The Prestige


(out of 5)

The filmmakers have just as much fun pulling sleight-of-hand tricks on the audience as their characters do on stage in this vibrant Victorian drama that encompasses mystery and romance into its tale of rival magicians.  and  are both strong as two magicians who meet while working for a minor ham () and are parted by tragic circumstance, setting off a chain of events that see them competing for top place in the arena of London spectacle. The film actually begins with a murder trial that has Bale imprisoned for allegedly killing Jackman, though flashbacks (and flashbacks within flashbacks that thanks to Christopher Nolan’s strong direction never becoming too confusing) reveal their separate stories, including the fascinating investigation of a scientist ( as Nikola Tesla) who creates a machine that purports to perform actual magic. It’s absorbing viewing, but it isn’t as mesmerizing as it wants to be; somehow the film, which includes great supporting performances by  and , beautiful cinematography by Wally Pfister and sumptuous period detail, is never more than the sum of its parts. It is, however, a proud display of the Nolan brothers’ commitment to taking the mind on increasingly twisted journeys that began with their masterful Memento.

Touchstone Pictures, Warner Bros., Newmarket Productions, Syncopy

USA/United Kingdom, 2006

Directed by Christopher Nolan

Screenplay by Christopher Nolan, , based on the novel by

Cinematography by

Produced by , ,

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

Academy Award Nominations
Best Art Direction (art direction: Nathan Crowley; set decoration: Julie Ochipinti)
Best Cinematography (Wally Pfister)



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