‘Prestige’ is magic

By Stacie Wieland

“The Prestige” is the story of Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale), two up-and-coming magicians who become locked in a bitter rivalry —driven by the need to outshine the other and to keep their audiences in constant awe. When Borden showcases an amazing new trick no one can explain, “The Transported Man,” Angier is fueled by a dark obsession. He becomes desperate to find out Borden’s trade secrets and will stop at nothing until they are revealed.

From the moment the film begins, “The Prestige” is altogether intriguing, mysterious and captivating. Director Christopher Nolan (“Memento” and “Batman Begins”), presents a compelling, fast-paced film that captures the audience’s interest as soon as the title plays across the screen. The plot twists and turns as the past and the present become entwined, forcing the audience to pay attention in order to piece together the story.

Michael Caine plays Cutter, a turn-of-the-century magician’s best friend — a man who works behind the scenes to help pull off the illusions on-stage. He introduces the significance of the film’s title. He explains that all great magic tricks consist of three parts —”The Pledge” (introduction); “The Turn” (trick); and finally “The Prestige” (finale). This final act is what sells the trick. Of course, a magician can make something disappear, but can he or she make it reappear? This theme is used throughout the entire film, and most impressively, in the climax, which doesn’t disappoint.

In terms of casting, the decisions couldn’t have been better. Bale and Jackman give absolutely stunning performances, both evoking a realistic and undeniable intensity that translates beautifully on-screen. And though the plot has Angier and Borden at its center, the supporting cast delivers right on cue.

While “The Prestige” is a complex story, it is nothing short of extraordinary and will keep the guesses coming until the very last “Abracadabra.” Don’t blink. Watch closely.