The Prestige, a movie review

A movie review by: Lee Sonogan

(2006) 2h10min/Drama, mystery, sci-fi


Alfred Borden: Are you watching closely?

Hugh Jackman is a great actor. This movie is about after a tragic accident, two stage magicians engage in a battle to create the ultimate illusion whilst sacrificing everything they have to outwit the other. Directed by Christopher Nolan, this movie stars Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman and Scarlett Johansson. A movie about magic and so much more.

The word ‘prestige’ originally meant a trick, from the Latin ‘praestigium,’ meaning ‘illusion,’. The film cast includes two Oscar winners, Christian Bale and Sir Michael Caine, and one Oscar nominee, Hugh Jackman. Ricky Jay, who played a magician in the film, coached Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale in their sleight-of-hand techniques.

David Bowie plays Nikola Tesla as well!

List of goofs in the movie:

  • The spider web shaped cracks that appear in the glass boxes when characters attempt to smash them indicate they are made of laminated safety glass, a material held intact by a thin layer of flexible vinyl sandwiched between two sheets of glass. Laminated safety glass was discovered by accident in 1903 and patented in 1909, well after the timeline of the movie.
  • The welded wire mesh embedded in the fence at the laboratory in Colorado Springs was only patented after the events in the movie and would not have been available at the time.
  • During the magic show where Alfred meets Sarah for the first time, on both sides of the stage, there are statues looking exactly like the two guardian statues found in King Tutankhamen’s tomb, not discovered until 1922.
  • When Angier and Cutter discover playing cards attached to the bottom of their pint glasses, the glasses they are drinking from are ‘Nonic’ glasses. These were designed in the 1960s to protect straight glasses from nicks and cracks when cleaned in automatic dishwashers.
  • Borden mentions that a ‘penny’ could be slipped into the barrel of the pistol used for the bullet catch trick. English pennies of this period were substantial and wide, much wider than the barrel of the pistol being used by Borden could accommodate.

Out through the whole movie, Bale’s and Jackman’s characters are out to destroy each other. For that kind of genre of movie, this movie can go in the list of the best of that. It’s even better with all the practical effects, developed scenes and imagery. The ending is impressive and hard to see coming if have not seen the movie before. I recommend the movie to everyone who likes Christopher Nolan, Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman.


Cutter: Now you’re looking for the secret. But you won’t find it because of course, you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to work it out. You want to be fooled.

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