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The Prestige

A Friendship, That Became a Rivalry...A Rivalry, That Became a Battle. 

Year: 2006 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Christopher Nolan 
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Scarlett Johanssen  
An image from The Prestige

The title refers to the form of a magic trick, as Michael Caine’s character sums up. What if illusions, like stories or sonatas, have three acts: predge, turn, prestige? The film delicately tries to internalise this structure, with a final flourish always kept in mind. A shuffled plot conceals and gradually reveals secrets throughout the film, with the largest rabbit being kept in its hat until the very end.

At its heart is a rivalry between two magicians, enemies ever since a tragic accident on stage. The showy, confident Angier (Hugh Jackman) and reserved Borden (Christian Bale) are worlds apart, but each work on their own version of a teleportation routine. As the flashbacks unfold, we see their families neglected from the dedication, and the lengths to which both men commit to their art–one even testing the possibility of physical magic by visiting Nikola Tesla (a majestic David Bowie). One of Christopher Nolan’s most beguiling and thought-provoking films, with two characters fascinating enough to match his usual narrative sleight-of-hand.

Max King


A magic trick ending in fatal accident sparks a bitter feud between two magicians, resulting in a life long battle to create the perfect illusion. Robert Angier’s (Jackman) quest for revenge on fellow magician Alfred Borden (Bale) spirals into a vicious conquest riddled with envy and deceit, resulting in deadly consequences for the both of them. When Angier discovers that his rival has created the ultimate illusion, nothing can deter him from his dangerous obsession of discovering the secret and reigning supreme over his rival…

If the impressive cast list is the first thing that catches your eye about this film then you’ll be pleased to know this is most definitely not all the production has to offer. The spectacular illusions and the lavish costume and scenery of turn-of-the- century London provide a visual masterpiece that complements the film’s mysterious and intriguing plotline.

The film’s narrative splits into three separate periods of time, the beginning, middle and end virtually running along side each other throughout the entirety of the film. This unique development of events will keep you suspecting and guessing the whole way through, with not only a huge twist at the end of the film that will leave you completely stunned, but also with plenty of revelations beforehand to surprise you. The acting is absolutely brilliant; Hugh Jackman is perfect as the tormented soul driven to obsession by revenge, Christian Bale brings in an impressive mixture of comedy, passion, violence and sex appeal (all with an acceptable cockney accent), and obviously an account of Michael Caine’s performance isn’t needed.

This film has the perfect ingredients to keep you completely immersed for two hours; magic, romance, comedy, fight scenes, an abundance of plot twists and an appearance from David Bowie for those of you who like your cameos. A visually and dramatically engaging work of art that’s not to be missed.

Amy Flinders

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Screenings of this film:

2006/2007 Spring Term (35mm)
2006/2007 Spring Term (35mm)
2022/2023 Autumn Term (35mm)
2022/2023 Autumn Term (35mm)