The Prestige (2006) – 9/10 period mystery movie review

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Cast / crew
Director, Producer and Screenplay Writer: Christopher Nolan
Screenplay Writer: Jonathan Nolan
Writer (Original Novel): Christopher Priest
Hugh Jackman: Robert Angier
Christian Bale: Alfred Borden
Michael Caine: Cutter
Scarlett Johansson: Olivia Wenscombe
Rebecca Hall: Sarah
Andy Serkis: Alley
Piper Perabo: Julia McCullough
David Bowie: Tesla

The Prestige (2006)

Professional magicians Robert Angier, The Great Danton, and Alfred Borden, The Professor, are intense, bitter rivals whose animosity becomes heightened when Borden performs the “greatest magic trick ever” and Angier knows he must know the secret. Whatever it costs.


Employing a technique that works a billion times better in books than on-screen is a trap that many filmmakers have fallen into. Perhaps, even, it only works in books. So why is Christopher Nolan’s brilliant period mystery about feuding magicians so joyously absorbing regardless? Perhaps because there’s always more going on. For example, what appears to be the central plot point isn’t (how the trick The Transporting Man is performed). Remarkably, the movie works as a mystery with a twist that’s delightfully imaginative and macabre to those who do and do not work it out. Early on, you’re told how The Transporting Man is done, only it tells you nothing. Ultimately, it’s all wheels-within-wheels with the biggest wheel, SPOILER Tesla (wonderfully realised by David Bowie), never explained at all and you probably only genuinely realise this after the movie. It is simply, magic, and, despite Scarlett Johansson, so is this film.

This movie contains unpleasant scenes, brief but strong gun violence

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.


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