Borden develops a transporting man trick where he hides in a wardrobe and comes in a different one, which piques Angier's interest, but he cannot decipher how he does it.

Angier hired a double named Garden Root to perform his version of the trick. However, he is not satisfied because after the trick ends, his double gets the audience's approval. He orders his assistant, Olivia, to spy on Borden and learn about the trick. His plan did not work after she fell in love with Borden. Borden asks for her assistance to sabotage Angier's trick that left him crippled. Angier confronted his former assistant and gave him Borden's encoded diary. He deciphered the word Tesla in his notes. Angier set out to America to meet the famed inventor and asked for help perfecting his Transporting Man trick.

The Prestige showcased the incredible talents of Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Michael Caine, Scarlett Johanson, and Rebecca Hall. Plus, it's from the acclaimed director Christopher Nolan.


The Prestige storytelling style resembles a magician performing a magic trick on stage. It starts with a setup, like a performer preparing his tools on stage. Then comes the actual performance, like how he shows his hands, and the object vanishes from his hands. After doing it successfully, comes the surprise that will blow the audience's minds. Everything in this movie is executed with precise calculation and care.

Christopher Nolan's metaphysical directing style is evident in this film. His fascination with using the concepts of space, time, memory, and identity is carefully constructed in this movie. This may not be his best work, but it still holds its own against his other juggernaut classics.

I also like the characters. Hugh Jackman's portrayal of the villainous Angier might be one of his iconic roles apart from Wolverine, and Christian Bale's performance as Borden is also not something to be forgotten.

What I like about The Prestige is that it kept the story anonymous after the movie ended. It keeps you guessing even after the credits roll. It is not an easy-to-understand popcorn flick but leaves everything to your interpretation.

A very good 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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