Revenge Is a Dish Best Served with Smoke and Mirrors
Release Date: October 20, 2006
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale,
Scarlett Johansson, Michael
Caine, David Bowie, Andy
Serkis, Piper Perabo, and
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 129 minutes
Distributor: Touchstone Pictures/Buena
Vista/The Walt Disney Company
Director: Christopher Nolan
Executive Producer: Charles J.D. Schlissel, Chris
J. Ball, William Tyrer, and
Producer: Emma Thomas, Aaron Ryder and
Writer: Jonathan Nolan and Christopher
Address Comments To:Robert Iger, President/CEO
The Walt Disney Company
(Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, and Buena Vista Distribution)
Dick Cook, Chairman
The Walt Disney Studios
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521
Phone: (818) 560-1000
A magician’s illusion consists of three acts: the Pledge, the Turn and the Prestige. In the Pledge, the magician presents the audience with an ordinary item, such as a bird in a cage on a table which he then covers with a handkerchief. In the Turn, the magician does something “magical” before the audience’s eyes, such as slamming the handkerchief flat and making the bird and the cage disappear from the table. However, making something disappear leaves the audience feeling incomplete and wanting more. That is where the Prestige occurs. The magician doesn’t make the bird and cage reappear on the table. Instead, he pulls the bird out from behind an audience member’s ear. The unexpected, the secret that “wows” the audience that is where a magician finds his Prestige.
In turn-of-the-century London, two young magicians, Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Borden (Christian Bale), ply their trades in various ways, both with varying results. Angier is the flashy, sophisticated showman who understands that audience members want to have more than a night of illusion. They want an entertaining show filled with wonder and amazement. Borden, on the other hand, is the nuts-and-bolts magician who loves magic and illusion, not flashy shows.
When one of Borden’s mistakes during a water illusion causes the drowning death of Angier’s wife, the two men become bitter enemies. Soon, the men are no longer interested in illusions for an audience. They are now interested in humiliating each other, destroying one another’s professional careers and stealing each other’s trade secrets.
Their rivalry comes to a head when Borden introduces his greatest illusion, The Transporting Man, a trick where Borden enters a doorway on one side of the stage and then exits through another door on the other side of the stage. Angier becomes obsessed with finding the secret to this illusion. Eventually, his obsession builds to a deadly rivalry that finds the two men facing off in a slight-of-hand, deceitful climax filled with twists, turns, and. . . The Prestige.
Well-written, well-directed and containing outstanding performances from Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale and, not surprisingly, Michael Caine, THE PRESTIGE is a taut thriller filled with exciting twists and turns. The movie and the script contain some slight-of-hand and smoke and mirrors that provide wonderful foreshadowing that keeps an audience member engaged until the final curtain falls and the Prestige is revealed. As far as the quality of the production, the movie is top-notch.
As far as media-wise acceptability, however, this movie contains elements of extreme caution. The entire plot revolves around revenge and deceit as the two men fight to get even with each other and to steal each other’s professional secret. These elements are opposite the biblical notion of forgiving your enemies and loving those who wrongfully use you.
The other cautionary elements involve an adulterous affair that one of the men has with his mistress as well as some heavy violence and disturbing imagery. Older audiences may enjoy this movie for its story, quality and thrilling twists, but MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution for children and teenagers.
THE PRESTIGE is a taut thriller. It features outstanding performances from Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale and, not surprisingly, Michael Caine. THE PRESTIGE contains elements of extreme caution, however. The entire plot revolves around revenge and deceit as the two men fight to get even with one another and stealing trade secrets. These elements are opposite the biblical notion of forgiving your enemies.