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Christopher Nolan, 2006
USA/UK | Format: 35mm | 130 minutes
Between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, Nolan took time out for this lush, twisty tale of rival magicians in turn-of-the-20th-century England. Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) begin as allies, working as audience plants in the show of a successful stage illusionist (real-life magic expert Ricky Jay). Years later, driven apart by personal tragedy, they are sworn enemies, locked in a bitter contest of revenge and one-upmanship that can seemingly end only with one of their own demises—and maybe not even then. From the streets of London to the wilds of Colorado they pursue one another, Angier seeking the secret behind Borden’s most astonishing trick—a seemingly impossible feat of teleportation—while the Victorian Era gives way to the Machine Age around them. Adapted by Nolan and his brother Jonathan from a novel by acclaimed fantasy and sci-fi writer Christopher Priest, The Prestige is a thrilling valentine to the art of illusion made by one of the master illusionists of our time—arguably Nolan’s most personal film, and possibly his best. Featuring strong support from Michael Caine (as Angier’s wizened trick designer) and David Bowie (as beleaguered inventor Nikola Tesla).