This movie has been out awhile but I finally got around to watching the DVD. I enjoyed it and will have to watch it again to pick up some of the things I missed.
There is some great imagery in it: like the field with a number of top hats all sitting askew in the dirt with black cats milling around.
Michael Caine serves as the narrator and also plays Cutter, a designer of illusions used by magicians.
Cutter: "Every great magic trick consists of three acts.
The first act is called The Pledge: the magician shows you something ordinary, but of course, it probably isn't.
The second act is called The Turn. The magician makes his ordinary something do something extraordinary. Now, of you're looking for the secret. . . . you won't find it.
That's why there's a third act, called The Prestige. This is the part with the twists and turns, where life hangs in the balance, and you see something shocking you haven't seen before."
The basic plot concerns the rivalry between two magicians in early 20th-century London.
The movie gives you perspective from the magician’s eyes. You see how things are done. Early into the movie, a magician makes a canary disappear from its cage; we're shown how he did it and what the fate of that poor bird was.
Hugh Jackman is Robert Angier, an American exile pursuing a career in the magic trade in turn-of-the-century London.
Christian Bale is a local, Alfred Borden. He is more inventive and less charismatic on the stage.
They were young magician apprentices together, but became split apart after a terrible accident claimed the life of Robert's wife. They become direct competitors, trying to outdo each with magic.
Alfred creates the ultimate trick:The Transported Man.’ He walks through a door on one end of the stage and instantly appears in a similar door on the other end of the stage.
Robert becomes wildly jealous of Alfred's trick and superior talents, so in an attempt to steal the secret, he sends his assistant, Olivia (Scarlett Johansson), over to Alfred to deceive him.
The obsessed Robert even travels to Colorado to see Colorado Springs scientist and inventor, Nikola Tesla (David Bowie). Telsa’s specialty is electricity. He powers the city from his house and being an inventor, has created an electro-magnetic machine that may or may not be the secret to Borden’s trick.
Robert wants his help and money is no object.
There are great scenes during some of the magic tricks with impressive electrical arcs flashing all over and the lingering question as to whether the machine works or not.
Christopher Nolan’s film has a lot of twists and turns, creating a movie that needs to be watched closely and probably more than once. He is most known for directing Memento and Insomnia.
Note: real magician Ricky Jay has a small part in this movie. I always enjoy his character acting.