Cinema Junkie by Beth Accomando
Friday, October 20, 2006
Michael Caine and Hugh Jackman in The Prestige.
Christopher Nolan proved himself in the indie ranks with films such as Memento , and then played ball with the big boys on films such as Batman Begins . Now he takes another big studio turn with the period film The Prestige (opening October 20 throughout San Diego) about rival magicians.
The Prestige informs us right off the bat of what it is going to do. Michael Caine's cockney Cutter (a man who designs the equipment to pull off the illusions) tells us that every magic trick consists of three acts: the Pledge, the Turn and the Prestige. The Pledge is where the magician shows you the ordinary with a promise to make it extraordinary. The Turn is when he actually pulls off the extraordinary. And that's when you might be prompted to ponder how the trick is done. That's where Cutter says the third act comes in: The Prestige. This is the part with the twists and turns, where lives hang in the balance, and you see something shocking you've never seen before. The film then sets itself up to pull off a cinematic magic trick with similar elements. But the promise of something extraordinary is always difficult to pull off, especially when you've challenged the audience to watch attentively because you're about to trick them.
October 30, 2006 at 04:04 AM
You can figure out the film in the first 20 mins. my big problem was I couldnt tell the actors apart, both were dark haired and really didnt have enough personality for you to care. I left thinking with this premise so much more could have been done. -----
October 30, 2006 at 07:49 PM
You couldn't tell the difference between Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale? You need to get out more...
October 30, 2006 at 08:19 PM
I am not that sure about not being fooled... I did not notice that Christian Bale had a twin and that was the origin of his trick. Indeed, Nolan gives all the elements necessary to construct the argument along the movie but I do not thing he made them obvious. I only caught them retrospectivelly. I enjoyed the movie, I enjoyed being fooled, so the magic was done for me. I could have pointed the same argument in Sixth Sense, because in that movie, for some reason, I already knew Bruce Willies was dead after the first 20 minutes. I think it is unfair of me to say that Sixth Sense is a bad movie that does not accomplished what was intended. Simply, I was particularly perceptive that day, perhaps. With respect to one of the comments: the two characters were supposed to have many similar features. I still could tell them apart. Specially when Scarlet Johanson's character goes to Christian Bale to steal his secret. I immediatly turned to my friend and told her: "Big mistake, you never send the girl to someone more charming than you are". So, I guess they were different enough.
November 01, 2006 at 04:52 AM
I thought the movie was good, but I can see how many might figure out the gimmick early on. However, I found your review through "Rotten Tomatoes," and you spoiled 3 or 4 other movies that I had intended to see by blatantly revealing the twist. All this to make what point?
November 01, 2006 at 04:43 PM
I honestly couldn't dissagree with this article more. It seems that the reviewer found the character development lacking because it was not perfectly obvious, although it was subtlety that made the relationships interesting. Also, what difference does it make if you can guess the way a story will play out? Most intelligent human beings can guess the way many good movies will end, but that doesn't usually get in the way of enjoying them. Oh well, i guess some people are never satisfied.
November 02, 2006 at 06:15 AM
I wanted to let you know that I cited your review in my own. http://reviewingwhatever.blogspot.com/
November 03, 2006 at 03:42 AM
So, did Hugh Jackman replicate himself or was he duped by Tesla?
November 03, 2006 at 11:15 PM
I didn't discover Christian Bale's character had a twin, but I was pretty pleased to have figured out the complex secret of Hugh Jackman's character. This was the goal of the movie- to divert your attention from the obvious explanation (the twin) and keep you guessing on the much more complex. Kind of like a magic trick.
November 04, 2006 at 03:44 AM
Wow! It's great to see so many comments. This is definitely a film that is more fun to talk about with people who have seen it because you don't have to worry about giving away anything and ruining their enjoyment of the film. Apologies to the person who felt my review gave away too much but I don't think I gave away the twist and I really only discussed what happened in the first 20 minutes or so of the story. I try not to reveal too much of the plot in reviews but I have to reveal enough to be able to discuss the film's themes and whether or not it worked. As for my disappointment with the character development, what I found frustrating was that the most interesting part of the film involved the choices that the two magicians made in regards to how they lived their lives and the puclic and private deceptions that they maintained. But because these aspects were kept secret until the end the filmmaker couldn't really delve into them and I would have loved to have seen that aspect of the story developed. As for never being satisfied, check my reviews of Shortbus and the SDAFF films Three Times and A Bittersweet Life--they were more than satisfying to me. Thanks to all who have posted comments. I appreciate feedback and I love to see people engaing in a discussion about film.
November 04, 2006 at 07:51 AM
I agree with the reviewer. I just came from seeing this movie and am feeling hugely disappointed. I expected much more intrigue and plot from this film, especially after the highly disappointing and predictable "The Illusionist", but unfortunately found them both equally predictable and therefore ultimately boring. The characters were indeed flat and one-dimensional, and the female supporting characters left much to be desired in terms of positive feminine representation. Regarding the "big secrets" of the film, one was terribly easy to figure out halfway through the film, especially as I am a huge fan of Christian Bale and would know him with my eyes closed. And the other big 'twist' at the end was so unlikely and fantastical it just made me mad. I felt that the film kept trying to convince the audience that something big was coming, that we were going to be fooled. But as the original reviewer said, once I had the movie pretty much figured out I found myself bored with the remaining superfluous dialogue and weak drama and sat for forty-five minutes just waiting for it to end. As a cinematic optimistic I did want to give the movie the benefit of the doubt, so while I thought I had it nailed I found myself hoping that I was wrong, that something was coming that would shock or surprise me. But when the actual surprise did come, it just didnt make any sense and almost made the forced drama laughable. I will just move on from this film and wait for the next Bale flick, since it can only get better from here. In the meantime I will continue to love and recommend 'Memento', 'Equilibrium', and 'Newsies'.
November 05, 2006 at 11:37 PM
Question - wouldn't have Hugh Jackman been killing himself?
November 06, 2006 at 05:58 PM
He was killing himself. You're right. He says something to that effect at the end, and it went along with the theme of making sacrifices as a magician. This review and its comments remind me of when Sixth Sense came out. People were falling all over themselves to brag that they'd figured out the twist before the movie was done. And then, unsurprisingly, they didn't enjoy the movie. Maybe the feeling of being so very clever is a good substitute, worth the ticket price.
November 06, 2006 at 06:00 PM
Question - how did you christian bale know to refer him to Tesla? Only after reading these blogs did i realize he had a twin. This whole time i thought bale cloned himself ONCE! so that he can do all of his tricks. Where as hugh jackman used tesla multiple times for his tricks? Thanks for the insight. If i am giving away to much info delete this post plz. (i got the impression the ppl reading thses blogs have seen the movie already)
November 07, 2006 at 08:24 AM
after seeing the movie i left the theather thinking to myself that i had missed something. i just refused to believe that tesla's machine worked as it appears to work, that is just stupid and in my opinion defeats the hole concept of the magician as i think it's (mostly) been used in this film. shouldn't both (bale's and jackman's) ways of performing the trick be feasible? obviously bale's is, but when i finally realized that i hadn't miss anything and that there was nothing else but what i had manage to get from the ending i did became really dissapointed. from what michael cain's character says at the beggining of the film regarding the three parts of the magic trick and how the spectator prefers to remain ignorant of how the trick is done so he wont be dissapointed when he realizes that the actual trick will usually be rather simple and mundane and it wouldn't spoil the whole thing it seemed to me that in the universe of the film the notion of "real magic" had been discarded, so i didn't expect that ending in wich a magical element is involved (that of a machine that could not have been invented according to the setting of the film), i liked everything else about the movie, i don't think the characters are that bad and i loved the way everything looked, but that ending really ruins it all. and yes, i agree with those who have said that you can guess what's happening pretty soon (maybe not in 20 minutes but definetly sooner than it was intended by the filmmaker), i don't usually mind when this happens, sometimes what matters is how the story is told and not necessarily what is told; in this case though i think its a double mistake.
November 07, 2006 at 11:13 AM
The tessla trick belongs in another context and another movie .. it's the old star trek transportor malfunction dilemma touching on questions of personal identity. been there, seen it done better. The necessary suspension of disbelief, possible in a 24th century setting simply does not work at the end of the 19th century. I found the conclusion morally and philosophically disturbing. If it is generally true that it is more difficult to kill a being that you perceive to be more like you than to kill one that you see as less like you then killing someone that is closer to you than a twin suggests truly extraordinary depravity. Some movies are engaging, this does engage. Some movies are engaging and leave you with a feeling of elation or continued involvement in the ideas presented, this is not one of those movies.
November 07, 2006 at 07:01 PM
Yes, Brenton, I also thought that the "surprise" of the movie had to be so much more than him having a twin. I thought that had been brought up and dismissed so early on that I myself dismissed it as being the "real" twist (because after all, what kind of "twist" would it be to revisit a notion that had already been dangled in front of me in the first 20 minutes of a movie??). I remember during the "electrical convention" scene, where Tesla refused to show himself, some connection was made between Bale's character and Tesla, so I assumed Bale's character had used Tesla to clone himself once. (I don't remember seeing his "twin" anytime before that scene.) And I thought the whole twist of the movie was that Bale had cloned himself once, but Jackman was doing it over and over again (meaning Bale came out "on top" morally, because he did it once, and kept that personal alive, only deceiving his audience for the trick, but Jackman was killing). I guess I also thought the movie was fantastic, because I thought he was a clone, not a twin. Who's to say what the filmmaker intended? Maybe all the "twin" theorists out there are wrong??? I guess I will have to read the book by Christopher Priest to figure it out!! Someone help!
November 08, 2006 at 12:42 AM
in the final scene between jackman and bale the word "twin" is specifically said, there's no room for doubt about that. you are correct lindy, no one can be sure of what the filmmaker intended, we can only speculate.
November 09, 2006 at 04:09 PM
I too walked out of the movie disappointed that Nolan would postulate a working duplication machine. I did not expect this of Nolan. In his prior work Nolan never employs unrealistic machines. For example, in "Batman Begins" Nolan explains how Batman's gadgets work. This got me to thinking: Could Nolan be pulling off his own magic trick? Is there evidence in the film that Tesla's machine really does not work? If so, it might be early in the film. I invite film goers to watch the film carefully for clues.
November 11, 2006 at 02:29 PM
Although the movie seems to suggest that the duplication machine actually worked, until near the end of the movie I refused to accept it, because I thought it would be too absurd. When Jackman performed his last trick, I was initially under the impression that he was sacrificing the drunk lookalike (or vice versa), which would have been an interesting twist in its own right. But the movie seems to confirm that it is an actual clone. Which brings me to my next point. The person above me asks, could it be possible that the machine DOESN'T work and that Nolan is fooling us into believing it does? From what the movie portrays, I doubt it. After all, there were THREE Jackmans shown (the original, the one that died from the last trick, and the one shown in the water box at the very end of the movie) (I'm disregarding the clone that Jackman shot when he was giving the machine a trial run, since that is solely Jackman's word and he could be making it up). We know for sure that there are two non-cloned Jackmans (the original, and the lookalike), but to make it three there would have to be a clone (or someone could say it was Jackman's own twin, or another lookalike, but that would be a bit of a stretch). Now, if the movie had shown only TWO Jackmans (the original, and the one that died from the last trick), then there is a possibility that the machine did not work, and Jackman had to sacrifice the drunk lookalike (or vice versa). In this case, you would also have to explain how Jackman managed to repeat the "Real Transported Man" trick (after all, he had performed it more than once before the performance in which Bale went backstage). The explanation would be that in those previous performances, the Jackman that fell through the trapdoor didn't die - the boxes that were discarded after every performance would have been empty. It would just so happen that in the performance in which Bale goes backstage, the Jackman that falls through the trapdoor dies (probably set up by the surviving Jackman to incriminate Bale). Of course, if the machine didn't work, you would have to explain a lot of other scenes in the movie, such as the "cloned" cats and hats, Tesla's warnings, etc etc etc, but I'm too lazy to think of explanations. Anyway, I know its unnecessary to be writing all this, but I just thought it would have been an interesting variation. :)
November 11, 2006 at 05:15 PM
I'm impressed that comments are still coming in on this film. Maybe we should start a Prestige anonymous group to meet and discuss it. I found it fascinating to see some of the different interpretations.After seeing all these comments I should have included The Sixth Sense as companion viewing because I had forgotten how that film had stirred some similar discussion about story twists. I'm happy to see that the comments are also turning into a dialogue between people posting. Keep it up and maybe check out some other films for discussion. Beth Accomando
November 11, 2006 at 10:45 PM
I agree with those who believe the machine DID work and also that this plot device was a disappointment, both because it was so far fetched and because as soon as we saw the cloned cat, we knew what was coming. As far as Bale's twin being a surprise, the fact that Jackman's character used a double for his trick and that Caine insisted Bale was also using a double, certainly introduced the question of a double or a twin, especially when Johannssen's character noted that Bale's missing fingers were visible on both men during the trick. (I started thinking, well, he could be obsessed enough with topping his rival that he would find a double and cut off his fingers as well.) The fact that the big, hairy guy (whom I think made his first appearance in the "catch the bullet" scene as a manager/security guard) was the twin didn't occur to me right away, but after a few scenes with him, I did recognize him as Bale. I thought he was a double, but the fact that he was a twin wasn't that big a surprise. I guess it was a small shock that he was living a double life outside of his performances too, but not really, because the wife's whole "Do you love me today" routine was so in your face that I started wondering why and later put it together that it wasn't the same man every day. Anyhow, I found the movie to be enjoyable up until the cloned cats, then it got too unbelievable for me to get into the suspense of who would come out on top and how it would happen. I did enjoy the acting and the beautiful costumes and sets, though.
November 12, 2006 at 02:11 AM
I got a couple of silly questions... So in the end... Do the main characters really die?.. Does the "twin" that was supposed to be hangged, manages a magic trick and "escapes" when he said abracadabra or does he really dies??? We get to see one in the theater and one picking up the girl...might be two different moments in time... but what if? Does Jackman really dies or is one of the clones that gets killed and the real one still around? If he where to destroy all the props of magic,he had, including the Tesla machine. Maybe he meant to killed his last clone, in that theather without risking his life, as he previouly had done. Silly questions... I totally know that but hey! they crossed my mind. :P
November 12, 2006 at 08:10 AM
I think the movie "The Prestige" did exactly the opposite of what all these comments say. The actual "prestige" and ultimate magic trick is NEVER REVEALED! The ending is a PARADOX! The true magic trick is this... Hugh Jackman's character "Danton" never truly knows whether he is the "Showman" bowing before the crowd to thunderous applause or the "Man in the Box" drowning under the stage. It ultimately boils down to this. Either Danton(jackman) was transported outside the transporter unit during his trial run with the device and was killed by his duplicate(or clone) or Danton was not transported in his trial run and the man that was shot was the duplicate(clone). Either way, the man Christian Bale's character killed WAS NOT the ORIGINAL DANTONE! If you believe jackman was killing a duplicate everytime the trick was performed. using logic you would be forced to accept the idea that the original danton(jackman) was killed in the trial run and ONE duplicate jackman was killing many other duplicate jackmans. or, on the other hand that the original danton survived the trial run and ended up drowning in the tank during the first show. The true beauty and real "prestige" of this film is that the magician himself(danton) as well as the audience, have absoulutely no idea how the result is actually achieved. I would welcome any comments against my comments or to the specifics of how you think the end played out.
November 12, 2006 at 08:24 AM
What about the end of the film, where the narrator (Caine?) says something to the effect of the fact that we won't guess the 'trick', because we 'don't want to'... Sorry that my memory isn't better, but I felt that there was definitely the suggestion that all wasn't what it appeared to be, even with Hugh Jackman in the water box as the credits rolled.
November 12, 2006 at 08:55 PM
The point of that narration at the end, as I took it, was that Hugh Jackman's character knew how the trick worked. His trick was better using the same principle. He didn't want to know. He wanted something more, and his obsession demanded something more.
November 12, 2006 at 11:08 PM
One interesting theme that was used in the movie, that could help shed some light on why many people feel somewhat dissapointed with the finally, is the simple idea expressed in the movie, that once the audience knows how the magic trick works you lose your power over them. Just like once we figured out what the trick was, the movie did not hold the same power over us. If the director is as good as his earlier work suggests, could he have known this effect would occur and actually incorporated that into theme of the movie. In a way putting you in the same emotional state of the characters, searching for an answer that is right in front of your face, but one you do not want to accept. Or was is simply not that good?
November 13, 2006 at 01:26 AM
Well if you make something, that in the end has people talking about it and still trying to figure it out after they seen it and are done with it... then I think it was something well done.
November 13, 2006 at 05:05 AM
I have seen the film once and I think seeing it twice would help to work out what happened, but I am pretty convinced Tessla's machine did work and that duplicate Jackman's were being created (and drowned) each time the trick was performed. I think this was behind the idea that the trick would only be performed 100 times, possibly to limit the immorality of killing a person each time. My reading of the ending is that a duplicated Jackman remained alive, with the unspoken potential of a final (lethal) surprise appearance before Bale.
November 13, 2006 at 07:44 AM
In the novel, Borden has an identical twin brother. However, the film departs so much from the novel, whose to say if Nolan's intention was for us to believe Borden cloned himself one time. I think it's more interesting that way, actually! I highly recommend reading The Prestige to anyone who loves a great novel, regardless of what they thought of the film. All Priest's novels are exceptional.
November 13, 2006 at 07:56 AM
I too thought both actors looked very similar and the lighting was often dark so I was confused as to whom I was actually watching at times.As a man I don't keep that track of similar looking male faces. I believe the implication is that Jackman was cloning himself each night. However I also pondered the possibility that Tesla's machined never worked at all and the "results" at the test with Jackman's hat and later with the cat were staged so Tesla could keep getting funded. They do show a pile of magician's hats at the beginning. My questions are... who was hanged? Were the twin Bale brothers equally gifted magicians?
November 15, 2006 at 01:20 AM
If Bale's character does, in deed, have a twin, then what's the connection between him and Tesla? Is "tesla" just the 5 letter word Borden chooses, the word that is to be used to decode his ciphered journals? Does he know of Tesla's work as a scientist and cleverly choose this code word because it relates to what his trick attempts to do? Is there any other connection or did Borden, in fact, only duplicate himself one time and has no twin? Is there any other explanation if you dont buy into my aforementioned suggestion?
November 15, 2006 at 04:41 PM
I agree with all those flustered by the opening act of this film. I was so distracted by Michael Caine sounding like the Geico Gecko, that I couldn't get past The Pledge!
November 15, 2006 at 06:57 PM
Help. In the last frame of the movie, after Jackmon's character is shot, was the real Jackmon alive, or was that just one of his dead clones in a water tank??
November 16, 2006 at 02:00 AM
I too left the cinema wondering what the ending meant - but that doesn't take away 2 hrs of enjoyment. I must be stupid as i didn't "guess" Bale had a twin until it was revealed - but then again i never realised the twist in Sixth Sense until it happened! My take on the ending is thus - if the machine worked, then every night (apart from the first) a cloned Jackman would "disappear" (to die in a water tank?) and another cloned one take its place - unless the real Jackman survives every night and somehow kills the re-appearing clones somehow. None of this is ever explaine.If the machine didn't work, then how does Jackman appear on a balcony around 5-10 seconds later? And why doesn't he want Caine downstairs - is this beacuse this isn't a trick and would upset Caine who is the ultimate magicians friebd. There are more questions than answers - but hey, thats what makes it a good film and stands out from Scary Movie 34 that will be out again next week.
November 16, 2006 at 09:39 PM
Everyone is always so quick to see movies in black and white. People tend to get focused on things they deem to be "obvious", then... they take everything they "think" they know and make it a "fact". To me, there was nothing obvious about this movie. I left the theater in a daze and my mind has been running in circles ever since. Everyone thinks they were watching closely, but they weren't. Everyone that saw this movie was tricked. There was no definate "reveal" at all. For me, the "Prestige" was that they finally made a movie you can't figure out. I've heard a lot of people say "Borden cloned himself once & used that one clone to do all of his acts." Really? Then explain this: Borden went to Angier's show wear he used "The machine" and ended up in the balcony. He was blown away and became obsessed with trying to figure out how he did it. He told the Scarlet: "All we know is that there's a trap door! What's going on under that stage?!?" So... if he went to Tesla and got cloned and he "directed" Angier to Tesla, why would he be so shocked by the trick? Wouldn't it be obvious to him that his rival was using the same methods as himself, only plotted out in a different way? Some people have said: "Angier wanted to die the way his wife died, and he purposely put the tank below the stage so he could suffer the same death as the woman he loved." Really? Then explain this: Why did Angier look so shocked when he was in that tank? Why was he pounding on the glass? Why did he look confused by what was going on? Why did he look so scared? There are more plot twists that I could layout like these 2 but I think I've made my point so I'll leave it at that. The Prestige is awesome. I'm gonna go watch it again.
November 16, 2006 at 10:02 PM
All this talk and NO ANSWER----was that a LIVE Jackmon in the final frame, after his clone was shot??? OR was he a dead clone floating in a tank???!!! The result changes the entire movie....
November 16, 2006 at 11:04 PM
Dang, I wish I could tell the whole world! I wish I could get on the National News and shout: THIS MOVIE LEAVES YOU GUESSING! THERE ISN'T A SOLID "THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED" CONCLUSION! YOU DON'T TRULY "FIGURE IT OUT"! ... I LOVE IT!
November 17, 2006 at 01:08 AM
I came to this review specifically looking for answers to the ending. I cannot believe that the Tesla Machine actually works as a duplicator. That goes against everything this movie is about. This movie is about magic tricks, not sci fi. Even the ending indicates that the Tesla Machine was a hoax. It teases us with the voice over saying we the audience have been given clues to figure it out but that we probably won't figure it out because we don't want to see the reality behind the illusion. So many clues indicate that Tesla was a fraud. His sudden departure, the mysterious 'bell men' at the hotel, the generic nature of the items cloned. The fact that Bale sent him to Tesla in the first place - would he really have sent his enemy to someone who could create 'the greatest magic trick of all time' or would he have sent him to a shyster who would sucker him out of all his money? Definitely the latter. The film blatantly tells us to figure it out.....The only conclusion I can think of is that the first dead Danton (Jackman) was the drunken lookalike and the second dead Danton was a twin (Ta da!) and the third Dead Danton (Shot) was the original. Anyone else got any other possible explanations (besides the totally unbelievable duplication one)?
November 17, 2006 at 08:30 AM
Wow, It's sad. We live in world that has completely destroyed our ability to leave anything unexplained. Yes, the cloning machine worked. Yes, it doesn't fit into what we deem to be the laws of the universe and how things work. I make a point, especially as an amateur filmmaker, to enter the universe of the film and let it lead me where it will. Only after the film is over do I allow myself to dissect and analyze, unless the movie plain sucks. What I find funny is when people go in and look for any possible flaw and then come out disappointed when they find some. The better they think a movie will be, the worse they are. It's the worst in the West where we have been completely brainwashed by Scientism and have developed a strange need for everything to fit into our preconceived and often ill-informed ideas of how the world works, even when those rules no longer need apply. I'm not going to say this was a perfect movie. I did find the plot a little contrived in order to come to the ending it did, I found the departed to be the same, and most movies that try to surprise you with an interesting plot twist. One poster found the female roles to be rather weak and demeaning. Welcome to Hollywood. However, I really enjoyed the movie. I was engaged and I let the movie carry me to its desired conclusion instead of trying to force the movie to how I wanted it to be. While I would have loved a more complicated explanation for how things were done, I don't mind when magic or the fantastical is used. From the sound of it, many would only be satisfied with an ending that left things unresolved. Of course, a) that's not how Hollywood works b) it would lead to discussion, but most would be pissed off and generally unsatisfied. To the guy that says this movie can't be figured out, sure, in your world anything you want can never be figured out. In the movie, things are generally brought to a rather complete and somewhat depressing conclusion. To the other person, Danton is dead. In an attempt to get revenge for the death of one person, he has to kill himself many time over. To everyone, this movie is not that complicated if you pay attention. You won't find one that really takes some thinking to figure out that doesn't also leave parts to the imagination of the audience. And to all those who ruined the movie for themselves, way to go, here's an imaginary cookie.
November 17, 2006 at 07:40 PM
I agree with the posting above me, and that we're supposed to enjoy things and not disect everything to the point of ruining the experience. After all, it IS hollywood and that has limitations. That being said, however, I must point something out that no one is remembering: it is, in my opinion, a definitive conclusion that Jackman was cloning himself every night. This was explained by using blind men as his backstage "hands" and why they showed a scene with a horsedrawn carriage carting off a huge covered item every single night after the show. Blind men can't see the dead bodies in the water. That is also why he did NOT want Michael Caine backstage because Caine was all about the showmanship, the presentation of magic. Jackman knew that if Caine knew the truth, he'd be disgusted by 1) the immorality of murder; and 2) the fact that Jackman wasn't really doing magic (okay this second one definitely takes a backseat to the murder one...hehe). As far as Borden, regardless if the other guy was a twin or a clone, one of them I think DID die in prison and one stayed alive to raise the daughter. The "trick" effectively coming to an end with the death of the clone/twin. I think when the clone/twin was about to die and had that twinkle in his eye, I think it was because he knew that the other one on the "outside" was still going to be alive and it would look like the clone/twin had somehow escaped the hangman's noose, that Borden ended up really fooling everyone (sort of). One other point: Caine at some point told Jackman (my paraphrasing, can't remember exact scene) that you have to supply the people with a way to think they have the trick figured out. In other words, TRUE magic would scare them, not entertain them (and would thus stop being "magic"). That's why I thought Borden's "twin" was actually a clone. He didn't have a twin so he duplicated himself, and let the people who really want to "figure it out" think it's a twin. Anyway, I'd love to hear some other info supporting or debunking my theories (this posting thing is becoming really interesting!). Lindy
November 17, 2006 at 10:03 PM
I believe the filmmakers made it clear that Borden's double was a biological twin. The wonder of their "act" was their ability to live 2 lives as 1 person. They literally lived their act. But they were forced to sacrifice their individuality to enjoy the spoils of their illusion. Danton, on the other hand, created a double through science, then proceed to kill one of them every night for the sake of the act. So while the Bordens were artful, Danton's act was evil: Danton used science to create, and then destroy, human life, similar to the raising and destroying of the birds in earlier scene. It was Danton's obsession to top the Borden's that led to his moral demise. Ultimately, I was disappointed in the film. I, too, figured out that the Dantons were twins fairly early. And I was hoping that the Tesla duplicator was just another hoax cooked up by the Bordens to embarrass Danton. But the story's ending made it clear that this silly sci-fi angle was injected into an otherwise clever story of illusions. The body floating in the chamber at the end verified that Danton was killing himself every night. So why did Bordens send Danton off to see Tesla? Because they knew that Danton's obsession would force him to go to Colorado Springs to see what was there. The Bordens thought it would be a wild goose chase that would take Danton out of London for a long time, thus eliminating their rival from the city. But the Bordens had no idea that Tesla was making a transporter/duplicator, the very thing, along with Danton's obsession, that led to the demise of their acts.
November 17, 2006 at 11:32 PM
The explanation above is the best one I've seen so far. As for the guy that said: "To the guy that says this movie cant be figured out, sure, in your world anything you want can never be figured out. In the movie, things are generally brought to a rather complete and somewhat depressing conclusion.", I have this to say: There is enough evidence to support just about any theory that any one person has come up with to explain this movie. Most movies that I have seen, the result is very clear, whether you figure it out early on or not. (i.e. - The Village, Sixth Sense, Memento, etc.) I've never seen a movie that produced so much discussion. I will admit that I'm pretty young & I haven't seen A LOT of movies, but none the less... this movie was a unique experience for me. To say that "One solid conclusion" can be drawn from this movie would be arrogant. Honestly... think about it. The movie is about magic, and when you go see a magic show, you leave wondering what happened. The same applies for this movie, and that's what I love about it.
November 18, 2006 at 02:57 AM
I agree that the comments posted by Hangdog make the most sense so far. The main question that remains for me is when a duplicate is produced by the Tesla machine, which is the duplicate and which is the original? It makes more sense that the duplicate in Jackman's magic act would be the one killed every night, but I'm not sure that's the case. Plus, is the duplication complete in terms of duplicating the physical being as well as the emotional and psychological one? Does the duplicate Jackman have all the same memories as the original? Does the duplicate know he is a duplicate or does he believe he's the original? Does the book offer any more explanation at the end? Also, I think you could interpret the real "prestige" was making the little girl's father appear to return after being "hanged." As Michael Caine notes in the beginning, the "magic" is in making something that you think has vanished, reappear, So Bale's character could be deemed the winning magician because Jackman's character thinks he has been made to "disappear" by being hanged, yet he reappears to exact revenge and then to reunite with his daughter. I really like the comment by the earlier poster who said that Bale's characters had to sacrifice their individuality for the sake of their illusion. I wish the film had delved more into their lives and what drove them to make such a sacrifice. I find that fascinating. And if you want a film that will really leave you scratching your head, check out La Moustache. It's open to a multitude of interpretations.
November 18, 2006 at 07:45 AM
Beth, in response to your question about the clones: I think it could go either way. 1. The cloned Danton is a completely new being with no memories of what has happened. He has no idea what's going on. If this is the case, then the machine would have to transport the real Danton and leave the clone in place every time, or else a "dummy" clone would be the only living Danton and wouldn't be able to carry on with the magic. OR... 2. The cloned Danton has all the same memories. If this is the case, in a way there is no "original" or "clone" - one Danton goes in and two Dantons come out, both of them believing and feeling exactly like the same Danton that went in. Then it's a moot point to determine whether the original Danton is drowned or transported. For the one drowning, to him, he's the same Danton that went into the machine. For the transported one, same thing, he's the same Danton that went in as far as he can tell. I think the 2nd alternative makes it much more interesting. And as far as Bordon cloning himself rather than having a twin, I don't think that's possible. Because if he had cloned himself he'd be familiar with the cloning machine and wouldn't be at all surprised at Danton's trick. Instead he's going nuts about finding out how the trick works.
November 19, 2006 at 09:56 AM
What a fantastic discussion. I will continue it by making the claim that Borden's character was a clone (a single clone) and not a twin. Which is more likely with regard to Boden's character: 1) that two brothers (albeit twins) have identical passions and vision and agree to do magic and to devote their lives to pretending to be one person or 2) that one man with a highly competitive nature clones himself, thus duplicating his already-formed, mature adult passion and vision to perform the winning magic trick. Of course the latter assumes that the clone Boden retains the "soul" (thoughts, memories, ambitions, etc) of the original Boden. It would seem the clone and original, being the same person, could very easily agree to work together. Conversely, if you have ever had siblings, can you imagine agreeing to work together with him or her for the rest of your life. Fat chance! This is more an argument based on my knowledge of human development and psychology, and NOT based on factual or textual evidence. Certainly the author of the novel, The Prestige, wrote Boden to have a twin. I am not convinced, however, that Nolan, the filmmaker, did the same. Does anyone have any factual or textual evidence to help support my claim?
November 19, 2006 at 04:13 PM
2 points: our inability to accept the clone maker machine is precisely the point - that we are unable until the last minute to accept it as true (until we see the dummies in their glass coffins) & are then disappointed. It confronts us brilliantly - we are smug when shown that victorians could not accept lesser scientific feats as real but had to mislabel them as magic. But we do the exact same today!!!! who is to say that same self delusional belief is not affecting us now with science we cannot accept. the identical twin was slightly disappointing but which was the real Danton? if like me u had thought it was the last man standing u would be wrong!!! think. if the real man is not the one in the tank, then the real one is the one who appears elsewhere. then in the first succesful sequence with the apparatus, recall it was the man who remained stationery who killed the one who suddenly appeared. BUT THE ONE WHO APPEARED WAS THE ORIGINAL!!!! ergo eaach new one was transported & the original died in the tank. Each new one did exactly the same to the old one. Perhaps not realizing how the machine worked (as i wouldnt have - its counter intuitive that the machine does 2 things - transforms & duplicates in the space. The problem is that the first clone should have realized what ws going to happen as he clearly was still in teh place the first one was in. or maybe not so clearly because in teh first transformatin the positioning was unclear. genius. but to what end??? the moral that criminal thoughts tend together? that tehre is no free choice? so the pledge the diversion was the twins - we soehow thought, never quite believed, were shown the chinese about life sacrfice, the fingers made us wonder a bit, but then we worked it out. & we believed that was the illusion. it wasnt. we didnt focus our brian upon the other conundrum, & once we did, too late, we jsut rubbished it, refusing to understand the implications. A new murdering Danton every day!! Heck its a movie!! ty & have a good evening.
November 19, 2006 at 04:28 PM
The Danton that died every night was obviously the one that appeared on stage everynight. He fell though the trapdoor into the water and drowned, the new danton then appeared at the back of the theatre. In other words the danton that finished the show was a clone why the one that started the show was drowned. Didn't you here him say to Borden that he had made sacrifices that borden didn't know how hard it was to do the trick every time. In other words he new everytime he done the trick he would have to kill himself. As for wether he was a exact duplicate with memories etc well of course he was or everytime he appeared he would had wondered who he was and what the hell was going on. As for wether borden cloned himself it was made clear they were twins and they showed the twin cutting his fingers off, if he was cloned he wouldn't had to cut his fingers off would he. The end of the story was clear as a blue sky. It's just that most of you are like Danton, you fail to believe or see the obvious.
November 19, 2006 at 06:47 PM
well argued, andrew. However, u may be right, but u r assuming that it is obvious that a duplicator works that way. it isnt. one (maybe not u of course) might tend to assume that the original stays where he is & the duplicator duplicates the original somewhere else. words are powerful. transferor transfers, duplicator duplicates. the first night he left the gun near him & presto, he wasnt who he thought he was - he was elsewhere. now at that point the q is the brain patterns that are left. did the new clone who picked up the gun realize he was in the starting or new position. actaully how hard it was for him to do the trick every time means he did the trick every time - or thought he did. if it was a new clone the new clone did the trick only once. & if u say u cant be semantic about words, your inference too is incorrect. anyway, main point is that to most people none of this is obvious, & the focus is elsewhere. J
November 19, 2006 at 07:22 PM
Sorry but it is obvious that the original stays were he is and the duplicate forms somewhere else. For it to be otherwise the original has to be transfered and the clone duplicated inside the machine. If the original was transfered first then there would be noone in the machine then suddenly he would appear again after been duplicated. If he was duplicated first before been transfered then there would be two inside the machine at sometime. I suppose you could argue that the transfer and duplication took place at exactly the same time but really people are just clutching at straws. To him he was doing the trick everytime because the clone would have the memory of performing the trick everynight Knowing he was going to die. He would not remember dieing because he was cloned before he died, but he would remember doing the trick every night and walking into the machine and reappearing in another position. The machine was a duplication machine not a transfer and duplication machine in one, it made a exact duplicate in a different location and this clone had the same memories and features as the original so as far as the clone was concerned he had performed the trick everynight.
November 19, 2006 at 07:39 PM
clutching at straws??????? thats demeaning - ure trying to use words to hide the force of the argument . simulataneous transfer is exactly what would be postulated, & exist. we're talking science here, not some rope & string experiment where things take time for one to observe it. or at least in mathematical terms the transitional point as one converges to 0. also, re inheriting memory & experience , u can only inhabit the memory to the point of duplication or transfer - not thereafter - that would be a mind reader. so he could not experience any of the events after the metamorphosis. & heres another thing: the clone could think he is the original. so both persons would. so it is possible & another: there was one theatrical dummy run for the agent; there was no trapdoor in that one. so were there 2 dantons from that point?
November 19, 2006 at 11:46 PM
A very helpful quote explaining the "clones" from http://chud.com/forums/showthread.php?t=95628 "Small clarification on the clones...they're not clones. They are the same. A clone is like a twin...completely seperate lives. At the moment of the teleportation, there is no original. Tesla's comment that sometimes science doesn't do what you except is because he designed a machine to teleport something...and the reason it worked (but not like he expected) is because of theory he was unaware of, harkening back (or forward) to Schroedinger's cat and Uncertainty Theory. An object can exist as a wave representation in two locations until observed, collapsing the wave into a set reality. But in Tesla's machine, the wave form doesn't collapse, and both versions are real, with the same history up until that point. Neither is a copy, neither is an original. This concept bugs the shit out of alot of people. Watch Angier's reaction just before he's shot the first time...he claims he's the original (which is why some people think the original teleports, leaving a copy). Other people wonder why the machine "clones" people for a teleport...again, it doesn't. It collapses the the translocation wave in a solid form, something that was outside of Tesla's field, that he would have stumbled across if he had built this machine. I have a sneaking suspicion Priest dreamed up this gizmo simply by crossing Telsa's experiments with quantum theory. The reason this minor distinction is important is because Angier never understood that he's not murdering his "clone," he's not risking being the man in the box...he's always the man in the box, and the Prestige. He's stuck with a different hell, a different take on the duality Borden deals with, and both men did it to themselves."
November 20, 2006 at 12:08 AM
RYan u're one mighty clever dude. But common sense still dictates that at the moment there were 2, they lived & experienced differently. so whatever u call them, afterwards they are not the same. u show btilliantly that both can not only think they are the original, but be the original. however they are still not killing themselves because they themselves are no longer......
November 20, 2006 at 12:39 AM
Andrew... Danton himself said how difficult it was every night doing the trick & not knowing whether it was him or a clone that died. Of course, regardless, it doesn't matter. The original Danton either died from the gunshot [the teleported person was killed] or the first time doing the trick [the person left inside the machine was killed].
November 20, 2006 at 01:24 AM
Hi I'm form Venezuela so excuse me if my english is too lame. I think that the truth is unclear even for Danton (Jackman) himself: He clearly said at the end that it was terrifying (Thats not the word he used) to go onstage every night without knowing if he was goin to be the man drowning downstairs or the man in the prestige (the one that appears and gets the applauses). This is due to what Brandon explains in the review posted on 12:07AM November 12th, 2006. Either way the original Danton gets killed on the trial run of Tesla's machine or kills himself on the first act. I think its more poetic the second option because he is actually committing suicide every night for the sake of his act, the other option is that he is killing a human being that is EXACTLY like him in mind and body, and I find that quite disturbing. About the cloned or not cloned Bordens, they are biologiacal twins. At the beginning of the movie he said that he had a special act but that HE and only HE coluld perform it. At that time he couldn't have cloned himself in any way. And I agree with the idea that Nolan may had kwon the effect that would cause the fact of the tricks being so simple or irrealistick, disapointing then the audience -on purpose- when they found out about how they were done. This way prooving that you prefer to be fooled, YOU WANT TO BE FOOLED, as Cain says in the last frame while is showed the Danton's clone in the glass coffin confirming completely that Tesla's machine worked and thus our disapointment. (Check the review posted on 8:10AM November 19th, 2006 by notomatoe and the one Posted on 3:06PM November 12th, 2006 by Mike). But I have a question I would really apreciate you could help me with: How the heck did Danton managed to make the trick with Tesla's machine when he got back to England and he showed it to the owner of the theater in the other wrecked theater? there was no trap door there... :-S What happenned to that clone? Corrections and replays to my commnt are welcome, thank you.
November 20, 2006 at 03:28 AM
I'm so pleased to see this discussion taking place, because it is what has been milling through my mind since leaving the film...who was the man in the box? Leaving this film was similar to leaving 'Vanilla Sky' a few years ago (another film that polarizes people), in that I just had to walk and think for a long time to get my head straight! But I loved both for that exact reason, the film continues beyond the darkened room. I must say that Andrew's option makes the most sense. While Nolan certainly could have done a better job fleshing out the ironies and implications of this extreme degree that Danton goes to to 'defeat' Borden (i.e. reflection on his wife's drowning, the nature of obsession), the concept that Danton dies and is born anew each night seems to fit in with the film's premise the best. Danton acknowledges at the jail that "you were always the better magician, but I'm the winner" or words to that effect. Danton goes beyond magic, to 'wizardry' to achieve his aims (revenge for his wife, discover the secret of Borden's trick and then supercede it). In other words, even with illusions which themselves cheat the audience of the truth, there can be cheating, and Danton is the biggest cheater of all. As much as I didn't want to accept it, it simply MUST be the case that the original Danton is killed, while an exact duplicate is created for The Prestige each time the trick is done. Therefore, the trial run where he shoots himself, it is the original Danton who is shot by the first clone. Creepy! The blind stage hands, the secrecy in hiding it all from Cutter (Caine) and the film's core theme of obsession all point to this. As for the 'trial' in front of the theatre agent, let's not forget it was in Danton's own private theatre, where he surely had the water chamber prepared via trapdoor under the stage to kill the original Danton, just like in the eventual stage show. The one argument against this is, as an earlier poster suggested, why then does he thrash about trying to escape from the water chamber? Perhaps it is an implication of the natural reflex of humans drive to survive. Perhaps it reflects on Cutter's comment that drowning is not "feeling like you're going home" (originally said to temper the pain of his wife's death) but in fact as he says at the end "agony", and Danton discovers this when he's in the box, and naturally, wants out. Finally, as an earlier poster said, the quote "I have sacrificed" during the denoument after Danton is shot by Borden also suggests that he has killed himself over and over (there are a multitude of tanks in this scene, even though we're only shown the inside of one). Every night he walks into the machine committing suicide, and every night he is reborn instantaneously, while the original self thrashes about. Borden, like most of the world sees Tesla as a mad scientist, so he sends Danton there on the 'wild goose chase' suggested earlier. But ultimately, Borden's lack of faith in science, as opposed to his ultimate faith in 'magic' is what destroys him, as Tesla is shown to be the true wizard of the story and builds that working machine, even though Nolan wants us to doubt this. On Borden, he is a twin. The creation of his wife is a tool specifically used to lead us down the path that one day it is one man with her, and the next it is another, thereby he only loves her 'some days'. It also distinguishes between how he and his twin are different (different love affairs) and how Danton's trick is totally humanless as he simply recreated himself. Cheers.
November 20, 2006 at 03:31 AM
OK.. I've read the book and there are even more problems raised. 1. In the book,the duplicated person is the only one who normally survives the teleportation. The original person becomes a lifeless stiff that drops through the trap door and is disposed of in the family burial caverns after each show. The corpse is called "the prestige". 2. I thought that Borden might be using a "duplicated" person, but how can that be if the duplicating machine always kills the original person?
November 20, 2006 at 04:16 AM
It only kills the original person if it is set up to kill them. If it weren't for the water chamber, there would be many Dantons running around!
November 20, 2006 at 06:56 AM
Another question: in the trial in front of the theatre agent in Danton's private theatre the agent says, after accepting to hire them, that they have to disguise the "trick" enough to make the people doubt about it because, as it was said before,they are not interested in real magic but in illusions. The question is what was the disguise? could it have been the trap door? and if it was so how did he do the effect of disapearing without the trapdoor at that moment?
November 21, 2006 at 02:14 AM
Does everyone remember near the end when Caine's character tells Danton that he lied when he told him the drowning was like going numb, that it is actually agony. The look on Danton's face is almust fear. Everynight when he kills himself he is thinking that his other is dying a painless numb death. He did not realize what agony he was going through every night. That is why when we see him though Borden's eyes he look shocked and is struggling. Each night when a Danton dies he is experiencing an agaony he didn't expect.
Jacob Adam Brooks
November 21, 2006 at 03:07 AM
The Machine DID work. The cats and the hats and the fact that you see jackman shoot himself is just enough for me to state that is DID work and not really have to mess with it anymore. In the final scene you see other bodies in the boxes, but you don't see their faces, but come on, you know it's more JACKMANS in there. This is what happened and others have already hit on this to a certain extent. The twins were living as one since the beginning of the movie. They have different attitudes and you can usually tell which one is which. I'll call them the good twin and the bad twin. The good twin being the Alfred Borden who loved his wife. Bad twin argued taht the other knot was better then the slip knot and he's the one taht tied the knot that killed Danton's wife... that's why the good twin (who wrote the diary) never knew which knot he tied. When The GOOD twin refers to the old man with the fish bowl as doing the greatest sacrifice of all for changing his whole life for his act, that line was stated to show that Borden was prepared to do that... he was already living that sacrifice... he talked of his great magic trick from teh begining and when he pulled it off Danton couldn't accept taht it was just a double. This is a huge key to the movie... that's the point! That something that seems so hard is actually quite simple to explain in the end... it was his twin, but WE ALL WANT TO BELIEVE Borden is doing something amazing, including Danton. The good twin loves his wife and child and jsut wants to have his show, the Bad twin can never tell his wife he loves her while being convincing and eventually tells her he doesn't love her and she kills herself. The good twin is also the twin who says the line "It's over, let him have his tick." but the bad twin says "Why can't YOU out smart him?" The bad twin was obsessed with getting the secret and the bad twin is the twin that goes to the theater that night. That's why when he's talking to the Good twin in makeup he says "I'm sorry about Sara.... I should've left him to his trick like you said." That twin, the bad twin is the one who dies at the end. The good twin lives with his daughter and so on. TESLA When Danton talks to Tesla's assistant and Tesla they mention that they won't build the same machine they built for Borden but another machine that Danton would be interested in... this is because they never built a duplicating machine for Borden... simply the Electric hook ups that hooks into his boxes for the trick... but the audience along with DANTON think that TESLA built him a duplicating machine... this is why at the end Danton rips up the piece of paper...he thinks he already knows how Borden's been doing it, btu he doesn't. He never considered that Borden and his twin brother would sacrifice their whole lives for a trick. The END Hugh Jackman and his duplicat share the exact same memories up until they are duplicated, so with that logic, the duplicate never thinks that he's not the original... all he knows is that he walks into the electricity then he's standing on the balcany... he only knows that he walked through it and didn't die, but the concious one always falls through and drowns because he thinks that's a peaceful death and he wants to be with his wife. The 12th duplicate or whatever probably still thinks he's the original... the original has been dead since the first time he did the trick live at a show. Danton said he couldn't live with a clone walking around so that's why he shot his clone as soon as he saw him and that's why he set the trap for the clone (or himself) to be killed upon completion of the trick... however, like I said, he never felt like he died because based on his memory he stepped into the electric field and was instantly on the balcany.... the whole "Prestige" is that you think you know the trick the whole time... you think Borden simply made a duplicate himself... no one expects taht kind of sacrifice for the craft that Borden in the beginning says is so important. That's the trick of the movie, that he'd been a twin the whole time from fade in til his death by hanging.
November 21, 2006 at 12:13 PM
As far as I am concerned if you believed the whole movie was over as far as the main secret from when it was clear Borden had a twin you yourself have let yourself be fooled - you've missed the movie and a trick has been played on you. Tesla's magic transportation machine is a fake. Remember the whole story of what happened in Colorado Springs is being read from Angier's diary which in itslef was just as much a ruse as Borden's book in itself. It's really difficult to say if either of them went to see Tesla, because each of them recount their stories in efforts to throw each other,which they do - even the best magicians are so obsessive they will fail to see they are being played. Since Angiers' obtains Borden's book from SJ first, as told in the story, it appears he tries hard to find the answers to Borden's transportation man trick and goes to Colorado Springs to try to meet Tesla and have him build a machine that Tesla had built for Borden - but in reality since the contents of the book were meant to throw Angiers it appears obvious from the movie that Borden never met Tesla - he didn't even have a transportation machine anyway! I reckon that Angiers did travel to Colorado and did have a machine built for him by Tesla but the machine in itself was a magic trick played on Angiers by Tesla - with ex-LOTR Anthony Serkis as his loyal and dutiful assistant. The reason I say this is because, when Angiers is brought up to meet Tesla and test out the transportation device of the machine on his top hat - nothing happens - but Tesla doesn't even let on that anything bad has happened - he has pre-planned for Serkis to say Oh My! We still need to do some tweaking on this machine so come back in say a week - enough time for them to buy as many top hats and black cats as they can to "prove" the machine works. Remember how Serkis was playing up about his cat, saying You will have to replace my cat if this doesn't work!!! even though he knew full well they had been practising with "his" cat all week - they just bought as many black cats as they felt they would require to show plausibility - nothing happened to the hat or cat - its that simple. Angiers fell for this - used it himself - retold the story as if there was a clone of him made - and that he shot the clone to ensure he was the only one left - his prestige to prove to us the machine works. It duplicated no-one!!! He used his own "clone" the actor, to I suppose take turns in dropping into the water until they had attracted Borden's attention ( having his supposed blind stage hands tell him that Borden/Fallon had seen and heard the water tank being removed from the theatre after each show. Once he was sure Borden would go under the stage during the performance, he put a lock on the water trunk toi ensure the actor died - while he was hidden at the back of the theatre - waiting for Borden to be caught and for himself to reappear as the Count whatever and then have his last revenge on Borden/Fallon. The problem is - he didn't realise the twin thing and that Cutter would help Fallon/Borden to exact revenge once he found out the Count was in fact Angiers himself - almost pulling off the whole act. It was written in Anjiers diary as a goose chase for Borden to read. Who gave Borden the diary. Lord Cotterdales agent. Who was Cotterdale Anjier. Dont trust the diary of your enemy. Anjiers New Transported man still just used his Actor double. (you never saw more than 2 Anjiers at any moment.) The real trick was Nolan making everyone think the cloning machine was real (within the context of the movie). The Hats scene confirms the machine for the movie audience but it is a scene from a fake diary and so it really confirms Anjiers decption about the machine. And thus Nolan has tricked you the audience into accepting the cloning machine, just as the audience in the movie accept the transporter machine. All the critics and geeks around the world dissapointed that the movie resorted to science fiction were deceived. Thus the movie itself is the greatest trick of all and Nolan will not get the credit (as to keep the secret he is suffering critism of him movie making art) but now we understand we can give him the Prestige.
November 21, 2006 at 02:59 PM
jfk63... great explaination and i just watched the movie and read through all the comments and i wish i could believe it cause i personally loved the movie... but what about the final jackman in the tank? how do you explain that?
November 21, 2006 at 08:16 PM
The explanation laid out by "jfk63" was really good. I love how this movie can be interpretted in so many ways. And the movie gives enough evidence to support each one of them.
November 21, 2006 at 11:02 PM
I think that last shot of Angiers in the tank is Nolans prestige - to show the agony of Angiers actions ( the water bubble to symbolise the agony of holding your breath until you eventually die ) I do believe this is a symbolic Angiers but is shown by Nolan to prove the sci-fi element, which is really the trick that has been played. If you can give me an explanation of the water bubble, then you may have something.
November 22, 2006 at 01:30 AM
jfk63, I think the name says it all. Your conspiracy works well to a point, but possibly gives Nolan too much credit. The final scene is one filled with water tanks, and Anjier even taps on one next to him (different to the one where we see the drowned man) when discussing with Borden how he has 'sacrificed'. This is a clear implication that all the tanks are filled with doubles. Would Anjier really have trusted the double again after what happened earlier in the film? I seriously doubt it. He talks about being 'constantly afraid' that he would be the one drowning in the box, a clear suggestion that he didn't trust or understand the duplication machine himself. And I just don;t think Cutter would get so irate, and even acquiesce to Anjier's murder, unless there had been A LOT of deaths he had been witness to, as he was in the final scene with all the water tanks. I'd love to believe jfk63, his theory is ultra-cool, but for mine, it remains an interpretation rather than fact.
November 22, 2006 at 01:56 PM
'too much credit'? his past films have been every inch as brilliant as jfk's explaination. it makes perfect sense to me that nolan would have a twist that it takes the audience a while to figure, a twist on the viewing public rather than the main characters
November 22, 2006 at 08:50 PM
okay, borden had a legitimate twin. that's why some days his wife believed his love, other days she did not. also why johannson's character seemed to love one and not the other, how she spoke of 1 "borden" being cold and heartless for not caring that his wife had just died. if it was an identical clone, feelings would have been identical too. unfortunately, the "clone" machine did work in the movie. there was not 1 single clone drowned in water, there appeared to be dozens (notice the many tanks in the last scene, and the need for the blind stage hands to not ask how the same guy keeps dying every night). I REALLY, REALLY liked this movie, but as with so much Stephen King, a great story goes caput when fonzy jumps the shark tank. How much better could this have been with a legit twin brother for borden, and drowning the previously used body double for danton...or having faked his death (since it was caine that identified the body) in an attempt to frame borden, only to be outdone by the twin. the best part of this whole thing is that it appears that all the bastards died, and the 1 good borden that truly loved his daughter and wife was free to live. the machine SHOULD have been a fake perpetrated by tesla and his helper (extra hats laying around outside, then taking the money and running). I HATED THE MACHINE WORKING, but i really enjoyed the movie. Seriously, the machine worked, there are dozens of those water tanks under the stage, why would you need more than 1 if you were not drowning someone...better question, why would you need 1 at all?
November 23, 2006 at 07:36 AM
I agree, on deep thought the sci-fi machine did work. It has nothing to do with the cat meowing on cue and leading him outside, it has everything to do with the number of water tanks in the Lord's house - why would you need so many water tanks if you were only going to drown yourself once? Also, Angiers would not trust his actor lookalike again, when a major point of the movie seemed to be the point Borden made at the bar to Angiers/ or the actor we can't be sure (it may have been Angiers playing the fool) - that if you give your double the prestige he has complete power over you and your act - the main reason why Angiers shoots his clone or his clone shoots him (both knowing exactly the same thing about the lesson learned over the danger in having a double) as soon as he first uses the machine. That's the great thing about this movie - were they really blind men helping Angier's or were they just pulling a con - I'd say contact lenses like that would not have existed at the turn of the century so they were truly blind - allowing Angiers to kill his double everytime he fell into the tank. The real Angiers clearly would be transported every time, allowing him the prestige of every real transported man trick, with the double to have his fate sealed like his wife's in a locked tank. Then it wouldn't have mattered which time Borden went below deck to see his clone get drowned as it was happening every night and was the reason Angier's didn't want Cutter behind the secnes on this one. That fully explains it - there are no threads left now - great movie!
November 24, 2006 at 12:50 AM
In regards to the final scene, I believe that Angiers is alive and holding his breath in the water tank hence the air bubble. Prior to this scene Cutter informs Angiers (for the second time in the movie, the first is at Angier's wifes funeral) that he once new a man who took a breath after having held it for 5 minutes. It is in this scene that Cutter admitts to Angiers that the man having held his breath had been agony. But that he had achieved it anyway. If you recall Cutter had been helping Angiers move the duplicator prior to Borden's arrival and Angiers being shot. Perhaps Cutter new of Borden's revenge and wanted to help Angiers knowing that one Angiers would be shot and the the other Angiers having been dupicated would be holding his breath in the water tank while waiting for Borden to leave. Also, the first time the audience is introduced to Borden's twin is during the second scene in the court house when Borden waves to the little girl from the stand, the man standing next to her holding her hand in Borden's twin. I spotted this cause I'm a huge Christian Bale fan and would recognise him anywhere.
November 24, 2006 at 02:43 PM
If Teslas machine produced a clone, then was the clone the projected one or the one that remained (the one that drowned each time) and does it matter? The very first attempt, he shoots the projected clone. So, the remaining times, its the clone that is killing the ensuing clones. He can do this sacrifice because he thinks drowning is like going home and hes shocked to find that Cutter lied about that, too late. The movie shows that story shown is a pale reflection of the obsessive competition between Tesla and Edison, which is the real story. I dont think that has historical basis, anyone? He paints Edison as the maniacal obsessive and Tesler is portrayed as a victimized (by society and Edison) wizard, who could really do crazy stuff like build a damn clone machine. Bowie was great and perfect for that part! There were a lot of magnificent details that we are working out and you think oh, yea, but there was something of a dry delivery over all. We were expecting to be amazed by magic but the movie horrifies us with magic instead. There could have been a lot more flair and misdirection in character building which would have made it more palatable. There was a lot of subtext for it, perhaps not enough time, though.
November 26, 2006 at 05:18 PM
First off, the machine did work. But does anyone know if the wife knew Algier was a twin??? Then why would she threaten to out his "secret"? Dats what i really wanna know!!
November 27, 2006 at 02:25 AM
Just come back from seeing this and I thought it was just fabulous. A few points... 1. My only flaw with the film is that the wild goose chase which Borden sends him on turns out not to be a wild goose chase. Strangely unsatisfactory and not in keeping with the otherwise utterly calculated actions of both parties. 2. The original is the one who is killed each time. Apart from in the test run where Angiers shoots his clone. This is the exact reason why Angiers says to Borden something along the lines of 'you have no idea the courage I have needed...'. Angiers realises that the only way the trick can work is if he dies each night. This relies on the 'clone' being an exact memory with the same memories, ideals and, crucially, obsession. It is only if the clone has the same memories that he can enjoy 'the look on the faces' of the audience. 3. Quite like the idea that Borden was a clone as well but I don't buy it. Nice idea but it's just not necessary and goes against the theory that Borden was a traditional illusionist, who lives for his art, and Angiers was a Dr Frankenstein-esque obsessive who had lost sight of what it was all for. Utterly great. Close to perfect.
November 27, 2006 at 10:14 AM
I like to think that the duplication machine did not create a "copy" to an "original," but merely doubled the same man. Each Danton after duplication would have thought, felt, and been the man who walked into the machine. The original/copy view is unsatisfying because, as earlier posters pointed out, it would almost certainly mean the original Danton departs the plot long before the film's ending. If the machine creates an original/copy distinction and consistently locates the copy outside the machine, while the original stays within, then the original dies the first time Danton is drowned. On the other hand, if the original appears outside the machine, then he would die even earlier, when his copy shoots him after Danton's private trial run of the machine upon returning from Colorado. Logically, original Danton could survive to the end of the film only if he remained within the machine on the trial run, and was then, by a solid run of good luck on the machine's fickleness, appeared outside--as the Prestige--each time in the theater. This would be much too contrived, but it's equally unsatisfying to hold the machine to consistent behavior and have original Danton die earlier in the plot because this would leave only his copy (or copies of copies) to experience his epiphany at the end, on his knees before Borden. For the story of his character to be effective, that revelation must come to the man we begin the story with, not to some weird science copy of him. I think, then, that the story runs better if the machine takes one Danton and simply gives us two of the exact same Dantons, with no original/copy distinction between them. Besides preserving us a real Danton through to the end, it introduces an interesting poeticism to the way the performances would really have run: Danton relates to Borden at the end that it took courage to get in the machine "not knowing" whether he would be the one in the tank or the one on the balcony, but if the machine merely doubles him with no distinction between original and copy, then of course he was both on each night, and yet could not know it. On each performance, he was relieved to be the Prestige up on the balcony, having come out yet again on the right end of the gamble. At the same time, he was horrified to find himself trapped in the water tank below stage, alarmed and banging at the glass, his luck having run out. On the particular death that Bowden witnessed, he might have been contemplating the extraordinary bad luck of ending up in the tank of the very last performance of the trick, when actually he'd already drowned in it nearly 100 times before. It's particularly poetic that the murders are converted to suicides: the Danton who survived each run of the machine could only know that he appeared to come out on the better end of it, and could not know that the Danton who died was experiencing himself as the real Danton, too. In his view, he was simply playing the odds against drowning once, and every night he survived as the Prestige the consequences were upon someone else, in an overarchingly selfish plan that wagered one of his lives against 100 of his "copies'." In his willingness to murder the other, however, and if he were actually the same man both in the tank and on the balcony, Danton would actually have walked himself to a drowning death every single night.
November 27, 2006 at 12:08 PM
Like that theory a lot, J.
November 27, 2006 at 09:37 PM
A beautiful film which kept me interested all the way through. A film about what happens when what you see as illusion is really all too real and to what lengths will men go to perfect that illusion. However, I found that the 'prestige' at the end of the film was a disappointment. The filmakers had already broken the magician's own rules by showing us how the trick was performed. By too much unnecssary use of dramatic irony and the repeated imagery of the top hats on the mountainside the horrible 'reality' of the trick's truth was already known to us before Michael Caine dares us to look beyond the illusion. If we found out at the same time as 'Fallon' then the impact would have been far stronger. It felt like this film was a victim of an audience reaction viewing panel! Pity What the ending did make me wonder was; was the Angiers shot at the end really Angiers or his drunk stand-in? His accent seemed too good for Angiers. He could have been hired by Angiers to throw Borden/ Fallon off the scent. With only one Angiers and one 'Borden' left in the world it would be a truce with little more to prove to each other.
November 28, 2006 at 11:32 AM
After reading all the comments posted i remembered a quote from Michael Caines character near the start of the movie. Whilst training Jackman how to use a machine he had developed for an act, Jackman said to him that he didnt want to kill a dove but went along with it. When he worked out the trick and realsied that he didnt have to kill the dove jackman asked him why he didnt tell him and Michael Caines character replaied "to see if you are able to do it in the future". I think Michael Caines character was involved more than we think, and in thinking of that then maybe sharlets character was in on Caines plan, she was suspicious.
December 01, 2006 at 08:55 AM
Great movie JFK Great reading! I have to see the film a 2nd time to fully agree with you BUT one point: Danton HAD to know that there were two Bordens either way! Because: If Danton believed that Thesla's machine worked for Borden as well as for himself then he should be aware of the possibility of Borden cloning himself If Danton thinks Thesla's machine only worked for him then HE STILL DOESNT KNOW HOW Borden does it ( I mean he went all the way to Colorado to find that out right?) And all the time he refused to believe that Borden uses a double...so he has to suspect some other mechanism if not Thesla's machine which lets Borden do his trick AND let's say subscribing to JFK's theory the machine didnt work either way - Then Danton still doesn't know how the trick works - so how can he be so sure of beating Borden by resorting to the same old trick using the drunkard not to mention the drunkard was exposed to the public by Bordern.
December 04, 2006 at 01:25 AM
Another idea/question to throw into the mix: We hear from Borden's mistress that his wife wanted to meet with her the day before her death to tell her something about her husband... I wonder if she had figured out that they were twins (and perhaps whether her "suicide" wasn't suicide afterall?). Is this another sacrifice on Borden's behalf for his craft?
December 04, 2006 at 03:23 AM
After reading all these comments I would love to host a screening and invite all the posters to attend and hang out for a post-film discussion. Reading these various interpretations makes me want to see the film again and maybe give it a second chance since it failed to dazzle me on the first pass. As I stated before, I felt that the more interesting aspects of the story--those involving the decisions the magicians made about pursuing their craft--were left off screen. Thanks to everyone for taking the time to post such in depth comments.
December 13, 2006 at 08:19 AM
Superb discussion here. Makes me appreciate the film even more. I do have a question about something that was not clear to me in the film. (Forgive me if somebody already talked about this and I missed it.) Question is: What the heck happened to Borden's poor wife? I know she was hanged, but was this self-inflicted (suicide) ? Did one of the Borden twins set a booby trap to murder her? What in the world happened? The film sort of inverts hero & villain, so that Angiers is deeply morally compromised by the end...and perhaps Borden winds up less of a creepster than one initially thought. Borden's wife seemed like such a decent lady; it would be awful if he (or his twin! or his clone!) murdered her. Yet that appears to have been the case. Can someone toss in their two cents on this issue?
December 16, 2006 at 10:01 AM
Ferdonand, I believe that Borden's wife committed suicide because she felt that her husband did not love her. But the truth was that one of the Borden twins did love her and one did not. The problem was that she did not know that there were two men in her life. Since they shared a life (each spending time with the wife) she was actually right in determining that sometimes Borden was lying to her. The tragedy of her death is the fact that she was loved but didn't realize what the brothers were doing. Does that help at all?
December 22, 2006 at 05:08 AM
Quick question/s - not sure if already raised: Why is there a 'Danton' left floating in the watertank? Surely the last show would have been when Borden was arrested, leaving a Danton on the mortuary slab? Surely there were no more shows after this? Does this imply there are others around?
December 22, 2006 at 05:12 AM
As to above - were there more than one - I can't remeber! If they were 'old' clones, why keep them?
December 23, 2006 at 10:13 PM
Beth, Thanks for your comments. I understood that Mrs. Borden was troubled: she did not realize that her husband was, at times, replaced by his identical twin. You must be correct that she committed suicide. Her suicide was presented in the film in a way that I found unclear. In answer to Tetalina's question, yes: Borden must have been arrested for Danton's murder on the very last night that Danton's show was performed. Danton, of course, was not *really* dead; he simply slipped away after the last show and assumed a new identity (Lord so-&-so). Every time Danton performed the trick, the result was two Danton's. The clone would bask in the audience's applause, as the original fell through the trap door into the tank and drowned. In essence, Danton committed suicide every night. The clone, however, was an exact replica of the original. Thus, the clone did not perceive himself to be a clone. The clone believed himself to be the original Danton who had, night after night, escaped death. It might be useful to think of the machine, *not* as a cloning machine, but rather as a machine which produced two identical originals, i.e. a "multiplying" machine. Therefore, every night Danton had a fifty-fifty chance of survival: He would either be teleported to the balcony, or die in the tank. The surviving Danton believed himself to have survived again and again, night and night, and indeed there is a moment in the film when he says as much. The one suffering in the tank believes that his good luck has finally run out. I suppose the crucial point is that neither perceives himself as the clone. Both believe themselves to be the original, and inasmuch as they are exact replicas, they are both in a sense completely correct. Danton seems to have been very assiduous about making sure that only one version of himself was allowed to exist at a given time. However, in a bizarre fetish, he stored all the drowned versions of himself in a long row of old tanks. Possibly he drained out the water from each tank and replaced it with formaldehyde for preservation?
December 30, 2006 at 01:51 AM
i left the theatre wondering 3 things, 2 of which i think i have 'figured out': 1. was bale's character a set of twins or did he clone himself? after reading all of these posts, i am convinced that he was in fact a set of biological twins. the reason is that if he had cloned himself once with the machine, we would see two identical characters, with identical memories, feelings, and values. we don't. we see two different characters, with 2 different personalities who love 2 different women. he is a twin, not a clone. 2. first, i'm convinced the tesla machine actually works because of the water cages full of dead bodies, the blind stage hands and the box leaving each night. i know it's far-fetched, but that's the fun in the movie! it's not supposed to be explained or believable - it's the idea that counts! the question is: which is the clone and which is the original? the one who dies in the tank (and who shot the gun) or the one who feels the applause of the audience (and who go shot)? either way, the "original" dies at least one way or another before bale's character gets to him with the gun. (that's part of the trick!). my answer to this: they are both clones and they are both originals. i like the post where someone says: "he duplicates his exact self, and every night he both dies and feels the applause." if you work out the technical bits... the guy in the tank dying each night was the same guy who felt applause the night before. so is the guy feeling the applause. that's the gamble. the guy dying in the tank every night is shocked to be there because it's always his first time drowning and he is always the guy who felt the applause the night before. and we know the "original" never survives because the guy who dies in the gunshot scene is in a different position than the guy who drowns. the point isn't which one is the "clone" but that they are identical characters, who make identical moral decisions, and that bale's characters were different. that's why the water trick works - because he risks that he will die and his original will take over his life, but since he knows that his clone is identical. his clone would make the same decisions. having two different characters caused problems for him because he refused to let the drunk guy become an equal. that's why the drunk guy took over the show. that's also why bale's twins take turns playing the prestige and in their life - they have already learned their lesson about this and they must live their illusion to make it work. this is what makes their trick work and what ultimately destroys the trick (if my sarah murder theory is true). on the same token, what makes the water trick work is the fact that one must die, which is the same thing that destroys the trick in the end as well: there is only one of him still alive because he has already killed his double. 3. this leads to my third question: did sara (sp?) commit suicide or was she murdered by the twin who didn't love her in order to keep the secret safe from the other girl? in her last scene she implies that she has figured out the truth about the twins, and she wants to call scarlett's character and tell her the truth. she dies before the secret gets out. suspicious? i'm still wondering about this. the noose happened so fast it could have been a booby trap. and the twin who loved scarlett had additional incentive to kill her: it was hurting scarlett knowing he was going home to his wife and he wanted to be faithful. did anyone notice any other clues? and if it was in fact a murder, notice that the twin who loved scarlett was the twin who dies at the end. the whole movie is about revenge on the man who killed the women you love. could it be that one of the twins figured out the water chamber trick first and he was actually in on framing the twin who killed sarah to get revenge? now, if in fact this is true, it makes the movie much more interesting because it really develops the themes of jealousy and revenge. both men wanted revenge on the man who killed his lover. and both men didn't want to share their "prestige," and their glory with anyone else. They both killed their own doubles and by doing so they both destroyed their own magic trick. Classic greek mythology :) And someone suggested this movie was obvious? The whole "figure out if Christian Bale have a twin" thing is just a distraction - a common tool in the art of illusion. A wild goose chase - like the trip to Colorado. You're supposed to figure out that he has a twin, that's the point! They even tell you in the first 20 minutes. Thinking that that is the trick is the trick.
December 30, 2006 at 02:16 AM
i just want to add: about the "clone" vs "original" debate: yes, we have figure out that the "original" never made it to the last scene if they were in fact different. but they are identical which is the point. so it doesn't matter which one ends up in the tank and which one gets the applause. there is not difference between them. remember the scene with the hats and the cats, where he asks "which one is mine?" and gets the response, "they all are." that's when he realizes he can pull off the trick, because the surviving man will inevitably make the identical choices as the man who dies. and i think the fact that the bale characters were biological twins and not clones is what made them unable to hold up their charade - as soon as they were no longer able to fool the women "they" loved, the game was over. the one man who survives at the end chose love (for his daughter, and revenge for sarah's death) over illusion which is the message. the movie is about how far you will go, and i think they all killed (either each other or the girl) and they all found their limits. the last question is: which twin killed the girl in the tank - the one who lived or the one who died? obviously only one did, which is why he doesn't know whether or not he tied the knot. and is their a deeper story here as well? was it deliberate? an accident? did one of the twins have an affair with her? another twist in the plot of jealousy? i am also very interested about the references to edison and tesla. i don't know much about their historical rivalry, but does the movie paralell the turns they took trying to outdo each other? it would be that much more interesting if it did!! and the comparison of magic to science is interesting too, because people doubt science as often as they doubt real magic.
December 30, 2006 at 02:43 AM
i think the people complaining that the "tesla" machine being far-fetched aren't getting the point. that is the exact reaction you're supposed to have - because that's how people at that time actually reacted to the scientific developments of tesla and edison. people thought the lightbulb was far fetched when it was first invented. these are the feelings the movie wants you to feel. also, the people complaining about the bale-twin thing being obvious early on aren't getting the point either. the whole movie is about disillusionment and how you don't really want to know the trick because it's disappointing how simple it is. and you're supposed to figure out the twin thing early on (they actually try and hammer it over your head with the two girls and the "do you love me today" game). you're supposed to be disappointed. that's the point. the movie is trying to get the point across by making the audience replicate certain feelings. we're disapointed by illusion when we figure it out but we refuse to believe in real magic when it happens... so the movie gives us both scenarios and we hate both of them! we want a cleverly deceptive trick, and we never get one if we focus on the magic trick. the tricks are the distraction, and not the surprise of the movie. we must look for more: is it true that the brothers turned on each other? this is foreshadowed in the bar when the one brother convinces the drunk guy to turn on his 'master.'
December 30, 2006 at 03:25 AM
so... we know that the "bad twin" dies at the end and the "good twin" lives. but what about jackman? does a copy of himself live as well? did jackman clone himself one final time before getting shot to ensure a double of himself would survive? it seems unbalanced to kill off one character and let the other one live, since they were both guilty of murder. for sure bale killed jackman's wife (accidentally?) and jackman killed his clone - but was this sacrifice? the twin who shoots jackman at the end ends up being the greater bad guy unless jackman actually left behind a clone to survive. we know that cutter knows about the final revenge plot, and he is in the basement with jackman AND the cloning machine before jackman gets shot. is the jackman in the tank with the bubble really alive, freshly cloned, and is it really a tank with a lock you can actually escape from? if this is true, as people suggest, why would he bother going into the tank and holding his breath? why wouldn't he just hide out in the curtains or something to wait for his double to die? is it because he wants to make sure at least one of them dies, and the man in the tank will only escape if the other doesn't survive? if the man getting shot actually escapes, the man in the tank is sacrificed??
December 30, 2006 at 03:32 AM
I loved this movie and have really enjoyed reading everyone posts. I thought for sure that it was cut and dry about the twins really being twins and duplicating really working. Reading the posts made me think and I can't wait to see this movie again. It is one of the better movies I have seen in a while. The only thing that really stumps me is why Bale's character sends Jackmen's character to Tesla. You could argue that he never thought he would suceed. Or you can argue that he new he would and it would be another way to get revenge on him. Knowing that he is killing himself every night.
December 30, 2006 at 12:49 PM
UNANSWERED QUESTIONS: there are still some things about the movie that i haven't quite figured out. 1. I STILL HAVEN'T FIGURED OUT THE TRICK. there is still a missing link in the water tank trick. when we watch Angier test the machine, he disappears, then two identical copies of him reappear: one inside the machine and one far away. in the stage trick, in order to get the far away copy of him the feels the applause to appear, he also needs to wait until the copy appears back in the machine. ?? how does the copy that dies reappear in the machine and go through the trap door without the audience seeing? is it a well-timed lighting trick? even if the door was opened before he reappears and he basically goes straight to the tank, they must still see a flicker? 2. was sarah murdered by the twin who didn't love her in order to protect the secret from getting to olivia, or was it really suicide? 3. was the twin who tied the wrong knot the one who died at the end or the one who lived? 4. was the death of the girl in the tank really a mistake because the twin who was properly trained to tie the right not was not the same twin performing the trick? and how could such skilled magicians make such a dumb mistake? do you think one twin did it deliberately or was it an accident? did the girl find out the secret? he is obviously flirting with her before she goes into the tank. maybe there was an affair, which would put her in a good position to find out the secret. i know this sounds far-fetched, but did anyone see any clues? 5. did danton clone himself one last time before being shot by borden? we know he is in the room with the clone machine shortly before he dies, and the last body in the tank that we see releases an air bubble. also, for the people who suggest that root was actually the one killed in the water machine, that is not the case. first, he doesn't trust anyone after root deceives him, which is why he shoots the first double (or the double shoots him - they are identical so it doesn't mattter). he would never use root again. second, we see a room full of tanks. if he was using root, he would never need a tank for the trick. cutter is also smart enough to recognize a dead root. he also talks about how terrifying it was every night knowing that the man who drowns in the tank is the same man who survived every night up until that point. the machine was real, that was a major point of the movie. and for those who don't like the unrealistic sci-fi part, it is a reference to how people actually reacted to crazy inventions by tesla and edison at the time. when the lightbulb was first invented no one wanted to believe it - it was too far fetched. that's how you're supposed to feel. same with the bale twins thing - you're supposed to figure it out early on, and you're supposed to be disappointed. that's the point. he wants you to be disillusioned because that is a major theme of the movie.
January 03, 2007 at 06:16 PM
I think that telsa cloned everyone and everything. He cloned cats and hats, people, trees, and himself. There were actually many cloning machines because he put a machine inside a machine and cloned it, massed produced it and sold them. Actually, we are not even sure if everyone in the town wasnt a clone. Telsa actually created his own town using people from a differnt town. He cloned them all, then sent the originals back to where they were from. Now, we can be happy because everone is actually still alive!
January 06, 2007 at 09:55 AM
That movie sucked! Why? It was intentionally ambiguous and vague leaving no definite conclusions. While this may give blog geeks plenty to debate for months and months, it is poor story tellling. The lack of resolution leaves ordinary viewers unsatisfied and unentertained. However, it is unique in its suckiness and differant from any other crappy movie I have ever seen. My congrats to this brilliantly innovative director on creating a muddled masterpiece of pointless originality.
January 11, 2007 at 04:20 AM
Great, I love this discussion. it reminds me of the discussion we had at school about Othello. Here is another model. 1. The clones are real as is the machine. 2, When the Christian Bale character met Tesla , years ago, Tesla used him develop his machine and create a clone. This became the twin. However each clone is slightly evil. The more cloning the more evil or less human the clone becomes. This is the secret. But at that time the machine only created one clone. 3. The Hugh Jackman character (the original) created a clone that he let live and that became the Danton the magician. This magician did the trick each night creating a new clone and drowning the old one. The original went on to become Lord So and So, who appears as the end ( I forgot his name). Now each clone, and therefore each night, the clone gets more evil. This also explains the cat getting pissed off once he was cloned. Its a variation on Dorian Grey.
January 16, 2007 at 10:52 AM
Wow! What a horrible review! Okay, you don't like the film, not my problem. But when you manage to spoil both The Crying Game and The Following for me, great, thank you very much.
January 21, 2007 at 11:54 AM
It's sad that people can't, and don't want to, suspend disbelief. I'm also amazed people don't seem to realise this was orginally a novel. It's also ironic that people expected a "big twist" and that is the Nolan GOES for the sci-fi approach to the ending. That in itself is unexpected for most, yet nobody its happy to expect it. I thought this film was fantastic. It looked great, the acting from Bale, Bowie, Caine and Rebecca Hall was spot on and the films pace was exciting and well exicuted. I can understand how some people would be dissapointed with the ending but I just find it sad that people struggle to suspend disbelief so much....
January 24, 2007 at 10:48 PM
Just saw the film. I was entertained throughout, but disappointed by the ending. Some people seem to think that the ending is open ended and left to interpretation - but I though it was very clear cut. What we are shown is what is actually going on because no other possible explanation is remotely alluded to or implied. -Bale has a twin; they work together -Jackman clones himself and kills off the clone each time his trick is performed -The twin that loved Johanson's character is hanged. The one with the family survives and kills Jackman. Learning that Bale has a twin didn't shock me, but I wasn't really expecting it, namely because the whole "it was a twin" ending seemed too cheap and cliche. But that's not what bothered me. What bothered me was that we see the cloning part coming miles ahead of the ending (when the cats/hats are cloned). Then it is supposed to be some kind of shocking revelation when we see the clone in the box at the end. After Jackman is shot he says to Bale something to the effect that he never knew if he would be the one who drowned or the one who lived during the trick. Hmm, something to ponder right? Well apparently not, because all the Jackmans die anyway. We are left not caring if the real Jackman got away and had clones doing the tricks the entire time, or if he died during one of the tricks, or if he lived till the end only to have Bale kill him. (The latter of which is what the movie suggests happens). Another direction I would have liked to have seen was more with Jackman's look-a-like. It could have been a nice twist if he took on the persona of the real Jackman. Also, the possibility of the Bale character having a clone rather than a twin would have been interesting, but unfortunately the movie never makes this implication or explores the possibility at all. I would have enjoyed the film more if it really did leave things open to interpretation - maybe even making us wonder if the cloning machine really worked or not. The bottom line is that I think the movie left so many better possibilities untapped. And so we have generated so much discussion over the movie from Nov. 2006 to now, not because the movie makes us think about what happened, but because it makes us think of what didn't happen, and how the movie could have been better. That being said, this is a very watchable and entertaining movie. Some nice parallels are made between the rivalries in the world of illusion, and rivalries in science. A fun flick; great acting; nice pledge and turn - just don't expect to be wowed by the prestige.
January 27, 2007 at 07:32 AM
This review hits it right on the head. There is an exact "ah-hah" moment, a little before half-way through, where everything is made perfectly clear. After that, the thing just unfolds the way it has to, much like Star Wars ep. III. No surprises, just a dutiful recounting.
January 27, 2007 at 07:34 AM
Having read some of the comments above,I'm amazed that some people STILL don't get it. No wonder Nolan thought he had to hit his audience over the head.
January 27, 2007 at 08:56 AM
I have just watched the movie for a second time, and this is my conclusion. when danton(hugh jackman) came back from colorado and displayed the machine to micheal cane and the guy who was goin to get them the theatre. we did not see what happen to the clone created there. and after doin the performances 100 times , each clone was killed in a water tank , therefore when bale saw danton dying at the end the clone was not revealed to the audience as usual because it was set up to frame bale for the murder.This now brings me to the end when bales twin (fallon) who was not really the magician killed danton. that was another clone and what they showed you in the end with danton in the tank was also very clear too , all the tanks were really filled with dead clones beacuse danton was looking at himself in the tank before he got shot and even after that while talking to bale twin he was telling him to look.what i am saying is danton died from the first try and each time after that the one who went into the machine died and the prestige was the clone .all except the one who perform before micheal cane and the guy who was goin to get them the theatre. another clone danton is alive (lord cordello)
January 27, 2007 at 11:01 AM
Silly question, but when Borden realised Angier was still alive, why didn't he get his twin to (anonymously) expose him to the police to save himself? Instead the twin killed Angier rather than saving his brother. I really enjoyed the movie though even though I did find the ending a bit of a let down. The very end of the film, where the dead Angier clone is seen in the tank, seemed like it was supposed to be a shock, yet the fact that he killed his clones was made pretty obvious early on, and even if you missed that then Angier himself admits to doing it in that scene. If that clone had've been alive or something then it might be interesting, but it doesn't seem so.
January 27, 2007 at 05:42 PM
The machine DIDN'T work. This is the prestige of the film. There are various clues throughout the film to the truth. The first shot of the "duplicated" cat/hats is the first clue. It makes no sense why Nolan would give this (misleading) clue so early on. Telsa placed them there for the money. How do you explain the stunt he performs for the 100 shows at the end? He gets his stunt double to come back again and play the part of him before he goes into Tesla's machine, he drops through the trapdoor and into the tank. The tank, however, does not get locked on the nights that Alfred didn't go down there. The assistant survives every night, and is unaware that he will be caged to die on the final night. Angier kills his body double on the final night, and that's who is seen in the autopsy room. It's a strong reason why Cutter could not see the workings behind the stage. Cutter had to make a plea in court that Angier was dead, and if he knew the body was not Angier, he'd be lying in court. Angier repeatedly said he didn't want Cutter to be involved, and that's how he managed to do it. I'm convinced there is no duplication in the movie. The movie functions merely to trick you into believing the movie's plot is based on magic. It's not... It's an illusion. The movie has successfully tricked audiences into believing that it's magic, something magicians have failed to do for years now. The Prestige of the movie itself, is the realisation that the whole thing is an elaborately scripted illusion. The last few shots quickly snap back to the hats and the cats. The simplest of tricks pulled on the magician himself... And the mention that you never see the prestige because you're not looking for it. The distraction in the movie is the secondary (and obvious) twist that there are two people playing Alfred. Of course whether or not the way Nolan presents this is too vauge and open to interprtation; some may say self indeulgent. However I believe the quality actiong, cinematography, sets and the exciting pace makes for an amazing film. Lol my anti-spam word is "twin"
January 29, 2007 at 06:37 AM
Then how do you explain the first time Danton uses the machine? He has his gun ready and immediately shoots his clone.
February 03, 2007 at 01:58 PM
The machine never worked. The scene where Angier uses the machine is the story that as story being told to Borden. It is his way to plant the seed of doubt into Bordon's mind as to how he actually completed the percieved illusion. In fact the truth is a lot more grizzly as Angier killed his body double (used earlier in the film) to complete the illusion. Nolas draws heavily on the mystique of Nikola Tesla folklore in this movie. If you are to believe the machine worked then the implication is that Telsa was a genius capable of true magic. However if you believe the machine never worked then the implication is that Tesla was a master of deception at using mystical forces to deceive people into believing what the want to believe. This indeed was the trick that Angier learned when he realised that the machine did not work and that he had been fleeced by Tesla.
February 05, 2007 at 08:20 PM
The body at the end in the tank is the same of the morgue and the same who gets drowned in the tank. 3 bodys in 3 diferent places in 3 diferent times. You want to believe they are diferent clones, but it is always the same body in diferent places. Root and Angier are real twins who are fooling all. They do the same trick that Borden does. The same but with a better show. They present Root as a simple double, but he is his twin all the time. They are performing. A confusion's trick just like Borden with the jailman and the ball. They present Root like a clumsy drunk actor very similar to fool people but a bit different to NOT fool Borden. They want to be cathed and boycotted by Borden, then they do the real trick (like Borden) to fool him. Thats why Angier doesnt wanna talk about his family. Thats why sometimes Angier says "my name is Dantone (for his lovely wife)" and sometimes says "I don't care for my wife, just for borden's trick" (double personality like borden with his wife). Angier and Borden are doing the same trick and that's why Angier (or Root) get the final conclusion: "you and fallon were twin brothers!". If the machine worked he'd say "oh you were using the tesla's machine too!" So there is two diferent bird's trick. One is with sacrifice, and other without sacrifice. The Angier's trick can be seen in that 2 ways. You can believe he sacrifices his twin (or his double if you don't want to believe it) in the last show..... ...or you can mix the drowning sailor story (who survives after 5 minutes), performing a fake dead, the fact that we don't see never Angier get out of the tank in the drowning scene, the fact that we only see Cutter watching a body in the morgue 2 seconds and this: "No one cares about the man in the box, the man who disappears" and the bubble water at the end...ABRACADABRA! 2 different explanation for a real trick. The machine doesn't work. DO you want any clue? You can see how Andy Serkis quits the cat's necklace, and the TWO cats in the garden had a necklace. It's a trick and they reveal to us (paying attention?), that's why we see Andy Serkis doing so. They were fooling Angier. The shot scene can be viewed as a Nolan's trick as well. This scene is in fact 2 different scenes (gun's trick) separated by a couple of white and empty magical frames in the ray scene. The man who puts the gun is not the same the man who shots: Root fooling Angier. Either way if he gets shot we don't see him die. Nobody dies here. Why he has to be dead? Did Cutter and Borden die when they were shot? No, so same here.
February 10, 2007 at 02:13 PM
I think many people missed one crucial thing. In the last scene, there wasn't just ONE tank. It was a storage FULL of water tanks. When Danton asks Bordend "Do you see where we are?" and points around him, he wants Borden to see the mausoleum of Dantons, Borden doesn't want to look until the final scene, when he notices another Denton in the water tenk. But the camera shows a row of water tanks on each side. Why would Danton want Borden to see a bunch of water tanks, if they weren't filled with bodies? The true question that bothers me is not whether Teslas machine worked, but rather WHY did Denton use a different tank each night, and why he decided to keep all the other Dentons?
February 11, 2007 at 10:00 AM
Although I could go on and on about the flaws of this movie I will pose just one question: If Bale had a twin how come none of his "friends"(Jackman,Caine,Perabo)knew about it??? Before Piper's accident all of them seemed very happy working and having fun together,why would Bale hide his twin brother from them??? Cheers!!!
February 18, 2007 at 02:55 PM
I think you are all wanting this film to be more than it actually was. The simple notion of the film is this - Bale, despite warnings, decides to use a knot to tie Jackman's wife's wrists that he should not use. However, he did this with the approval of Jackman's wife (note she stated previously that she can slip any knot and he looked at her for a nod of approval prior to changing the knot). She dies. Thus creating the tone of obsession and revenge for the rest of the movie. This act of death was purely an accident, not murder, yet Jackman understandably never forgives Bale. Bale does have a twin and hence it was probably the twin that could not answer Jackman's question of which knot did you tie, because it was not him who tied the knot that night. He then gains success and an apparent happy life with his transported man act and wife and child, which further angers Jackman, who then begins his journey of revenge by trying to copy and better Bale with his own acts. Bale simply misdirects Jackman by sending him to Tesla, knowing that this will waste alot of Jackman's time and money on a wild goose chase, hence the entries further in Bale's stolen journal in which he writes directly to Jackman stating as such. HOWEVER! Bale did not know that Tesla was indeed working on a machine that can transport matter and that Jackman's money was allowing him to actually finalise his invention, ultimately giving Jackman the means to better his own transported man trick. The first time Jackman uses this machine, he shoots his own clone. Therefore the original Jackman is still alive as there is no trapdoor on that machine. Jackman later obviously builds a trap door into the machine for his act. However, from that point on we simply do not know if it is Jackman or a clone that goes into the machine from the first opening performance, but what we do know is that everytime Jackman or a clone does the act, they are immediately drowned and then later the water tank is taken away into storage, which we see at the end of the movie. He keeps Caine away from under the stage for the same reason as he only uses blind stage hands, because he does not want anybody to see the "secret" of what he does. In the end, one of the Bale twins certainly does die by hanging and all of the Jackman's die, with the final one shot by Bale.
February 18, 2007 at 03:35 PM
I didnt find the movie at all disappointing, it maybe because of a lack of attention on my part but I do believe that the actual reason is that the person watching the movie doesn't really want to believe the trick to be that simple, it is as the narrator says "you're not really looking, you don't really want to know" so the ending though simple reinforces the idea repeated through the movie, a magical trick is worth nothing after you know it's secret, it's all deception
February 19, 2007 at 08:05 PM
''The prestige'' is the magic trick the director was pulling off...1st when he sais:"Are watching carefully?"...in other words when start wondering about how he did the trick and if he duplicated himsef using tesla is "the turn" ..the director missleads u by showing u TESLA and his machines then here comes "the prestige" when the charater is hanged and he returns as his twin brother...the director showed u the twin brother really good before even knowing the existence of TESLA but the audience wants something better something expected ...they want what they were thinkin of !!! we were HUGH JACKMAN-->the audience fooled misled and who want to know the secret yet dont becoz then the trick looses its effect..and the magician will be nothin in front of them and the magician was CHRISTIAN BALE fooling us , misleading us and asking us "ARE U WATCHING CAREFULLY?" WELL WE THOUGHT WE WERE...we wanted to see what we wanted to see...not whats really happening!!! (think about it :) )
February 20, 2007 at 02:32 AM
My question...if it truely was his TWIN...how could he show so little emotion to that twin, knowing he was about to die?? I'm one that never realized it could be a twin till reading this board. I always assumed he cloned himself once....and gave up the TESLA secret as payment to Hugh Jackman to tell him where his "friend" was after Jackman captured him.
February 21, 2007 at 03:02 AM
Lots of great thoughts out there. I just bought the film on DVD and watched it...and I think the second viewing clarified some things for me...albeit with one big glaring question. 1. The Bale's are twins not clones, and if you watch closely, you can tell which one is which at any given moment. One of them is more quiet, subdued, and ponderous. This is the more talented magician of the two...he's the one who says at the end to just let Angier have his trick and leave him alone. This is the "family guy" twin who has the brains and loves his wife and daughter. He's the brother getting yelled at because he can't figure out Angier's trick. He's the brains of the operation. The other twin is the one who explodes at the end saying, "He goes 50 yards in one second and all we know is he uses a trap door!" This one is the brash one, the 'naughty' one, if you like. He's the one who hangs at the end because he couldn't leave well enough alone. I think it was the latter brother who tied the wrong knot. Maybe it was his first time on stage (as the brothers decide they want to start building up their act) and he honestly had no idea which knot he tied...which is why he couldn't tell his brother either. Clones are (in theory) completely identical, while twins, though identical in appearance, can be almost exact opposites. Besides, it cost Angier a great deal of money to get his clone. He was backed by his family fortune--a luxury Bale didn't have. He knew about Tesla from the conference he went to, and since the diary was a setup from the get-go, he just used the name as a liekly avenue for Angier to pursue. It didn't mean anything to him particularly...it was a good, authentic-sounding decoy. Remember the Bale brothers lived out illusions all the way--making "Tesla" the key to the journal was another way of authenticating the ruse. 2. The machine did work...it had to. Remember when Angier protests to killing a bird? ...The point of the movie is how far obsession will take you and how it can consume you. (C'mon, the theme didn't get beat into your head as much as, "With great power comes great responsability", but Nolan has Tesla say it enough to give you the idea.) So Angier goes from a guy who didn't want to crush a dove to someone willing to take a human life...again and again. Once he found out the machine cloned and transported, he could have just used his clone as he did the stunt man. (Though he saw how poorly that worked out and perhaps didn't want to run the risk of a similar situation.) The trick wasn't in appearing elsewhere. Heck, Bale's character did that and Angier didn't care. As he said, "I don't need your secret. I can do it better." The wonder was in the transportation. The fact that the machine could in fact transport him to a balcony, not just somewhere else near the stage. The key to the movie is the sacrifice. That's what Angier says in his dying breath. Nolan could have easily made the machine just teleport Angier without creating a clone, but the point to be made was how far Angier was willing to go to see the wonder on people's faces. I don't think Angier would trust his stunt double ever again, nor would an authentic twin (a theory put forth by some) allow his brother to plummet to the ground from the stage when he couldn't be sure of the outcome. Angier could have broken his neck as easily as his leg. He had no twin...if he had, he wouldn't have obsessed over Bale's trick as much. If Angier and his brother were doing what Bale and his brother were doing, he wouldn't have found the thought of Bale using a twin as "too simple." No, I think the machine did work. Too much time was given to Tesla's character. Too much mystery and dialogue took center stage for him to be a phony. I didn't notice the cat-leash-collar thing (good eye, though!) but I'm pretty sure that would get filed under "goof" or "continuity error" on the film side. 3. I'm pretty sure the very first clone is the one that makes it to the end of the flick. Unless we are to believe that the machine is completely random (something that might be true since Angier says "I didn't know if I would be the one in the tank or as the prestige"), one is always the victim and the other is always the prestige. Many people have said that the killing of the clone never happened because it was Angier telling the story. But I have yet to see a movie where the device of flashback was used by itself (sans narration) to decieve. The flashback was done for the auidence's benefit, not for Bale's character. Angier doesn't narrate. We are seeing what happened right after the first transport/cloning took place. If someone is lying or decieving, we as the audience are usually put in the know by there being a contradiction between the narration and the action we're watching. Sometimes there is narration with action that is a load of bull. But again, as a film device, I don't think a pure flashback can be a lie. It's a device that needs integrity to work and have justification. Angier was dying anyway, and his speech explains his motives perfectly. He had no motive for feeding Bale a crock of bull, and if he had we would have known because his narration would have contradicted what we were watching. All that said, I think the machine transports the original and leaves the clone standing in the machine. As a man who existed prior to using the machine, I think the original Angier would be more likely to try to stop his clone from killing him than the other way around. The Angier left standing seemed in awe of himself, even though the original Angier had already seen the duplication happen on the cat and the hat. I think the clone would have been too stunned to say anything. I believe it was the original Angier who, finding that it was he who was transported away from the gun, tried to save his own life...and failed. After that trial run, the clone knew that the duplicate stayed put while the original got transported to safety...which is why the clone (now the "original") would do the trick every night; he knew he wasn't going to die, and why he put the watertank below the stage. (Another point against the Angier-brother-or-stunt-double-argument. Angier wouldn't have used a water tank to break his fall...he would have used a mat like he did originally.) Regardless, the original Angier couldn't have survived. If the original stays in the machine while the clone gets transported, then he killed the clone and died the first night he performed the trick with the tank. I think the first clone put the tank down there knowing that the newly created clone wouldn't be able to get off the trapdoor before it opened, thereby having no chance at escape. Like I said, I'm still pondering why Angier said he didn't know who was going to end up in the tank. The only way would be if the machine worked differently every time, and so the Angier that pulled the switch honestly never knew if he would die or be transported. But that contradicts his earlier qualms about being under the stage while his stunt double got the acclaim. That really bothered him. I find it hard to believe that he would not only sacrifice the credit, but also his own life (knowingly) just to pull off the trick. It makes more sense for the clone to be the one frantically trying to escape the tank--his first few seconds of existence are those of surprise and drowning--than for the "original" who knew he had to sacrifice his life for the act to be so surprised and determined to escape. I think other possibilites are great to look at, but a film like this one has a purpose, a statement of sorts to make. I think this one looked at two men with two different kinds of obsession who meet similar fates at the end of their pursuits. For both men, it is about great sacrifice. The original Angier lost his life to a clone in pursuit of his goal, and then the "original" clone, technically an extension of Angier, had to sacrifice a human life every night for 100 nights to make it all work. Bale and his twin sacrificed their lives in many ways, and ultimately their relationships to the women they loved just for one trick. The point of the machine and the lopping off of the fingers was to show how obsessive these men were in their own ways. I admit, my initial impression of the film was one of disgust. Not only at the fact that I got a curve ball of sci-fi thrown in to an otherwise believable story, but that there were no good guys. I thought Angier was a good guy until he let one of the Bale twins hang. I should have had a clue when he tried to kill Bale (he failed only because the twin jumped in at the last second) that he wasn't on the level, but que sera. But as I thought about it, I realized I liked not having a clean-cut good guy. It's more real to life. And while I wish they could have done something besides a sci-fi machine gimic to make the point, I think it worked just fine. It gave an answer so simple (stupid, to some) and so horrifying that you didn't want to believe it. The cloning was given away earlier on purpose. That wasn't the surprise. The surprise wasn't until you found out that he'd been killing every single clone to make the trick work--that he was so ego-centric that he wouldn't just use a double anymore. The surprise was that it wasn't a clone in the tank just to set up Bale--it was a clone every night. The man who didn't want to get his hands dirty ended up getting them filthy. I don't know about you guys, but it made me feel weird. Again, I didn't like being jarred from my suspense of disbelief. Something that farfetched is a dangerous thing to put in a movie. But it was a plot device more than anything, and it was based on the book (though with some differences) so Nolan didn't have much choice as to whether he wanted to use it or not. Everything seems farfetched before it's reality. A DVD player? How would you begin to describe that to someone two hundred years ago? Even the concept boggles the mind. The author of the book says there was a mysterious aura that surrounded the real Tesla, and he used that to allow for the chance that he could create something in science (not magic or sorcery) that could do something unheard of. Besides, does the solution to Sixth Sense really work in "reality" either? How much disbelief do you have to swallow for that to sit right with you? Unlike Sixth Sense however, I found I enjoyed watching this again even though I knew what was going on. I found plenty of conflict and drive within the characters--even moreso when I knew exactly what was going on. I think too many of the alterior options take out any kind of substance and leave the movie with no focus or drive. If the stunt double had been that important to the plot, he would have gotten subtle nods like Bale's disguised twin did. The camera lingered on him enough and avoided his speech and face enough to let you know he was important and not just a periferal charcter. If Nolan was determined to keep Bale's twin a secret he didn't have to show the twin-in-disguise as much as he did. He wanted us to know so that we could appreciate the dual lives that were being led and the disasters that came out of it. One of the complaints was that we didn't see enough conflict anc character during the movie, but what do see when you've got a guy who has to pretend he loves a woman who he doens't even care for? What do you see when the other twin can say nothing while the woman he loves calls him "cold" when he doesn't mourn the loss of his "wife"? I saw the movie at 11 at night. I knew the helper guy had to be playing a huge role but I didn't connect the dots. I did think that Angier would have arranged for a rescue or escape of the twin who was to hang, and I think he could have done it. (That's why the twin said he would get out and why he said "abrah cadabrah" before he fell.) I was still thinking Angier was a good guy who couldn't let an innocent man die. I was wrong. Then again, in Angier's eyes, Bale wasn't innocent. And in truth, he wasn't. He did, because of his obsession with secrecy, inadvertently kill Angier's wife. Everything escalated from there. Kudos to those who figured out the secrets early, but I submit that the problem with this movie was only in the billing. I think too much was made out of making the film a trick instead of it being a grim demonstration of how obsession can lead to unnecessary sacrifice to the point of death. I personally didn't have enough answers to really make sense of everything until the very end when the motives and plot holes were explained. It was then that the piece came together for me...only to find that the resulting picture wasn't what I had been looking for at all. I was looking for a "who done it and how" and what I got was something that felt a little more disturbing and substantial than that. It didn't meet or suprass my expectations...it just changed them. Second viewing was great. ...And poof! I disappear....
February 21, 2007 at 06:47 AM
My one big question after buying the DVD and seeing it again. The night that Bordon goes to see Anjiers trick where he duplicates himself, and he goes down below stage and sees the tank and sees Anjeir drown. How did Anjier know he was there that night?? He would have had to of known so that the duplicated man did not show himself at the end of the trick, if he did then Borden could not be tried for his murder, so Anjier knew he was down there looking at the tank but how did he know?? I have not beeb able to figure that out yet.
February 21, 2007 at 12:15 PM
I was wondering that too. There was no indication that he recognized Bordon when Bordon went on stage to examine the machine (although at some point you'd think one of 'em would start getting wise to the ol' facial-hair-disguise). The only thing I could think of was that Angier allowed one, maybe two seconds before he made his appearance on the balcony. I remember that you could hear Bordon screaming something below stage almost immediately after the disappearance, so maybe Angier caught himself at the last moment. Doesn't seem plausible though, since Angier had obviously banked heavily that Bordon would show up. Did Angier ever get to the 100th show? Other than that, I haven't a clue. Of course, I've always wondered how being the only witness to a murder was strong enough evidence to convict a man. Cutter still never showed how Bordon could have moved a frigg'in tank under the trap door, or explain why he was calling for help and furiously hacking away at the glass when Cutter came in. I mean I know the judicial system has flaws, but c'mon...that's weak sauce!
February 23, 2007 at 04:51 PM
1. if we assume that nolan is careful, a fair assumption, then the bubble you see escaping rising in the last shot is intentional........thus, that person is alive 2. if we assume that the body taken from the tank as a murder victim would not disappear, then there must be a real tesla machine because there has been three Angiers...one dies in the tank, one is shot by Borden, and one is shown breathing in the tank 3. Borden was a biological twin because the personalities were very different, unlike angiers true exact duplicates... 4. the one small flaw i found was Angier's wife's death. Caine is an exact calculator...why would he have a hatchet if he didn't know it would work? why not use the fake lock and escape to open the tank..just a shis wife would do every night...as caine explained later to the judge...the lock is opened from the outside 5. i thought david bowie deserved a supporting actor nomination.he was uncanny
February 25, 2007 at 05:25 PM
Hey Peacemaker, what about the Usual Suspects...That entire movie is a flashback meant to decieve. -a
February 26, 2007 at 09:00 PM
This movie was far-fetched but I loved it. I don't care if you figured it out in the first 30 minutes or you didn't figure it out until the end - but when you discovered that every time Angier performed The Real Transported man that he willingly stepped onto that trap door and had his blind stage hands position the water tank with the real lock under it so that he would purposely drown - that was pretty shocking! And same with when he shot his copy while the copy was yelling "wait I'm the real...", that dude is cold hearted and obsessed. There is alot of confusion about what really occured, to figure it out, use occam's razor. - Bordon had an identical twin - One twin loved his wife, the other loved the assistant. - Bordon wanted to get rid of Angier so he sent him on a wild goose chase to America to Nicola Tesla. - Tesla was an electricity genius, but was very honest (in real life), he would not have been scamming Angier, the machine successfully created copies, Bordon had no clue that Tesla might be able to actually teleport something or create copies. Think about the warning note he wrote Angier "throw this into the bottom of the ocean", if it was all a scam why write that note - Angier would obviously know it was a scam a few seconds later when he tried the machine and it didn't work... therefore THE MACHINE WORKS. - Angier tested the machine and created a copy of himself, he shot the copy. - Angier showed the manager of the theater the trick, he had a tank of water setup under the stage, he killed himself and the copy lived on. This is what happens every time he does the trick - he commits suicide by drowning. Once he's in the tank he obviously doesn't want to drown which is why he probably always tries to escape, but never succeeds because of the real lock. - One of the Bordon twin's gets hanged in prison. I see the two twins as slightly different, one is a little more level headed and the other is even more obsessed with magic, the level headed one cautions the other not to go below the stage but he is too obsessed to give it up, so he goes below the stage and gets caught for killing Angier and then later is hanged, this is also the twin who tied the knot that killed Angier's wife and refused to tell his brother the knot he tied, the more level headed one wouldn't have tied that knot and thus went to the funeral to give condolences to Angier, so the Bordon who wasn't level headed ended up being hanged and the level headed one was able to live on with his daughter. That should clear up what actually happened, but there are some characters in the movie that are stupid: - Angier: Why didn't you look at the knot on your wifes wrists after she was dead? Why not create just 1 copy and let that copy live so you have a perfect double for the trick? - Police and Cutter - test the machine! You would see that it creates a copy. One good question I've seen is: How did Angier know when Bordon would be below the stage? The only answer I can think of is that he knew because he recognized Bordon's disguise when he want up on stage to investigate the machine, so when the copy is made instead of running out he knows to hang back and wait, then he hears Bordon screaming and smashing the case so he thinks, "perfect, I'll keep hanging back here and hope that Bordon can't save me". Another great question... How could they actually convict Bordon? The fact that he got convicted was a plot device, but Angier (Lord Coldlow) is actually very wealthy and powerful, this is why he changed his name to become a magician as that profession wouldn't be respected, so he probably had some pull in getting Bordon convicted.
February 26, 2007 at 09:50 PM
A, I honestly haven't seen The Usual Suspects, though I probably should. From the things I've read about it though, there was narration in it in addition to contradictory flashbacks. As I said, when there is narration of any kind, it gives the audience the idea that this is coming from the person's perspective not necessarily from Truth. ...And the fact that the flashbacks don't agree (if that is the case) lets us (audience) know the "facts" are anything but. Apparently in the case of TUS, the faulty flashbacks were required to advance the plot while keeping the audience engaged. If the flashbacks had been acurate from the start, I'm guessing the running time of the movie would have been reduced to the first fifteen minutes or so. Whereas in the case of this film, there was no motivation or necessity for the flashback to be misleading. Angier had no motive for deceiving Bordon (the proof was in the room anyway) and as a film there was no need to distort the facts. I'm sure at the end of TUS, we find out that the flashbacks were faulty right? Heck, we might know earlier because of the contradictions in the stories. (I really need to see this flick.) If the summary I read is correct, there was a "flashback" at the very start of the film with no narration or comments--it was a flashback that was an acurate revelation of events, but no one could make any sense of it without the rest of the story. Again, I could be way off. As I said, no movie that I've seen uses false non-narrated, non-perspective- oriented flashbacks. Usually there is a clue either in the presentation of the story or in the story itself that something is amiss. With Angier, his story made sense and there was no indication that he was being false. Ya gotta look at everything in context. I will check out that movie though. I've heard it's good.
February 26, 2007 at 09:52 PM
...And why the heck I spelled "accurate" as "acurate" I don't know...
February 27, 2007 at 09:33 AM
wow, I can't believe you haven't seen the Usual Suspects. It's a great movie. Hope I didn't ruin it for you. peace, a
February 27, 2007 at 11:56 AM
Well...i have just returned from a trip over east and this was the movie on the plane! My partner sat next to me and read, occasionally tapping me on the arm whilst I watched to want to know what the movie was about and if it was worth while putting the funky little headphones on to actually listen instead of watch it like a deaf person...so obviously annoying me at the same time while I was trying to 'figure out' the twist. It got to the end and he said "so..what was that movie about?" and my response was "I have no idea!" and the thing that through me the most was the use of the machine in a 19th century set film. How stupid of me to think that that was not posssible! Everything else made sense, just not that...thanks to those who viewed the film the same way...and good luck to those about to watch it.
February 28, 2007 at 11:56 AM
Not to worry, A. I'm all about a good script and a quality presentation. I enjoy the beats, not just the movie as a whole.
February 28, 2007 at 09:37 PM
PeaceMaker pretty much hit the nail on the head, except for one detail. Angier never knew if the machine transported the "original" to safety while leaving the freshly made duplicate in the machine (scenario A), or vice a versa (scenario B). I would have agreed with you on your point (that the first one that survived was a clone, because he looked at himself in awe and he knew he was a clone) but the fact is that both thought they were the original since their memories are the same. Anyone who argues against this is wrong because of 1 of 2 possibilities: Scenario A: If the clone was the one that shot the "original" and had no memories prior to the cloning process, he wouldn't even know his own name or profession. Scenario B: During the "prestige" the clone wouldn't know what the hell is going on. He'd magically just be created on top of a balcony and wouldn't have the memories required to reveal himself as part of an illusion. What backs this up the most is Angier's dialogue to Bordon: "You don't know the courage it took stepping into the machine every night, not knowing if I'd be the man in the box, or the prestige." He said this because, whether HE was the "original" (I'm referring to the very first clone who shot the TRUE original - assuming this is the case (scenario A)) which survived all the way to his Lord Cordlow persona, he still wouldn't know for sure if he was the original or the latest clone because the clone who would be created would have the memory of stepping into the machine wondering if he was going to be killed or be the prestige. It's a simple concept but hard to explain...but even the one in the box (if a clone) would think he's the original because in his mind he was just standing in the machine. It's logical to think that the original gets transported to safety since Tesla's original intention was to create a teleporter - it just had an unfortunate and unforseen sideeffect.
March 01, 2007 at 02:36 AM
Mr Anderson, I think I get what you're saying. ...But you're right, it's very difficult to explain. I had no doubts that the clone was an exact and perfect duplicate, I just thought that perhaps the original, not knowing that the clone shared his intent to shoot the duplicate, would make an attempt to stop the clone from killing him. Obviously the clone has every bit of information and intent that the "original" has the second before it is duplicated. It isn't really a seperate entity with Angier's blueprints. It doesn't come into the world understanding that its a clone, looking at life as a blank slate with Angier's memories. The clone is predetermined to live Angier's life the way he would live it and to make the decisions he would. So I guess maybe "clone" isn't the right word then. Because in actuality, Angier did die every night. It wasn't a matter of "clone" or "original"...the duplicate was, for all intents and purposes, the real thing. Up till this point, I've always seen clones as people with the same physical and mental construction as the original but with their own will and independent thinking. The idea of clones that this movie presents is one where it isn't just someone who looks, talks and thinks like the original...it is the original. ...Yeah, see, I can't explain it either. But I do understand what you're saying. Good call, good thoughts. Huzzah!
March 01, 2007 at 02:46 AM
One other thought: Angier operated with the assumption that drowning was like "going home". I mean he had to know it wasn't exactly a pleasure ride, but he seemed authentically shocked at the end when Cutter said, "Remember what I said about the man who drowned? ...I lied. He said it was agony." Despite the fact that he saw his wife struggling and fighting in the tank, I don't think Angier every realized just how horrible a death it was to drown. It doesn't diminish how far he was willing to go, but it does explain why the "clone" was so startled and desperate to escape. Because the clone was Angier, he knew the thought about drowning being "like going home" (whatever that means) the second before he dropped into the tank. Only when he was actually drowning did he realize just how wrong he was.
March 01, 2007 at 09:39 AM
So for 100 shows he killed off 100 Angiers? The first real deal Angier Drowned the first night? The Angier that came out upstairs was the clone? I thought it was a very well delivered movie that had me all the way to the end...I was like SOB! Great movie, beats the Heck out of the Nicholas Cage dumpster movies of late, Steven Segal junk, and many miore to speak of...I almost want to Fire up the Canon GL2 and start producing BLAIR!
March 03, 2007 at 07:40 AM
Hi, everybody! Okay, the movie wasn't perfect. A few things fell flat. Jackman as Angiers was too bland, Scarlett Johansson's accent struck a false note (do any Brits agree? I'm American, I could be wrong here), the big reveal (Angiers' "real magic" Tesla trick) wasn't the creepy shocker it should have been, and the visual handling of Fallon (frequently shown as a big black glove or shot from behind) was pretty clunky. How much better if Fallon had been as convincing as a particular character in a very old film of an Agatha Christie story! (This comment phrased coyly so as not to spoil that movie for people who haven't seen it yet.) But I really enjoyed this movie! I thought it was a _great_ way to spend a couple of hours & I'd recommend it to most of my friends. I thought it was a complex story, well-handled. I'd like to comment on two things people have said above, and then ask my own questions. 1. The reviewer said the film was too easy to figure out and lacked misdirection. This, I don't understand. Let's say you cottoned on to Fallon's real nature early on. But did you really have _everything_ figured out that early? Was the movie really spoiled? ("No surprises"? Come on!) Of course not! There were a lot of mysteries and unexpected developments here, and singling out one as the "a-ha moment" of the film indicates that you _have_ fallen prey to Nolan's misdirection. (Here's a thought question for the people who recognized Fallon immediately. Did all the narrative tension really evaporate at that point? As one small item, weren't you dying to figure out which twin was in jail and which was on the loose? Which Dad Jessie [was that her name?] would be spending the rest of her life with--or indeed whether one twin would go to the gallows at all? The reviewer argues that the filmmaker added depth and complexity to the characters too late, at the end of the film--but if he really had everything figured out early on, then why wasn't he bathing in complexity & irony all the way along?) 2. Implausible/"stupid" nature of the Tesla trick. I think this reaction arises from a slight shortcoming of the film. When I hear the name "Tesla" I think ah, enigmatic real-life genius, prepare for strange waters ahead. But people who haven't heard of Tesla before seeing the film wouldn't necessarily get this from the movie (although I think David Bowie did a great job of conveying depth, mystery, & brilliance in a tiny bit of screentime). Is there anyone who knew a bit about the historical Tesla, and still felt cheated by the fact that his (fictional) machine worked? I'm interested! And now my questions. Help me out, DVD renters and owners! 1. When did the Bordens write the diary which Olivia gave to Angiers? The cipher word was Tesla, and the Bordens' plan was to send Angiers to America on a wild-goose chase. This suggests that the diary was composed as a fake. (It would be an awfully big coincidence if the Bordens had happened to choose Tesla as their cipher word way back when.) And yet, when one of the Bordens is sitting in prison, reading Angiers' diary and delighting in having tricked him so thoroughly, he is clearly struck by Angiers' description of him as having a divided mind and a restless soul, alternating between craving and hating his wife and child. This suggests that the diary entries were authentic, and were written by _both_ Bordens at the expected times. (And BTW, I thought this was a really poignant moment--especially given that the jailed Borden, as we later learned, caused Sarah's death ...) The entry which ruminates on Julia's death is also telling. Something like, "Half of me swears that I tied the slip knot ... and the other half is certain that I am lying." This also sounds authentic: the twin who tied the knot that night has told his brother that he tied the slip knot which Cutter told him to. The other twin (I'll take another viewer's suggestion and call him "Good Twin") believes his brother is lying, but can't know for sure. (And recall that the Bad Twin might just have been inept: before that evening, Cutter says something to him like, "Some nights you just don't get it, do you?") So on the two occasions when Angiers asks the Good Twin which knot he tied, he says, "I don't remember." He's not willing to give the Bad Twin's answer, because he doesn't really believe it--but he's also not willing to say "he" tied the other knot, because he doesn't really know. The best I've been able to come up with is this: the Bordens really did keep a secret diary which they alternated writing in. (And this could have been useful, given that they each needed to know what was going on in the life they shared.) They then at some point translated the diary, using the Tesla cipher, to give to Angiers ... with the gloating entry added at the end. Any other ideas? (And here's another fun diary note. The beginning of the Bordens' diary, as I recall, goes something like this: "We were two young men, devoted to an illusion, and we never intended to hurt anyone." When Angiers reads the diary, he believes that this is a reference to him, and he is surprised that Borden mentions him, given that they've only known each other a few days at that point. But it's actually the Bordens talking about themselves, right? The people they will hurt are Julia & Angiers, and they tell that story. But as the viewer discovers, they go on to hurt several others too: Sarah, Olivia, and Jessie.) 2. How did Cutter explain Angiers' "real magic" Tesla trick to the judge? At the time of the trial, he believed that the "trick" was an illusion, and had no idea how it worked. But he has to make something up because he's convinced that Borden was guilty of Angiers' murder. So are we to assume that he just invented something that sounded sufficiently magicianly? 3. What in the world was Fallon doing following Angiers on the evening that Cutter and Angiers kidnapped him? (Or have I misremembered, was he not following Angiers but just going home or something?) The Bordens were "ahead" in the crazy oneupmanship-game at this point, and Angiers had their diary in his possession. Presumably they were just waiting for him to decode the cipher on his own, and enjoying the thought of him wasting countless hours on it. TIA for your thoughts, I've enjoying the entries I've read here ...
March 03, 2007 at 02:15 PM
Bookbuggy, You ask some great questions 'cause I don't think there are really good answers to them. It's funny 'cause I watched the movie for the 3rd time last night with a friend and it was then that I picked up on the first journal entry talking about "two magicians". There are in fact other "we's" and "us's" elsewhere in the movie, retrospective hints to the duplicity. I assume the journal was authentic up until the last entry. Remember that Borden was at Tesla's canceled preivew as well, and perhaps there were some scenes that ended up on the cutting room floor that showed some kind of fascination Borden had with the scientist. Maybe even then he believed Tesla was capable of "real" magic, despite the fact that at that particular show he didn't get to see anything. He was big into learning methods--perhaps Telsa was an ignima for him and so the reason for the cypher code. (If you remember, Borden doesn't look terribly surprised at what he sees in that cellar at the end of the flick. Maybe he was more concerend about other things, or maybe he knew Tesla was capable of producing such a machine--though obviously not entirely sure what it could do. He was the smart twin after all...maybe he knew something the brash one didn't.) As for Cutter's explanation of the machine, another viewer actually brought up the point that the judge could have very easily just tested the stupid thing on, oh say, a top hat, and figured it all out. Unless the directions were that complex of course. The whole trial/law aspect of the movie seemed very brittle to me. A man's life hangs in the balance, and the law of the land is going to let Cutter keep the secret so he can make money? --And why the heck didn't the busted Borden seem to care at all about his fate until the very last minute when he tells Angier he can "stop this right now"? He seemed comatose during the trial, so I figured he had everything worked out. So because of the ambiguity, Cutter never reveals how the full water tank ended up under the trap door, why Borden was frantically hacking away at the tank trying to free Angier, and the "magic" trick is never explained to anyone REGARDLESS of the fact that Cutter and Angier never intended to use the machine ever again. If the trick was finished forever, why not blow the "secret"? As for your last question...no idea. Fallan was in fact following Angier (and if I remember correctly, he would have been the "smart" twin) and I don't know why. Maybe he thought he was up to something. ...And wasnt' Angier following Borden for a little bit initially? ...No clue. Another plot hole. The one thing I found interesting after this viewing was Cutter's narrative at the end coupled with Jessie's reuiniting with her father. Cutter's talking about how the turn doesn't mean anything without the prestige, and at that moment a girl who had a father in prison (though she obviously didn't fully grasp the concept), now had him back again. For Jessie, it perhaps wasn't a trick, but her father does magically appear whereas before he couldn't leave the prison. So, in a way, Borden is ultimately able to achieve the magic that Cutter is referring to. Even if he never appears to anyone else, for Jessie he was the ultimate prestige. Perhaps in a movie that never really seemed to have a true hero or "good guy", the "good twin" actually was, and apart from the revenge aspect (needed to do it so he could get his little girl back) his hands were clean...even if they were missing some fingers.
March 04, 2007 at 01:30 AM
Hi, Peacemaker. Thanks for your response! I don't think Cutter could have tested the machine after the water-tank death. If he had discovered that the machine was producing two of whatever it operated on, he would have known that there was another Angiers loose in the world. When he actually does figure out what the machine does--which happens when he meets Angiers as Lord Whoever--he's so appalled that he tips the remaining Borden off to his presence in the workshop, and so facilitates his death. But your comment reminded me that when Cutter is discussing the machine earlier on, he announces that it's real. And I think Angiers did tell him it was real magic he was in search of when he invited him along on his American trip. So presumably Cutter's belief at the time of the trial was that the machine was real (i.e. a Star Trek transporter), but that he was going to invent a stage-magic explanation of it for the judge. Why not blow the secret? Maybe Cutter planned on selling the machine as science at some future date, or just using it as the basis of any number of Transported Man-type tricks, so that he could become the greatest designer of (apparent) stage illusions ever. Either way, it's a valuable property. You also bring up another really good point. Cutter saw Borden, his one-time protege, smashing the water tank in an apparent attempt to help Angiers escape from it. But that didn't stop him from putting the noose around Borden's neck at the trial--dismissing the question of how Borden could have moved the water tank by himself with, "He's the magician. Ask him." So presumably he believes that Borden was the killer, but then realized he had been spotted and so was _pretending_ to try to free Angiers from the tank. I'm struck by the fact that Cutter had no doubts that Borden had engineered Angiers' death. Why not believe instead that Borden had snuck backstage to get a look at the illusion, and that the blind stagehands had made a fatal mistake? Bookbuggy.
March 11, 2007 at 07:06 AM
I think this movie was amazing. All this discussion has made me smile. There is something that I'd like to say. Unless all the clones have Danton's memory, the one at the end is the original. This would be due to the fact that Caine said "Remember when I said..." Now, since we know that the one who came out of the box the first time go shot, we can assume that the original died in that scene. I find this to be a baffling thing. That is of course, unless the machine cloned the person exactly as is with the same memory -shrug-
March 11, 2007 at 07:37 AM
does anyone have any theories on if the names of the twins, borden and fallen, have any underlying signifigance ?
March 11, 2007 at 01:41 PM
Matt, I had an epiphany about this about a week ago, after much mental anguish and debate. There is no "original". (Or spoon!) Let's say that after the very first time Angier used the machine, no one got shot. Lets say Cutter was there and he sat down and interviewed both Angiers. This is how it would go: Cutter: What do you remember? Angier Y: I finished making adjustments to the machine...I hit the switch, I was engulfed in light. I could feel something--it wasn't pain--shooting trhough my whole body. My vision went white...and when I could see again, I was standing in the exact same place. Cutter: Okay. How about you? Angier Z: I finished making adjustments to the machine...I hit the switch, I was engulfed in light. I could feel something--it wasn't pain--shooting trhough my whole body. My vision went white...and when I could see again, I was standing across the room, looking at myself. --You see? Thus far, sci-fi has indroduced us to clones and duplicates that are just that, duplicates. The reason Angier never knew whether he'd be the prestige or the victim was because it was impossible to know! We as an audience will never know. The only difference between the Angiers was that one of them actually physically stepped into the machine...but they both have memories of doing it. And there's no way to test, because neither one has any clue if they were created in the light or if they had stepped into the machine originally. Because the machine made a perfect second Angier, any physical or mental change done before the duplication would carry on to the second Angier. If Angier marked one of his arms and then got into the machine, both Angiers would have the mark and both would distinctly remember making that mark prior to getting into the machine! Again, that's why he never knows and we can never know either. If it helps, because of how thorough the process was, technically Angier never died because one way or another he was always the prestige. ...Of course the flip side is that Angier also died every night...but he was always there to take his place. I found it easier to understand once I stopped thinking of one Angier as an original to begin with. Yes, one of them physically lived in a body up to the point where one got shot (though a thourough autopsy of both Angiers would have shown the exact same wear and tear and aging on both) but the instant the flash happened, Angiers' life split in two. The body that went in was duplicated, so in actuality both Angiers had lived up to the duplication. Crazy poo. From what I understand, in the book, the duplication wasn't perfect. While I usually prefer my clones to know that they're clones, never being able to know if he was going to drown or not does give Angier the ultimate price, and therefore the ultimate sacrifice to achieve the miracle of "wonder" for an audience. ...Though since Borden drove one woman away and essentially killed another one, perhaps his sacrifice was equal to that of Angier's. Both of 'em were, "insane in the membrane." ...As for name theories...AP English was a long time ago for me. The question popped in my head at some point I think. ...I'll try to revisit that too at some point, Zuma.
March 11, 2007 at 08:27 PM
I know it is fun to speculate about time lines, false diaries and such, but once Tesla is introduced the game is over. The whole movie is about Tesla and Edison (figuratively - obviously) and that is the sleight of hand the movie ultimately deals. Might have gone too far with the duplicating bit but a look at the history of these two men, especially Tesla, reveals more about the film than rambling about the extent of the "illusions" or the "reality." Then again, maybe I went for too many snacks without pausing? Just a thought.
March 13, 2007 at 08:11 AM
The movie was a disappointment, because end was so predictable....& I was expecting something special..I thought Nolan was going to pulloff something extra ordinary...but nothing happened...& the first glimpse that I got of Fallon i knew it was Christian Bale!!...Nolan should have should used better decieving make up for Fallon..also he shoul have been vague about the working of the machine..should have shown only a couple of shots of hats....& should have kept audience guessing till the end...I think as a book Prestige would be more decieving...
March 15, 2007 at 01:02 AM
I think the only thing that still leaves me guessing is that in order for the REAL Jackman to be dead, we MUST assume that the machine always works in the same manner, the man standing in the machine is either the guy that is transported or the guy that gets the trap door into the tank...or vice versa...this can never change. It can't be that one day the man standing in the machine is transported and then that the next day the man standing in the machine is killed. ...if this is not true, then there's no telling...but the odds are bad that Jackman survived every single performance.
March 16, 2007 at 09:03 AM
I enjoyed reading all these comments, and judge the movie well done. I agree that like most plots, its has a few small holes -- not too surprising considering how complex it is. The one thing I am sure of is that the machine worked. Not only do we see it work, but if any of the other Jackmans were either a twin or his actor double, they would not have had a broken (amputated?) leg in the morgue. He's sacrificing a bird every night.
March 16, 2007 at 11:30 PM
Most of you guys are crazy. This was one of the best movies that I have seen in a while. The dialogue the acting the plot everything was on point. First of all Borden thought he was tricking Robert when he told him the key to the trick and the key to his cifer was Tesla. No one really thaught Tesla's inventions really worked. Then at the end when you think of the sacrifices those twins made to create the illusion that is astonishing. great movie.
March 22, 2007 at 08:37 PM
Hello everybody, The posts have been very helpful in making up my mind about the twists and turns of the plot of the movie. But one point remains unclear to me and i'm not sure if this question has already been raised: Which one of the Borden twins was buried alive (disguised as Fallon)by Angier and Cutter in order to find out about the key to the diary? the engineer (the "good" twin, in love with Sarah) or the showman (the "bad" twin, in love with Olivia) I'd be grateful if someone could help me clear this up... p.s. my anti-spam word was "easy", which reminded me of the Borden's reply when Angier realizes that their secret was that they were twins: "No, simple it might be - but not easy. There is nothing easy about two men sharing one life."
March 29, 2007 at 04:55 AM
Whoever wrote this article is a moron..Just because YOU figured out doesn't set a foundaiton for a film being lousy. You're so self-absorbed you forgot to realize that if somebody was fooled, then the film was sucessful in what it was trying to convey!! Past movies aren't relevant either... So stay on topic.
March 30, 2007 at 03:14 PM
Ive just watched this film on dvd, and i thought it was great. Theres one thing im not sure of though, Michael Caines character. After Jackmans wife dies, he seems to blame Bale and works solely with Jackman. But then at the end he seems to be on Bales side. Was he part of the trick all along? (ie did he know Bale had a twin?)
April 07, 2007 at 09:26 AM
So was the assistant that died trying to escape the ropes in the drowning tank in the very beginning a clone, or the real thing? I guess I couldn't pick up where the cloning had started in the movie, and if it ever ended - Was the last gunshot wound in the movie the killing of a clone or of the real magician?
April 10, 2007 at 10:19 PM
I have to admit, I was surprised by the movie's trick. I thought Jackman had killed the drunk look-alike as part of his last act. There were several points where I picked up on what was actually going on, but there were enough peripheral elements to successfully distract my attention away from what was happening. As far as the Tesla machine, I think it had it's own "prestige". It was presented as a hoax through most of the movie, and everyone had doubts until that final scene, when the viewer realizes it was real. I think in order to enjoy the movie, you need to have a really good willing suspension of disbelief. I loved the movie, but thought the end was a little disturbing - with the whole murdering twins and clones thing. And I didn't quite understand who's the better person, but it was fun to watch.
April 10, 2007 at 10:25 PM
I just read the review which stated that Jackman's character sacrificed a bird every night. Great tie-in to the movie! Again, very fun movie.
April 11, 2007 at 03:38 PM
The assistant that drowned in the begining was not a clone, it was Angiers wife. Borden did not clone himself because he would never have been able to afford to use Tesla's machine. He was poor and that was made very evident throughout the film. The machine that Tesla made for Angier was NEW and made specifically for him. Tesla designed a machine for another magician but it wasn't a teleportation machine. I thing Angier specifically asked him to make a machine that would teleport him. To those who keep saying they were dissapointed with the conclusion to the movie because it was predictable or for whatever reason think about this: Cutter says," 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." People are disappointed because they wanted something big and showy to happen at the end but it wasn't going to happen. You already knew the outcome, the point is that there isn't some big, crazy trick, it's just simple. The point of the movie was the re-occuring themes of obsession, revenge, etc. (1) How far will you go to please people/entertain/dazzle/make them wonder? (2) Are you only destroying yourself when you aim to destroy someone else? We saw something devistating. We saw two men(or more than that if we consider the twins and the duplicates) driven to destroy each other. We saw a wife give up on life because the man she bestowed all her love to decieved her. We saw people devoured by their obsessions. But we didn't want to see that, we wanted to see more, we wanted to wonder and be amazed. We went to the theater or watched the movie wherever, so we could step out of our lives for a moment and be astounded. Angier's last words were, in essence, Christopher & Jonathan Nolan's moral to the story. I'll leave you with Angier's dying words: "The audience knows the truth that the world is simple, solid all the way through, but if you can fool them even for a second then you can make them wonder. Then you got to see something very special....."
April 11, 2007 at 03:46 PM
Magic was a diversion from life. People see the magicians and they are awed by them and then they want to know their secrets. But really, you don't want to know their secrets. You don't want to see what goes on behind the curtain because it's ugly and not at all glamorous. It is better for you to be fooled, to be left wondering. Hence the Cutter's words, "You want to be fooled." Think of them as a warning, as him saying, "Trust me, you really don't want to know how it's done."
April 11, 2007 at 03:46 PM
BRILLIANT MOVIE!!! okay, now I'm done
April 12, 2007 at 12:59 AM
NOTE: Don't read this until you see the movie!! First of all-the machine worked. It didn't transport people as some people blogged above. The rabbit was still there after Tesla would test the machine. This is why he thought it wasn't working. The beauty is that it cloned-made a duplicate that happened to appear somewhere nearby (the hats/cats over the hill on Tesla's property). The brothers were biological twins who planned and agreed to live their lives as "one" person. Including the cutting off of the other twin's finger to match his brother's. The wife never knew she was with two different men throughout their courtship & marriage, but did know something was odd. She would make comments like: I know you mean it when you say you love me today. That is because one truly did love her and the other just tried to keep to the promise of their secret shared life. Note: the one that hanged in prison, was the one that truly loved her. The other twin fell in love with Angier's female assitant who visited him to find out his secret. Next: Angier planned 100 performances and he made a clone before each, the clone falls through the floor into the awaiting tank to drown and the original Angier shows up in the balcony to get the applause of the audience. The old blind guy transports the tanks to a secret place after each performance. If you notice near the end-back up the movie and replay-you can see many, many tanks dripping water in this storage place. On the one specific occasion, the other magician (one of the twins) witnesses the clone drowning in the tank, thinks it is Angier, tries to break the glass, & ultimately gets blamed for placing the tank under the trap door to purposely drown him. At the end, the twin who isn't in love with the "wife" but actually had fallen in love with Angier's female assistant, shoots the real Angier at the same time the "in love" twin with the daughter is hanged. Ugh, I am glad to get that off of my chest. The movie was fantastic!!
April 13, 2007 at 02:13 PM
You are wrong about one thing though. The one that truly loved the wife, Sarah, did not die. We know this becuase at the end when he shot Angier he said, " I loved Sarah, he loved Olivia."
April 13, 2007 at 02:15 PM
One more moment to prove this: when the twin who is about to be hung is saying goodbye to Fallon he say, "I'm sorry for Sarah....." That is why the end is so special because Jess gets to be with her father.
April 14, 2007 at 01:47 AM
They were two men sharing one life. There is no way to know which one is relly jess's father. If they both shared a marraige and a bed with Sarah then either on could be the father and there's no way to know because technically identical twins share the same dna too. I'm sure they both loved Jess as their own.
April 14, 2007 at 02:08 AM
WARNING: DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE MOVIE I wonder what Sarah really did know. When she and 'Alfred' are fighting before she kills herself she says. "I'll go to her (olivia), I'll tell her I know what you really are Alfred... I can't live like this" he continues to scream "You think I can live like this, you think I bloody enjoy living like this?" Do you think either she came to some crazy conclusions and couldn't take the secrecy and confusion or did she really figure it out? This scene is about 1hour and 32 minutes into the movie.
April 22, 2007 at 03:57 AM
Has anyone read the book? It's absolutely amazing. I can't wait to finish!
April 22, 2007 at 03:16 PM
Here's my interpretation: The machine is a hoax intended to dupe Jackman into providing funding to Bowie. Once Jackman realizes this -- the day he tested it -- he then uses the machine as a prop. He takes a year off to travel the world looking for 100 look-a-likes, which is why he booked 100 shows. He kills one during each show, knowing that sooner or later Bales will show up and witness one of the murders. One question in my mind though is did the drunk look-a-like show up and kill Jackman, perhaps the scene where one of them gets shot? Ian
April 24, 2007 at 03:46 PM
Ian, there's no evidence to support your claim in the movie. At no point in the movie are we shown Angier searching for 100 look-alikes and it would likely take much longer than a year. Not to mention that it's much more difficult to conceal 100 look-alikes on stage than a simple machine that people assume teleports the user. Cutter even says that allowing doubles to speak would not work. When Angier suggests letting Root to set up the trick so he could be the Prestige, Cutter stamps out the idea, as they would instantly recognize that it is not Angier.
April 25, 2007 at 01:52 PM
Most here are overthinking the movie. Part of the confusion I think is in Nolan's direction & continuity which is flawed . . . Danton was cloned to do his act . . . The major flaw is in Bale's character . . . was he a twin or clone? It's set up to look like he's a clone what with the Tesla connection . . . in regards to the clone theory then: why is he confused by Danton's Clone trick? If Bale is a twin why does he just willy-nilly send Danton to Tesla? Is it just by coincidence that Tesla happens to have a cloning machine that the 'twined' Bale knows nothing of? This is just flawed filmaking which leads to endless, confused discussion such as is going on here . . . Any scenario possibilty brought up here, whether this character is a twin or a clone, whether the machine works or is a trick, any of these are betrayed by the play of the movie . . . it's just an inconsistant movie, that's the confusion . . . I'm by no means the sharpest tool in the shed but Bale being a clone or twin was REAL obvious early on & made the rest of the viewing anti-climactic. Sixth Sense was a better magic trick.
April 25, 2007 at 08:38 PM
Cheapfeet, based on the book and evidence found in the movie, we can infer that Borden was indeed a twin. At the very end of the movie upon being shot, Angier is surprised to learn that Borden has a twin. Also, if Borden were a clone, there would not have been a dispute over Sarah and Olivia. The Tesla reference was designed to throw Angier off. Borden was not aware that there was a machine capable of "teleportation."
April 25, 2007 at 09:52 PM
Cool . . . Thanks for the clarification Eisenheim . . . still, twin OR clone was obvious too soon for me, the Tesla storyline confused the twin angle, I don't think certain things were made obvious enough to resonate within the narrative . . . blah blah . . . still, a pretty well-acted, beautifully shot/produced movie. I'll probably watch it again sometime.
April 26, 2007 at 07:21 AM
Great movie- not perfect, but one of the best films I've seen in a long time. The plot was complicated, but not frustratingly so. All the problems with it, except for one, were resolved upon a second viewing. If you've seen the movie, then you know that's well-crafted cinema. The main impediment to my understanding of the film upon the first viewing was the cockney accents recorded at low-level. I found myself "rewinding" many times at certain scenes to "decipher" the affected lines (e.g "Where's his brother?" and "Abracadabra") My main plot contention is this: Couldn't Angier have just looked at the knot on his dead wife's hands? I realize Angier's confusion provides the impetus for his resulting obsession, but I would have looked at the knot on my dead wife's wrist... Both the audiences and the character's illusions are shattered at the end of the movie. Angier finds out Borden's secret and vice versa, and the audience (the director hopes) finds out both secrets. After being enthralled for 2 hours (the director hopes) you are brought back to the same mundane world from which you entered. But the guy gets his kid back, so good ending. Oh, by the way, Angier drowns HIMSELF each night, not his clone. His clone takes over. He forces himself to commit suicide each night, because Caine's character tells him after his wife's funeral that drowning is a peaceful way to die- only Caine had lied. Angier as one entity never gets to see the audience from the pledge to the prestige. He is always the man in the box. The night he is discovered by Borden, he must flee the theater so his trick won't be revealed, so his last earthly incarnation doesn't get to see the applause either. Thank you for indulging me. Again- great movie!
April 26, 2007 at 07:31 AM
Oh wait, one more thing... For everyone who complains about Tesla, his machines, and their role in a period-piece: Do some research on Tesla and his conflicts with Edison, and maybe you'll enjoy this clever introduction of them into the plot. Tesla has long been rumored to have created fantastic contraptions that never saw the light of day, such as the mythical(?) "Death Ray". Great way to work that into a movie.
April 30, 2007 at 05:47 PM
So when does the drunk look-alike get killed?
May 01, 2007 at 08:01 AM
Multiple water tanks and blind men are used to lure Borden into Angier's web. Cutter said, "you always were a good publicity man". Borden said, what is going on down there? Why can't you out think him. I belive this is the "turn", created soley for Borden's imagination. Note, in the last scene Angier tell Borden to look where you are, but Borden isn't biting. Borden tells Angier that he did terrible things (not the same as self-sacrafice). Angier kills the drunk actor and his biological twin brother. He kills his twin brother in order to take his place and his fortune. This is the only way for Angier to kept his families money after he is legally dead.
May 01, 2007 at 10:58 AM
More on Angier's twin Brother Lord Cauldlow. Angier is in Colorado Springs reading Borden's diary. He looks at a picture frame that should hold two pictures. The frame contains a picture of his dead wife, but the other picture has been removed. Whose picture would he carry and whose picture would he have to remove? A picture of his twin brother Lord Cauldlow. Two years pass before Angier contacts Cutter and books his last performance. What was Angier doing for the last 2 years? Did he return to his rich family to kill and take his brother's place? He knew he could not return to his family's wealth as the dead Danton. He steals his twin brother's life as Lord Caudlow. How did Angier dispose of Lord Caudlow's body? Would he dress him in coat and tails and placed him in the box? It is Lord Caudlow you see in the last sceen, with an air bubble rising up in the box, because Lord Caudlow was shot not drowned. Air is still trapped in his body when he is placed in the box. Recall Sarah's nephew cried, ...but where's his brother? Borden shoots Angier and tells all. Angier hears Borden's secret and method, he is truly astonished. To save face Angier lies about his methods. He lies when he tells Borden that he too alternated with his partner, sometime in the box, other times the Prestige. When Angier reemployed his partner Root the deal was, that he Root would always be the man in the box and Angier would always be the prestige. Angier cannot admit that there is no integrity no his art.
May 18, 2007 at 07:02 AM
I just saw the movie on DVD, and think this is a great discussion. I'm more inclined to believe that the machine is real. If so, that would explain why Danton had all of those water tanks (and why they all appeared to have bodies in them). He knew that in the course of 100 shows, he was bound to attract Borden, and that Borden could then be framed for Danton's death when Borden finally showed up. And if the machine worked, and created exact duplicates, then it didn't matter whether the Danton who introduced the act was the one who ended up in the tank or on the balcony. Since a duplicate with identical memories would live on after the act, there would always be another Danton to fufill his plan to frame Borden. What threw me off about the machine, was that the person Cutter saw in the morgue looked more like Danton's drunk double (they have distinct noses). And Cutter left the morgue with a look suggesting that he knew it wasn't the real Danton. I don't think there's any evidence that Danton had a brother, though I think Borden's twin was biological, since their personalities were so different. And when Danton and Cutter used the machine in front of that guy who got them the theater, it's not clear that they would already had the tank in place. So I'm not sure where the second Danton went to, or how he completely disappeared.
May 27, 2007 at 11:24 PM
Let me put an end to all the speculation. I have spent a year going through the DVD frame by frame and cataloging every possible permutaion of the plot. Suddenly, I figured it all out. It is pure genius and nobody has figured it all out yet. All the details are posted the new Prestige website at Fortunecity. You're welcome. http://www.fortunecity.com/skyscraper/techie/509/index.htm
June 10, 2007 at 08:37 AM
Tesla's machine never functioned as a transporter or duplicator. Borden witnesses the chaotic demo of the Tesla machine and he sits there, awestruck, as other audience members scramble. Why is he so gobsmacked? Because he realizes that this crazy machine could become part of a terrific magic trick; i.e, it's so different and amazing that it would be the ultimate Turn. With a turn like Tesla's machine, the Pledge and Prestige could literally be anything you want. Eventually, Borden and Tesla [a legit but struggling scientist] cooperate in weaving an elaborate ruse that will frustrate and--they assume--bankrupt Danton. The film opens with hats on the ground in a forest. The director and Cutter's voice over are telling us that these are ordinary hats and they're ALREADY in place. All that was needed was a witless mark--Danton--who was so obsessed with competition and revenge that he didn't want to see the truth. Tesla and his assistant set fire to their own laboratory. They do this once they know they've got Danton fooled. How do we know they set the fire? Because the director shows us. We see to figures, in silhouette lighting the fire. Immediately thereafter we see Tesla and his assistant--neatly dressed and, I'd guees, luggage packed--riding away in a carriage. In the window of the carriage, we see a reflection of the fire they just set. Danton gets his machine at the hotel and assumes he's hit the jackppot. However, he's smart enough to test the machine in advance. Important to note that we NEVER see the result of Danton's FIRST test of the machine!!! Why? Because the director doesn't want us to see what Danton learns; i.e.,the machine does not work!!! However, Danton, having been duped himself, realizes that the machine can still become part of an awesome, theatrical magic trick. He decides to do two things...1) He will launch his own elaborate ruse to frame Borden for murder; and 2) He will make an adjustment to the Transported Man trick that ensures that it remains as a trick "that you can control". Remember, it's the loss of control, due to the drunken and headstrong body-double, that sinks the trick the first time around. Danton, in his alter ego of Lord, does what only a wealthy Lord could do. He recruits and trains 100 damn-good body doubles--in this sense the trick remains the same as the one he pulled off using the drunk body double. However, Danton goes a step further. He convinces himself that he can "get his hands dirty" and control the trick--by killing each and every body double at each and every performance, up until the point that he succeeds in sucking in Borden and framing him for murder. Danton's dress rehearsal for the murder part of the trick is what we see in the montage at the end of the film. This is him proving to himself that he has the guts the do the trick and, intentionally, kill a guy in the process. He locates an abandoned old theater to serve as a burial place for each of the 100 drowned body doubles. That's why a crate is carted away from each performance, by blind stange attendants. Tesla's machine never worked. There's no science fiction or actual magic in this movie. That's a mantra which the director adheres to from the first frame to the last. Danton makes the ultimate error of refusing to see the obvious, most logical explanation for Borden's transported man; i.e., there are two Borden brothers. Likewise there are two cats. And several dozen, intentionally scattered top hats. Both Danton and Borden end up as bad guys in this film. They're bad guys because they "kill the bird". Borden "sacrafices" his twin brother. Danton murders 100 stand-ins. A good magician would complete his trick without killing the bird. In fact, this fact forms the basis of this film's happy ending, to the extent it has one. From the point of view of Borden's daughter, he remains a good magician. How so? 1) He Pledges to see her again. 2) He then Turns and heads for the gallows. 3) But he comes back for her--and the Prestige--in the end. To sum up... - Tesla's machine never worked! - Borden's machine, when it is first introduced, is not pitched as a transporter. It is simply a demonstration of AC current. - Borden has a twin, not a clone - Borden sees Tesla's machine and realizes it's potential as the ultimate Turn - Borden is clever, he uses Tesla's machine to fool Danton - Tesla needed cash, so he is happy to play a part in Borden's ruse - Danton is theatrical, he takes the otherwise useless machine and creates a spectacular--but murderous--trick - Danton, actually a wealthy Lord, has the cash, the time, and the motivation to find and train 100 body-doubles. - The body doubles are not known to each other. - Each body double agrees to take a part in the act because they realize that, as key players in the trick, they'll ultimately be able to blackmail the Lord
June 10, 2007 at 08:40 AM
Tesla's machine never functioned as a transporter or duplicator. Borden witnesses the chaotic demo of the Tesla machine and he sits there, awestruck, as other audience members scramble. Why is he so gobsmacked? Because he realizes that this crazy machine could become part of a terrific magic trick; i.e, it's so different and amazing that it would be the ultimate Turn. With a turn like Tesla's machine, the Pledge and Prestige could literally be anything you want. Eventually, Borden and Tesla [a legit but struggling scientist] cooperate in weaving an elaborate ruse that will frustrate and--they assume--bankrupt Danton. The film opens with hats on the ground in a forest. The director and Cutter's voice over are telling us that these are ordinary hats and they're ALREADY in place. All that was needed was a witless mark--Danton--who was so obsessed with competition and revenge that he didn't want to see the truth. Tesla and his assistant set fire to their own laboratory. They do this once they know they've got Danton fooled. How do we know they set the fire? Because the director shows us. We see to figures, in silhouette lighting the fire. Immediately thereafter we see Tesla and his assistant--neatly dressed and, I'd guees, luggage packed--riding away in a carriage. In the window of the carriage, we see a reflection of the fire they just set. Danton gets his machine at the hotel and assumes he's hit the jackppot. However, he's smart enough to test the machine in advance. Important to note that we NEVER see the result of Danton's FIRST test of the machine!!! Why? Because the director doesn't want us to see what Danton learns; i.e.,the machine does not work!!! However, Danton, having been duped himself, realizes that the machine can still become part of an awesome, theatrical magic trick. He decides to do two things...1) He will launch his own elaborate ruse to frame Borden for murder; and 2) He will make an adjustment to the Transported Man trick that ensures that it remains as a trick "that you can control". Remember, it's the loss of control, due to the drunken and headstrong body-double, that sinks the trick the first time around. Danton, in his alter ego of Lord, does what only a wealthy Lord could do. He recruits and trains 100 damn-good body doubles--in this sense the trick remains the same as the one he pulled off using the drunk body double. However, Danton goes a step further. He convinces himself that he can "get his hands dirty" and control the trick--by killing each and every body double at each and every performance, up until the point that he succeeds in sucking in Borden and framing him for murder. Danton's dress rehearsal for the murder part of the trick is what we see in the montage at the end of the film. This is him proving to himself that he has the guts the do the trick and, intentionally, kill a guy in the process. He locates an abandoned old theater to serve as a burial place for each of the 100 drowned body doubles. That's why a crate is carted away from each performance, by blind stange attendants. Tesla's machine never worked. There's no science fiction or actual magic in this movie. That's a mantra which the director adheres to from the first frame to the last. Danton makes the ultimate error of refusing to see the obvious, most logical explanation for Borden's transported man; i.e., there are two Borden brothers. Likewise there are two cats. And several dozen, intentionally scattered top hats. Both Danton and Borden end up as bad guys in this film. They're bad guys because they "kill the bird". Borden "sacrafices" his twin brother. Danton murders 100 stand-ins. A good magician would complete his trick without killing the bird. In fact, this fact forms the basis of this film's happy ending, to the extent it has one. From the point of view of Borden's daughter, he remains a good magician. How so? 1) He Pledges to see her again. 2) He then Turns and heads for the gallows. 3) But he comes back for her--and the Prestige--in the end. To sum up... - Tesla's machine never worked! - Tesla's machine, when it is first introduced, is not pitched as a transporter. It is simply a demonstration of AC current. - Borden has a twin, not a clone - Borden sees Tesla's machine and realizes it's potential as the ultimate Turn - Borden is clever, he uses Tesla's machine to fool Danton - Tesla needed cash, so he is happy to play a part in Borden's ruse - Danton is theatrical, he takes the otherwise useless machine and creates a spectacular--but murderous--trick - Danton, actually a wealthy Lord, has the cash, the time, and the motivation to find and train 100 body-doubles. - The body doubles are not known to each other. - Each body double agrees to take a part in the act because they realize that, as key players in the trick, they'll ultimately be able to blackmail the Lord
June 12, 2007 at 03:07 AM
^^^^^^^^^^^^ That above comment is complete bollox.I really can't understand why you'd think that.TESLA's machine did work you fool and your explanation is without doubt the worst I've heard off any1 who seen the movie. I worked out Bale had a twin but I'm not complaining I really enjoyed the movie.Every1s entitled to their own ideas and opinions of the movie but deargod Omnoir your explanation is far fetched at best.When I started to read it I thought you were being sarcastic I really did.
June 14, 2007 at 08:10 AM
Congratulations! You folks have been keeping this blog a lively place for nearly nine months. I know the blogosphere is known for its no-holds-barred, gloves-off attitude, but at the KPBS site we do like to encourage people to refrain from insulting other posters. I know this discussion has gotten heated and we appreciate the passionate debate. Thanks to all who have posted.
June 25, 2007 at 02:25 AM
At the end of the movie, Jackman tells how he DID sacrifice, and to take a look around them. Then the camera leaves him and shows the tank with the body. During this time it is being repeated that the truth is right in front of us but we choose not to see it AND as they show the hats again, they ask if you are watching very closely, that's because if we had been, we would have seen that the dark room was full of water tanks with all the clones that had been drown during each trick. It was only the end tank that was lit up. What a movie!!
June 27, 2007 at 06:13 PM
If the Tesla's machine had worked the whole intention of the movie about "magic" or "being fooled" would died for "science fiction". The machine didn't work.
July 04, 2007 at 01:56 AM
The characters look so alike that I found myself wondering through the whole movie who was who. All that wondering lost me and in the end when the twin was revealed, all I could say was how stupid. What was the point of the movie? This movie makes me want to forget it as soon as possible, unlike other twisted movies like the sixth since, at least with that one I smiled at the idea that I was tricked. With this movie I am still left wondering what the film writers were thinking. Certainly not about the audience.
July 06, 2007 at 04:57 AM
I have to say--well actually I don't have to say anything, but here I am alone on a thursday with the urge to speak. I digress. One comment that particularly caught my attention was one posted by Stefanie on the 3rd of november. I also found the female characters to be surprisingly lacking. I think that truly great writers can make minor characters thick, or at least, mysterious, so that we feel there is more to them than meets the eye. For Bordon's wife, Mary, why not learn what her drives were? Was she so masochistic that she would stay with someone that repeatedly hurt her, or was there more of a reason? Perhaps she, like the audience of a magic show, just wanted to know "how the trick was done." Now, maybe Nolan wanted us, as an audience to reach this conclusion; nevertheless, it could have been better if a little more screen time was thrown to the leading actresses of the film.
August 05, 2007 at 05:11 AM
I liked the movie and so I'm going to comment as such. I like the Nolan films because they are somewhat Kubrick-esque in the sense that they are very layered. This one I feel was more about the length at which one is willing to go for a certain purpose. But then again that was not the only layer of the cake. I liked the fact that there were no good vs bad guys.
August 10, 2007 at 04:24 PM
Some of the comments here are completely insane, and way off the beaten path. For a minute by minute walkthrough, with details on clues, and outcomes, visit http://www.moviesnobs.net/the-prestige-explained/ Whether or not you "figure out" the movie as you're going through it, "The Prestige" is a fantastic movie. Beautifully written, wonderfully directed, and overall very pleasing to watch.
September 14, 2007 at 11:58 PM
Sadly, most missed "the Prestige" completely. Christan Bale DID NOT have a twin brother. He was a CLONE. But the difference was the Bale's character Alfred Borden would not kill his clone each night to perform a magic trick--whereas Hugh Jackon's character would willingly do so, and indeed was killing himself each night. (his original character died in the machine, killed by the clone). Watch the movie again, carefully. Bale plays two very different characters throughout the movie. When I watched it again, it is obvious. The prestige fooled many pompous reviewers, too. There is no twin. I have also read the screenplay. Watch it again. tps
October 03, 2007 at 04:29 AM
@Militarybooks - while in the BOOK Borden had a clone, in the movie, he in fact had a brother. You say that this movie "Fooled many pompous reviews", yet you missed the most blatently obvious (and pointed out at the end of the film) bit. I read the book a few weeks back, since I adore the movie so much. They movie, I would say, is loosely based on the book. Loosely, at best.
October 16, 2007 at 02:01 AM
i thought the movie was ok but the charactors were to much alike and with the jumping in time i couldnt tell the difference
October 26, 2007 at 03:56 AM
FOr the viewers who think that christan bale was not a twin and was cloned are crazy. The end of the movie when he shoots hugh jackman clearyly explains that. Christan bale explains everything about how him and his TWIN were happy living half lives and explains how they both loved different woman. Hugh jackmans character catches on also and says "a twin" right before he is shot
December 17, 2007 at 10:28 AM
the only explanation i can think of as to why the Danton only wants a 100 show...is because he knows exactly what he is doing. he knows that this machine has the potential to do "terrible things" (as mentioned by Tesla many times) and that he can only bring himself to kill another him 100 times (100% deducted once every show = 100 shows) i would like to think that the whole movie was a "magic" trick in itself. once we see the workings of the supposingly "trick," we are left unsatisfied...which i can see from reading the pages of discussion. like bale's character in the film said, once you know the tricks behind it all, it means nothing to them. in this case, the movie means nothing anymore once people finds out what happens... Nolan does a pretty good job in terms of hiding Fallon. i mean the character is ALWAYS there, but how many times during the course of the film would the frame be focusing on him? if it is, it is in the dark situation (the alley scene). otherwise, you end up watching ot paying attention to something else that is on screen. and i think the "bad" twin dies - otherwise it wouldnt make sense for him to apology for what happened to sarah. any notions of a "transport" machine never interests me. the science behind it is pretty impossible: lets say we want to transport a hat. the machine would have to break that hat into its constituent parts (you can say, the individual atoms) and then brings those atoms somewhere else (this part, i would argue, is the easiest to achieve here) and then rebuilds the hat from those constituent parts in the same manner, and order that it was originally in. this order can be easily lost during the transporting process - the probability of something of this size coming back together in the exact order is well (it comes down to mathematical probability...) virtually impossible. this is the only disappointing part of the movie (then i guess novel, which i still have to read).
December 17, 2007 at 10:29 AM
i forgot to mention, after killing 100% of yourself...you dont have anything left to kill right?
January 07, 2008 at 09:05 PM
Ok I have read so many of these posts and you guys are missing the major lesson of this whole movie... RIGHT AT THE BEGINNING. The old man says that Nolan was born to be a magician. He says that to all of them. He knows that he has a twin and that is why he always believed in him. He even went as far as to tell Daton that he has a double. Even the assistant says that he has a double. The reason why he doesn't remember how he tied the knot of Nolans wife is because it was probably the twin doing the trick that night. The guys switched roles in their lives. Nolan was a pure magician who believed in the actual art. Daton got obsessed with just being better with Nolan that he went to any lenght to try to destroy him. He probably sent him to tesna because he knows that he would get involved with a machine like that. Did you guys forget that both of them went to a magic show and they had the same exact electric machine there? Another magician was expected to do tesnas trick but everybody was scared by the electricity that they didn't go in and left. That is where Daton got the name Tesna from. People really missed the obvious in such a great movie. I loved it.
January 07, 2008 at 09:27 PM
Solo, I really like your comment about being born to be a magician. Nice insights.
January 13, 2008 at 04:03 PM
I was thinking after seeing this movie that the only evidence we have of the machine working comes from the diary. We know that Robert Angier is not a trustworthy source and he created the diary to torment Alfred while Alfred sits in jail on trial for his murder. Therefore, everything that takes place in the diary may not have happened. We only have Angier's word that he traveled to Colorado Springs, that he met with Tesla, the machine worked, etc, and most importantly he decoded Alfred's message in Alfred's diary while he was already in Colorado Springs waiting for the machine to completed. For all we know, Angier decoded the diary relatively quickly and spent those two years plotting his revenge on Alfred. Since he hated the fact that in his first version of the Transported Man he was under the stage for the applause I think he created the second Transported Man so he could bask in the applause each night and set up Alfred for his murder. While he was out of London I think that he found a number of doubles like the actor at the start of the film (that would explain the limited number of nights of egagement) teaches each one the finale portion of his act, they switch right before the Transported man or earlier, the real Borden goes to wait in the balcony, the double for that night takes his place and is killed. The next night another unwitting double comes on stage to do it, over and over until finally Alfred comes back stage and Borden exacts his revenge by letting that double be found. The reason that Borden would kill off his doubles is simple - he is not going to do a trick that he can't control. This way he has complete control of his trick because none of his doubles live long enough to extort money or ruin the trick and it has the added benefit of framing Alfred for murder. Also he gets to bask in the audience each night which seems to be his primary reason for doing this and the thing that drove him mad before. Since we know that Borden is crazy rich and he is gone for two years, it seems reasonable that he could search the world and find enough actors that look enough like him with make up and hair cuts to pull of a limited number of shows. I think it was a 100 but I also think that Borden knew that Alfred would go backstage long before the 100 mark to figure out the trick ending Borden's need for trained doubles. To me it makes more sense that Borden creates the whole cloning thing in his head to make it seem a little less like murder than suddenly in a movie there is a cloning machine. It would make Borden pretty crazy but if you look at the lengths he went to, to get back at Alfred it would follow that he was getting nuttier all the time.
April 15, 2008 at 07:25 AM
Personally, I ended up hating The Prestige because it squandered so much of its potential on obvious answers. I didn't work out Christian Bale's trick at all, because the ultimate answer struck me as profoundly lazy. Not only that, but it makes his already hard-to-like characters even LESS likable because both of them happily go about destroying both their lives without any noticable attempts to save themselves. The entire thing feels contrived, as though they came up with the answer AFTER writing the entire rest of the script. Because they chose to destroy every meaningfull relationship with their family that they had for the sake of a magic trick speaks volumes about their character... they come across as completely unlikable throughout the film, and the surprise ending cements it: they're terrible, cold-hearted monsters, both. Which would be fine if jackman's character weren't just as unlikable. He goes too quickly from tragic figure to heartless villain, leaving us to conclude that it's all he ever really was. His misery gets the better of him and he becomes just as hateful and banal a character as Bale's characters are. So what we're left with as far as emotional connection to the film goes are the two women crushed and broken by their actions and that poor little girl who you just KNOW is going to need a shrink when she gets older... Without being able to care about the characters we're left with an exercise in making a surprise ending. Jackman gets the clever metaphor of repeatedly destroying himself for his art, Bale gets the twin. It would have worked much better if they had come up with ANY other explanation... As it is it cheapens Jackman's struggles as well as Bale's. Did he really go to such lengths to defeat something so simple and artless? It would have worked if Bale weren't playing such completely unlikable, foolish people; tradgedy occours when a hero becomes a victim of his own shortcomings. This film has no heros, only villians, their semi-faceless victims, and Nikola Tesla, who should definitely appear in more films (especailly if David Bowie's going to play him).
April 15, 2008 at 04:28 PM
Cam, Thanks for your comments. I too had problems with Bale's character because of the way he essentially causes his/his brother's wife's death. Because the "twist" is revealed late it means it's really not used as part of the character's development. That means that the film never deals with a lot of questions that arise and a lot of the problems that then become evident in the way the characters have behaved. I agree that there was missed potential in this film. I am amazed that this review has generated the most and the longest running comments. Thanks Cam for adding to the mix.
To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.
Please stay on topic and be as concise as possible. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Community Discussion Rules. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.