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Late in the 19th century, the friendly rivalry between stage magicians Robert Angier and Alfred Borden becomes a vengeful battle when a trick goes wrong, with tragic results. For the rest of their lives, the men try to outdo one another, each taking increasingly extreme measures to expose the mechanics of his opponent’s sleight of hand.
But it is his obsession with Borden’s “disappearing man” illusion – in which the magician appears to transport himself across the stage in a split second – that drives Angier past the point of reason. He stops at nothing in his attempt to discover the secret behind the trick and to devise his own, particularly spectacular version.
Magic, we are reminded in ‘The Prestige’, is an illusion grounded in what we do not see – or, at times, in what we don’t wish to see. The film is jammed with mind-bending plot twists – a hallmark of director Christopher Nolan’s films – but perhaps what is most gratifying is that ‘The Prestige’ is itself structured like an elaborate magic trick: as the story comes to its conclusion, we realise that the secret to the puzzle was in plain sight all along, if only we had known where to look.
About the Director
One of this century’s most successful filmmakers, Christopher Nolan was born in London in 1970. After the international success of his mind-bending second feature, ‘Memento’ (2000), he has made a string of well-received films, including his Batman trilogy – ‘Batman Begins’ (2005), ‘The Dark Knight’ (2008) and ‘The Dark Knight Rises (2012) – and several others that explore themes of perception, consciousness, time and identity, including ‘Insomnia’ (2002), ‘The Prestige’ (2006), ‘Inception’ (2010) and ‘Interstallar’ (2014).
- Christopher Nolan
- Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan, based on the novel by Christopher Priest
- Emma Thomas, Aaron Ryder, Christopher Nolan
- Lee Smith
- David Julyan
- Wally Pfister
- Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Scarlett Johannson