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Award-winning actors Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Caine and Scarlett Johansson star in THE PRESTIGE, the twisting, turning story that, like all great magic tricks, stays with you. Two young, passionate magicians, Robert Angier Jackman, a charismatic showman, and Alfred Borden Bale, a gifted illusionist, are friends and partners until one fateful night when their biggest trick goes terribly wrong. Now the bitterest of enemies, they will stop at nothing to learn each other's secrets. As their rivalry escalates into a total obsession full of deceit and sabotage, they risk everything to become the greatest magician of all time. But nothing is as it seems, so watch closely. And be prepared to watch it again and again.
The Prestige attempts a hat trick by combining a ridiculously good-looking cast, a highly regarded new director, and more than one sleight of hand. Does it pull it off? Sort of. Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman play rival magicians who were once friends before an on-stage tragedy drove a wedge between them. While Bale's Alfred Borden is a more skilled illusionist, Jackman's Rufus Angier is the better showman; much of the film's interesting first half is their attempts to sabotage--and simultaneously, top--each other's tricks. Even with the help of a prop inventor Michael Caine and a comely assistant Scarlett Johansson, Angier can't match Borden's ultimate illusion: The Transporting Man. Angier's obsession with learning Borden's trick leads him to an encounter with an eccentric inventor David Bowie in a second half that gets bogged down in plot loops and theatrics. Director Christopher Nolan, reuniting with his Batman Begins star Bale, demonstrates the same dark touch that hued that film, but some plot elements--without giving anything away--seem out of place with the rest of the movie. It's better to sit back and let the sometimes-clunky turns steer themselves than try to draw back the black curtain. That said, The Prestige still manages to entertain long after the magician has left the stage--a feat in itself. --Ellen A. Kim