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Movie of The Day: The Prestige (2006)

“Every great magic trick consists of three parts or acts. The first part is called "The Pledge". The magician shows you something ordinary: a deck of cards, a bird or a man. He shows you this object. Perhaps he asks you to inspect it to see if it is indeed real, unaltered, normal. But of course... it probably isn't. The second act is called "The Turn". The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. 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 know. You want to be fooled. But you wouldn't clap yet. Because making something disappear isn't enough; you have to bring it back. That's why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call "The Prestige".
The Prestige is a 2006 period film directed by Christopher Nolan, with a screenplay adapted from the 1995 World Fantasy Award-winning novel of the same name by Christopher Priest. The story follows Robert Angier and Alfred Borden, rival stage magicians in fin de siècle London. Obsessed with creating the best stage illusion, they engage in competitive one-upmanship with tragic results.
The rivalry between Borden and Angier dominates the film. Obsession, secrecy, and sacrifice fuel the battle, as both magicians contribute their fair share to a deadly duel of one-upmanship, with disastrous results. Angier's obsession with beating Borden costs him Cutter's friendship, while Borden's obsession with maintaining the secrecy of his twin leads Sarah to question their relationship, eventually resulting in her suicide; in the end, Angier and Borden both lose Olivia's love because of their obsessions. Their struggle is also expressed through class warfare: Borden as The Professor, a working-class magician who gets his hands dirty, versus Angier as The Great Danton, a classy showman whose accent makes him appear American
Michael Caine took on this engineering role as Cutter, responsible for assisting Rupert Angier (Hugh Jackman) with loyalty and conviction that they could, as a team, beat Christian Bale's Alfred Borden. I thought the cast in general were superb, with Christian Bale leading the charge. Hugh Jackman too showed that he could play a dark character, as the two leads tackled their characters' theme of sacrifice, arrogance, and ultimately redemption, especially for Rupert Angier. I thought he did what he did towards the end was a kind of penance to what happened in the beginning, hoping to kill two birds with a single stone, to exact the sweetest revenge he could possibly muster. What also was intriguing about the two lead characters was that there is no right or wrong, no hero or villain. It's always a shade of grey in what they do, and for Alfred Borden, I felt it's more for survival and the provision for family, which is a strong subplot running through the film. A movie with the power of becoming a cult classic, ''The Prestige'' is magical. In every sense of the Word. 9/10

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