FILM: The Prestige (2006)

Watching The Prestige is like watching a magic show.

Spectators sit on the edge of their seats, watching performers with narrowed eyes. They seek to catch every movement the magician makes in the hopes of uncovering his secrets.

The movie follows two magicians in a deadly rivalry. Christian Bale plays Alfred Borden, who always seems to be a step ahead of his more flamboyant colleague, Robert Angier, played by Hugh Jackman. Love is won and lost. Leading ladies Scarlett Johansson, Rebecca Hall, and Piper Perabo are dazzling in their portrayal of round characters who compliment their male counterparts.

The supporting actors are talented and well-known: Michael Caine, David Bowie, Andy Serkis, the list goes on. Each does exactly what they’re meant to do: support Bale and Jackman as they awe us with their acting performance and magic show.

Most Prestige-watchers won’t uncover the secret behind the movie’s trick until it’s revealed at the end. Then, spectators will want to see the film again so that they can be in on mystery. Surprisingly, learning the secrets behind their tricks doesn’t detract from the mystery of their act. A magician isn’t supposed to reveal what Borden and Angier do throughout the film. The workings of their magic act are meant to be closely guarded secrets.

The movie wouldn’t work – or would leave viewers seriously angry – if it didn’t let them in on the secret. But by doing so, The Prestige breaks the magician’s code. This is my only complaint.

The movie deserves to be watched more than once. The Prestige seems to have been made with this in mind. The second viewing will be as enjoyable, if not more so, than the first.

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