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Movie Review

The Prestige

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence and disturbing images

Reviewed by: Sheri McMurray
CONTRIBUTOR

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults, Teens
Genre:
Thriller, Action, Drama, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Based on a Book
Length:
2 hr. 10 min.
Year of Release:
2006
USA Release:
October 20, 2006 (wide—2,000 theaters)
Copyright, Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
Copyright, Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
Copyright, Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
Copyright, Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
Copyright, Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
Copyright, Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
Copyright, Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
Copyright, Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
Copyright, Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
Copyright, Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
Copyright, Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
Relevant Issues
Featuring: Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson, Rebecca Hall, Andy Serkis, Piper Perabo, David Bowie
Director: Christopher Nolan
Producer: William Tyrer, Chris J. Ball, Valerie Dean
Distributor: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

“Are You Watching Closely?”

The real secret of magic lies in the performance.
—David Copperfield

Presto! Was never once uttered in this dark tale of dueling magicians in the late 19th century. This word most connected with the act of magic, and perhaps connected by family to the word prestige mainly by being Latin in origin, is actually a declaration used in the game of Poker. Tradition has it that you say Presto whenever you win with pocket 5’s. You’re going into the gold plated deluxe suit with the winning hand and someone catches you out to beat you—the player has a straight flush when you already have the nut flush—Presto!

You’re sneaking around the corner and you are absolutely certain that you’ve escaped and are home free, when all of a sudden you’re grabbed from behind—Gotcha!

From the opening of “The Prestige” in the dewy mist of a cold Colorado morning, a mysterious pile of black top hats poking up at you from a grassy mountain side, to the finale in the crumbling, burning rubble of a once majestic theater, we never quite know what is going to happen around that corner.

As Cutter (Michael Caine doing a superb performance), engineer for magicians—a sort of conductor of the art of magic illusion, explains to the audience throughout the film, there are three parts to the trick:

“The Pledge” which is what we see; the scarf with nothing on either side, the magician’s lean and perfectly empty hand with sleeve rolled up to his elbow, a delicate crystal globe sitting empty on the red velvet tablecloth before you. He has gained the inquisitive attention of his audience.

“The Turn” at this point we are caught off guard as the scarf enwraps the crystal globe and in one perfect swipe, the scarf is plucked quickly away and the globe has instantly vanished! We catch our breath, our mind’s trying to make sense of what we’ve just seen. Where is that globe? To what part of the outer unknown could it have possibly gone?

“The Prestige” is the finale. The last act. The part of the trick where the audience is given back that which it has lost. The scarf floats lightly through the air, the audience so quiet one could hear a pin drop. As the magician, the man who’s now captivated you and knows you are glued to your seat holding your breath, lays that gossamer scarf over his lean and perfectly empty hand. The one attached to the arm with the sleeve rolled up to the elbow. Slowly turning his head, the magician looks deeply into every eye, his smile that of complete confidence knowing he will not let you down, he jerks the scarf away from that outstretched, clean, lean open, empty hand and to everyone’s astonishment the delicate crystal globe is now perched perfectly upon that once-a-second-ago empty hand. In a split-second gone into magic oblivion, now back and perfectly unscathed.

Every eye widens, every jaw drops, everyone catching their collective breath.

This is what “The Prestige” is all about and the trick works for the complete 130 minutes we sit in the darkened theater.

A darkened theater is the ideal place to watch this film as it adds to the mysterious snare and the breathless magic of it. All twist and turns. All characters not exactly what they appear to be. All of the plot a foolproof trick in three acts.

Robert Angier, AKA “The Great Danton,” (Hugh Jackman in a refreshing role well past his hairy X-Men werewolf) has a friendly sort of magician rivalry with Alfred Borden (Christian Bale who takes this part and develops it into tangled angst). Friends until a fatal on stage accident, during a trick akin to Houdini’s man-in-a-tank which also contributed to his untimely demise, kills Robert Angier’s lovely wife. Angier is devastated and blames Borden for her death, as he was responsible for tying her wrists in a special knot so that as she dangled bound and locked in the dangerous tank full of 50 pounds of water, she could escape unharmed.

Cutter, friends to both men, convinces Angier that with fresh and more colossal illusions, he can become the most renowned of all magicians. Together they are able to put together a crowd pleasing act. It helps that Cutter has employed the beautiful and eye diverting Olivia Wenscombe (Scarlett Johansson doing a pretty good English accent) who knows how to smile and show lots of, shall we say, chest.

Angier finds out that the finer, but less flamboyant Borden, is performing to a smaller less appreciative crowd across London town and decides to attend an act. Disguised and blending into the audience, Angier is astonished to find that Borden has the most marvelous illusion he’s ever seen called “The Transported Man.” Because of his hurt and blinding vengeance to pay Borden back for the death of his wife, Angier spends the rest of the story in a flamboyant attempt to steal Borden’s greatest trick and totally destroy his life.

As all magicians will tell you, the secret must never be divulged. There is a “code,” if you will, a circle of trust which all magicians keep unto one another. The treachery within “The Prestige” is this iron trust has found a crack through the professional rivalry of it’s main characters. And the crack is growing longer and ever widening throughout the entire film.

I will not go so far as to give away anything else about this deliciously spell-binding film, accept to say scientist and rival of Edison himself, Dr. Nikola Tesla was played wonderfully along the lines of “Dr. Who” by David Bowie. And to point out that once again Andy Serkis as Dr. Tesla’s assistant Mr. Alley, has shown he can do much more than digitally slink around as the “Lord of the Rings” Gollum character or as the giant digital ape in “King Kong.”

Because the plot is centered around vengeance, which belongs to The Lord alone (Romans 12:19) and is of a completely adult theme, children under age 16 should not see “The Prestige,” even though it is rated PG-13. There is a non-explicit reference to adultery between the Olivia character and both magicians. We see characters sustain significant bodily harm, drown and die, gunshots, fingers being cut off, hangings and a suicide. I did not hear any foul language or the use of The Lord’s name in vain, although one character does abuse alcohol. There are scenes which are violent, startling and some moments are even horrific. So, although I was entirely entertained, as a Christian there were some plot points I was repulsed by.

Director Christopher Nolan knows his way around the mysterious with “Batman Begins” and “Memento” under his belt. His brother Jonathan Nolan has done a satisfying job bringing “The Prestige” to the screen through his screenplay based on the novel by Christopher Priest. This is what we go to see a mystery for. We want a twist, we want to be given “the pledge” and be surprised by “the turn” and eventually shocked by “the prestige.”

A lot of people have been comparing “The Prestige” with another fine film about magicians “The Illusionist,” but I believe that is not fair. Even though we may find more than one movie out there about the same subject, let’s keep in mind that these are several different views, or angles, which focus on different aspects of the same subject. “The Illusionist” focused on the more upbeat side of the characters and what magic meant to them or the role it played in the fabric of their lives, with a more audience palatable “happy ending.” “The Prestige” has taken us to the darker side and asks us “are you watching closely?” The side, I believe, where we as an audience should be if we’re going to be drawn into the act—we should not know how the trick will end.

“The Prestige” is really of Shakespearian design filled with characters who have no way else to go but down. In the ill fated obsession to regain that which was lost, the whole story is an illusion and in the end no one wins. Yet, the secret at the end is ultimately for the viewer the best kept of all. A tingle went up my back as in the final scenes Borden was asked if he had anything else to say, and as the true magician he utters “Abra Cadabra.”

Perhaps the great Harry Houdini said it best: “It is still an open question, however, as to what extent exposure really injures a performer.”

One of those Hitchcockian-style thriller-mystery-criss-cross movies “The Prestige” deserves a second perhaps even third look. I, for one, am off to the darkened theater to take another peek. Once again I will sit and watch closely. I will purchase my ticket, sit planted squarely in my red velvet seat and yet another time be enchantingly enticed clear through to “The Prestige.”

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Minor

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer Comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—I enjoyed this movie; I went with my teen daughter for a night out. We both were impressed with the quality, and there was not much offensive material in the picture. I would recommend it, maybe not for younger children because it is intense.
My Ratings: Average / 4
—John, age 37
Positive—This is simply one of the best movies I’ve seen in a loooong time. The acting is superb, and the plot twists are devious. All told, this is a fantastic film!
My Ratings: Offensive / 5
—Dana, age 21
Positive—Walking into the theater to see “The Prestige,” I realized just how little I knew about the film. A lot of times a preview gives too much away, but in this case, the preview serves as an introduction to theme and technique. Christopher Nolan has been one of the most interesting and versatile directors around ever since 2001’s “Memento.” And while that will probably remain the film everyone associates with him, it was only the beginning of his filmmaking genius (it was his second film, to be strictly accurate). There is 2002’s oft forgotten “Insomnia” and 2005’s brilliant “Batman Begins,” and now with “The Prestige” he has solidified his place as one of the best directors working today. His films always look great, and they are consistently complex. In “The Prestige” he operates in three different places in time, in which one seems to uncoil from another, never losing the audience. His direction is so clear and so good that the story never feels jumbled, yet always feels textured and layered.

To describe the story would be to give it away. There is Angier (Hugh Jackman). There is Borden (Christian Bale). At one time they worked together, but now they both seek to be the greatest magician in the world—or at least a far better one than the other. A rivalry ensues, and it is ugly. As it grows, this competition begins to consume both men, in slightly different ways. The film is about the lengths of obsession—for success, for revenge, and sometimes they are the same thing. There is a moment when the two men see an aged, crippled Chinese magician, and Borden claims that he is not crippled, it is just part of the act. There is a cost for the prestige. In strikingly different ways, it demands the very same thing from both men—their lives.

Amidst them is another great performance by Michael Caine, as a sort of half-father figure, half colleague of Angier, as well as a nicely understated one by Scarlett Johansson, and David Bowie as a stoic, creepy inventor. Everyone is at top form, working from a dense, electrifying script (written by Nolan and his brother, based on a novel). There doesn’t seem to be a wasted line of dialogue or visual, and there is stunning moment after stunning moment. The films mixes illusion, magic, deceptions, secrets, and vendettas into an extraordinary story, which absolutely lives up to its name.

I don’t remember any cursing, certainly nothing major. And while there are some scary, eerie images, this is not a “thriller” per se, but a Psychological Suspenseful Drama. There is no sex or nudity, but many of the subjects and themes are very much aimed at more mature audiences. Younger teens may miss some moments, but then so might the adults. The film itself has many tricks, and unraveling them all will certainly take more than one viewing. There is still one key piece of information that I am not quite clear on, although it is secondary, maybe tertiary. I have heard some say that the film is a lot of trickery with an ending that does not illuminate much in the way of substance, but I would very much dispute that. The film’s tricks are second to its story, as it should be.

Lastly, some people may opt out of seeing this movie because of “The Illusionist” that is probably still playing many places and is very good. I would recommend seeing both. They are both period pieces about magic, both starring two fantastic male leads doing amazing work, but their stories, structures, and major thematic intentions are very different. Having seen “The Illusionist” and liking it, I would argue that “The Prestige” is even better.
My Ratings: Good / 5
—Jason Eaken, age 23
Positive—No cursing, very little blood and sensuality… a complex, mysterious, and intriguing film. What’s there not to like? I wouldn’t call it edge-of-your-seat entertainment, as though it were suspenseful. Rather, it’s a flick that keeps your bum planted in your seat, eyes glued to the screen, and ears super alert. Not to mention, there are strong performances by Caine, Bale, Jackman, Serkis, and Bowie himself—all very convincing in their respective roles. Simply put: 'tis a must see for everyone!
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
—Jacob Keenum, age 20
Positive—This movie was amazing. I haven’t been to a movie that impressed me this much in the theater in a long, LONG time. Christopher Nolen (“Batman Begins,” “Momento”) did an amazing job directing, and Christian Bale, Michael Cane and Hugh Jackman are at their best! (Even David Bowie is good! Seriously! He really did a good job playing an intriguing character) The story is a bit confusing, as the movie starts in the middle of it, and then backtracks to fill the viewer in, and it seems to be slow… but it’s not at all. Every scene is important and well done, every environment, every color, every sound, excellent. The main characters are not the most moral of people, and by the end of the movie the point is clear, ambition and drive for being the best comes at a cost. But there are redeeming qualities to characters in the story, and the point is not lost to some. I fully recommend this movie, as it had me captivated from start to finish.
My Ratings: Good / 5
—Nathan R. Carlsen, age 25
Positive—…I did find this movie to be far too easy to figure out. They did so much to mask the secret things in this movie that they became quickly obvious to me and I knew how things would end early on. I will not, however, give anything away for those who haven’t seen it. I only wish it had not been filmed in a retrospective manner. That choice of filming style gave me all the answers I needed way too early. If I could have seen the story play out in real time, with no knowledge of what was to come, I wouldn’t have seen the answers so soon. Its still a good movie though. Nothing is what it seems in terms of how it is portrayed throughout the film and in the end, if it takes you that long to figure it out, it will be made clear to you. None of the evils done in this movie are condoned and are all frowned upon. Even the adulterous insinuation in the movie is not truly what it seems to be. It is a great movie with great acting, but I just would have enjoyed seeing a little more actual Magic tricks, which were rarely seen if at all really. Never the less, a great, dark, suspense thriller.
My Ratings: Good / 5
—Joe, age 29
Positive—“The Prestige” is a spell binder, because the plot lines keep coming one after another, throughout the film. And I would gladly pay my $9.00 again to see it in the theater one more time. As a Christian, I enjoyed the conflict of choosing a difficult but righteous road, which one magician does—over choosing evil, which is concealed with false emotions, which the other magician did. I believe the reason why this movie was not much of a box office hit was two fold. You have to pay attention to the whole story and what is being said, and the plots are so intricate, that as a viewer you can’t tell one part of the story, without having to explain two other parts. It was complex and totally entertaining. “Magic” is all an illusion and a test of a magicians skill in handling his equipment and presenting his trade to show the amusement side to his audience. He is rewarded with applause… and that could easily lead to the downfall of a magician, who has to be better and better with every trick. The film hits video stores in February, 2007. I can’t wait.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
—Margaret Schwarz, age 56
Positive—Why can’t Hollywood produce more movies like this? “The Prestige” is a movie that keeps you guessing right up until the end. I went out of the theater shocked and pleasantly surprised by what I had just seen. This is the first 2 ½ hour long movie that has kept my attention the entire time. The greatest thing about this movie was the casting. Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale are absolutely brilliant as two magicians who start out as friends but quickly become rivals, after a popular trick ends in tragedy. From that point on, they part ways and devote themselves to trying to outdo each other. Michael Caine is superb as their mentor.

I also loved the fact that the director chose not to include much objectionable material in this film. With that said, parents should be warned that there are a few very disturbing images. There is no foul language, and only a hint of sexual material in this film. This proves that Hollywood can make a film with a good story line without putting a lot of garbage in it. I believe this movie is coming to DVD next month. I strongly recommend checking it out. You will simply not believe your eyes.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Jared Barton, age 26
Positive—Why can’t Hollywood produce more movies like this? “The Prestige” is a movie that keeps you guessing right up until the end. I went out of the theater shocked and pleasantly surprised by what I had just seen. This is the first 2 ½ hour long movie that has kept my attention the entire time.

The greatest thing about this movie was the casting. Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale are absolutely brilliant as two magicians who start out as friends but quickly become rivals, after a popular trick ends in tragedy. From that point on, they part ways and devote themselves to trying to outdo each other. Michael Caine is superb as their mentor.

I also loved the fact that the director chose not to include much objectionable material in this film. With that said, parents should be warned that there are a few very disturbing images. There is no foul language, and only a hint of sexual material in this film. This proves that Hollywood can make a film with a good story line without putting a lot of garbage in it. I believe this movie is coming to DVD next month. I strongly recommend checking it out. You will simply not believe your eyes.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Jared Barton, age 26
Positive—“The Prestige” is very complex on first viewing, because it is presented in a jumbled up manner; by the end you will want to see it a second time to work everything out. It is a well made movie, but dark in tone and not for everyone. Like most films, “Prestige” has no solid Christian message (intentional or otherwise).

But by the end of the film it is clear that those consumed with the desire to fill their godless, empty lives with pride, revenge, and monetary prosperity do not find solace in these things. The film seems to portray its characters as they would be in real life: not as great successes but as severely hurt human beings. In this way, it is very unique in that Prestige has no traditional protagonist, and this turns an otherwise cheery film into one of constant despair. If nothing else, it is an enthralling, mysterious film that should cause people to question the prices one pays for fame and fortune, or from following their own dreams rather than the plan God has for them.
My Ratings: Average / 5
—Adam, age 24
Neutral
Neutral—It was good… I think. The plot had some great twists, but your mind was so bent by the end, you weren’t sure if you enjoyed it or not. The morality wasn’t such a major issue on this one, but there were “concerns” brought to reality by the route the characters took to resolve issues. It’s a bit morbid, and I have to say that though I was basically entertained, I left feeling a bit disappointed.
My Ratings: Average / 4
—Tammy, age 26
Neutral—I am commenting on both magic movies of 2006, THE ILLUSIONIST and THE PRESTIGE (This same review will be repeated on both movies' pages). Both film are very well produced and each have it’s own take, while one is a romance epic and the other is about vengeance, respectively. Both movies, as clearly demonstrated by THE PRESTIGE, it gives us “the pledge” where an ordinary thing or person is presented, “the turn” is where the sleight of hand does it’s trick, and finally, “the prestige” when the object is brought back unscathed if it was made vanished.

In the world of magic, there is a known truth that all magicians gave an oath to never reveal the tricks behind the turn, and only after so many centuries of repetitions that they must upstage the old act if they are to make a living. So the old trick where the assistant in a box being sawed in half is finally revealed how it was done, the “new” opened box version where the person is clearly seen being sawed off baffled even the most critical eyes. Are you still with me?

THE PRESTIGE does such a fine job of educating and entertaining us about real magic and the beyond. It presented us two formal magician friends, after a tragic act, Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) is obsessed with Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) who was responsible for the accident. Angier will do anything to upstage Borden’s “the transported man” trick. THE PRESTIGE is dark in tone and grounded in reality with a touch of the possibility.

While THE ILLUSIONIST is a bit more fanciful and spiritual, it is anything but about a young love couple separated due to their social status. The girls is high society while the boy is a poor circus act, but then fate brought them back together. As adults, she’s the fiance of a prince and he’s a great magician. What followed is a trick in-itself, like THE PRESTIGE, we invest in the time to help Chief Inspector Uhl (Paul Giamatti) to unlock the mystery behind the murder.

Movies and magic are two of my favorite entertainments. Both are very similar in terms pulling a veil over our eyes. Of the two, I preferred THE PRESIGE for it’s realistic portrayal of magic while THE ILLUSIONIST for it’s romantic escapism. Yet, both film bothered me. Both films revealed to us the tricks and like Borden told a child to never reveal of such a secret for it will diminish the value of the trick. I believed that’s what happened here for me. I thoroughly enjoy both movies, yet the ending left a some what undesired taste.

[SPOILERS]: In magic, there are no deaths, and if it is, it’s part of the act and will be revived back to life. Tragically, in both films, death is the end. THE PRESTIGE have too many to count, while THE ILLUSIONIST have only but one, yet just as disturbing. I need a third film where magic is real, and the people involved managed to overcome death.
My Ratings: Offensive / 4½
—Mang Yang, age 35
Negative
Negative—The only thing that kept me from leaving the theater was that the movie had so many suspenseful and unexpected twists to it, that I kept hoping it would get better. It didn’t. The movie started with this guy explaining the three parts of the magic trick, where a canary disappears, and then reappears.

A little later in the movie we see that they kill the first canary and the one that “reappears” is a different bird. The canary trick in and of itself was pretty unpleasant (they die so that people will be entertained), but later in the movie I realized that the canary trick seemed to sum up the plot of the whole movie: it has illusions and puzzles, but when you get down to finding out what’s going on, it’s an ugly picture.

It starts with an accident death where the dead girl’s husband (Angier) blames the other (Borden). For the rest of the movie he tries to destroy the other guy’s life. Shoots him, steals his secrets, tries to trick him, and finally frames him for murder so that he gets killed. And he also kills like 100 other people (which is kind of hard to explain without giving away “the trick”) The other main character who accidentally killed the girl is hardly more likeable: Borden’s tricks are more important to him than his own, his wife, daughter, or brother. He also fights Angier back: breaks his leg, ruins his show a couple times, etc. His wife ends up dead, he commits adultery with another girl, and at the end he kills Angier. It’s like “Hamlet,” where everyone is focused on revenge and end up dead, except more intriguing, and more people get hurt and die.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 5
—Rebekah, age 18
Negative—This movie was pretty dark and the main characters were quite evil. I agree that there is a definite Shakespearean tone to the film. Some of the larger thematic messages reminded me of “Macbeth.” I like twists and unpredictability in movies, and “The Prestige” definitely provided lots of surprises, BUT the movie’s hopelessness and the lack of redemption led to a melancholy experience. The characters wasted so much in pursuit of hurting others at any cost. If anything, the downfall of certain characters helped me to again realize the imminence of death and the importance of repentance and forgiveness, the irrelevance of my worldly pursuits, and my need to always be prepared for the end by keeping my life right with God. The characters had pretty loathsome existences, and wasted their lives and families in some very sad ways.
My Ratings: Offensive / 4½
—Kyle, age 19
Negative—If you are the type of moviegoer who does not mind not having things be logical, then you may like this one. I did not. Here’s why. SPOILER: Two woman would not be able to recognize the ones they love as twins?! Mistaken identity of a dead guy by a coroner and legal court?! A young magician friend did not know about his friend’s twin?! It’s one of those movies that may seem really intriguing, but is actually very stupid (or they think that I am). This was a fantasy disguised as a “this could really happen”—type of movie. This movie ended up being neither. One positive is the cinematography.
My Ratings: Average / 2½
—Christopher, age 47
Negative—This is a rather twisted tale of intrigue, suspicion and secrecy. If you enjoy a good art film, you’ll enjoy this movie. I cannot in all honesty recommend the film, however, for it portrays “art” as beyond love—an idea that no Christian should endorse. For the sake of his craft, Alfred Borden treats his wife with such disregard as to suggest that he values his work beyond her. This eventually leads to her suicide by hanging, which was perhaps one of the most shocking moments I have ever witnessed on film. The film does have its good qualities. The acting is superb by Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, and newcomer Rebecca Hall (who I have a crush on after viewing this movie!). David Bowie is surprisingly effective as Nikola Tesla. The cinematography and set design are indeed Oscar worthy, as are the costumes and music. Regardless, I suggest you skip this one.
My Ratings: Offensive / 4
—Cornelius Christian, age 19
Comments from young people
Positive—This was an incredible movie! It was a little slow at first, but you realize it has to all lead up to the amazing end. The acting was fantastic, especially by Hugh Jackman. No one, and I mean, no one could have predicted the ending. It had the most surprising conclusion I have ever seen. I give it a thumbs up! It also had a good message to it, that obsession will never get you what you want, and it will ruin the life you have. This rocked!
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—Jamey Shelley, age 16
Positive—…an excellent movie, and I highly recommend it. There was very little objectionable material: some violence, but no gore, a mild implication of adultery, and the overall theme of deception and revenge (portrayed negatively). For these reasons, the PG-13 rating should be taken into account, as well as the fact that it is a more mature movie and requires a lot of attention.

I enjoyed this movie immensely because it was sort of like a game to me. Like putting a puzzle together, except you don’t have all the pieces until the end, which has kept me thinking about it long after I have seen it. “The Prestige” was absolutely ingenious as it incorporates its main theme (the pledge, the turn, and the prestige) into the actual movie, so that we, as viewers, are truly involved. I was also impressed with the use of science and technology, as opposed to fantasy. It is believable, even when the impossible occurs. The over-all atmosphere of the movie was thrilling and mysterious (a very good Fall movie), and it was so relaxing for me to be able to watch a movie that didn’t make me squirm because of all the innuendo, language, etc. I do recommend seeing it in the theaters, if possible, because it adds to the mood. I was impressed with the intelligence and originality of the plot, it really was somewhat Shakespearean in that way. The actors did an excellent job (no wincing at bad accents and cheesy emotional scenes), and I wasn’t bored at any point in the movie. This movie is appropriate for mature children (probably over 13), most teenagers, adults, and the elderly, and I believe that most people will find “The Prestige” entirely entrancing.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—Abigail, age 17
Positive—This movie is as good as the previews make it look! The cinematography was amazing, and the acting was great. I had to think about it after it was over because it was a little complicated, but it wasn’t too hard to figure out. It did have some violence in it, such as several men getting shot, a man getting hung, and two people drowning. There’s also a part where a guy is having an affair with another girl. Some of the magic tricks are a little morbid, like when they kill a canary to make it look like it disappeared. Overall, I think this was a great movie. If you don’t like dark movies, you probably wouldn’t like it, and I wouldn’t bring any kids to see it. But it’s worth the price of a movie ticket!
My Ratings: Average / 4
—Brittney, age 16
Positive—WOW! This film was excellent. Great performances all around, from Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johannson, and Michael Caine, and newcomer Rebecca Hall, who was pretty excellent and reminded me a lot of the beautiful (and my favorite actress) Rachel McAdams. Meanwhile, the story, style and entertainment value of the movie is very high. It keeps you glued to your seat. Excited, shocked, thrilled. And I’m guessing the replay value is going to be very high when I see it again (which should be pretty soon). Why is the replay value high? Well, all that I’ll say here is that this movie contains a mindblowing twist that even has some people scratching their heads.

Was the film demonic? Not at all. There was no real magic where they would have to call upon demons or WHATEVER. Nothing is demonic about this film. There’s no sex. There is no profanity at all. The scenes with “magic” don’t really involve any wizardry, just science and technology.

Now on the other hand, the film was an eensy bit violent. Not REALLY violent, but pretty violent. The PG-13 rating is earned in this category and only in this category. There’s two hangings (one not really shown, the other shown) and a few shootings and drownings here and there. If you’re wondering if the film has anything objectionable, the only thing that I would find objectionable (although I don’t but others might) is the violence. So beware. Barely any blood, but still kind of violent.

There’s also deception, people turning on other people, and that’s about it but it’s pretty heavy throughout the second half of the movie. And if anyone even COMMENTS on the fact that there is adultery, then that means you didn’t understand the twist. There is no adultery. That’s all I’ll say about that here because this is a movie definitely worth seeing.

Christian themes? Hmm. Well, it warns to not get obsessed in something so simple. I’m sure there’s something about not obsessing in the Bible. And those who do will fail and be punished. All in all, this is a very quality film. One of the best films I have ever seen, and in quite a while. Besides the violence, it’s one of the cleanest and most unique movies to ever come out of Hollywood. But it actually came from the talented Christopher Nolan (of “Batman Begins”) and his brother. And I must say, they are extremely talented and pulled quite a feat on all of us. A “trick,” if you will. “The Prestige” is phenomenal. Go see it.
My Ratings: Good / 5
—Damien, age 17
Neutral—This movie was pretty good. I went with my Dad to see “The Prestige.” Bordon actually did NOT commit adultery, but I’m not going to give away Bordon’s secret. This movie was kind of scary, with all the shooting and drowning and hanging. I would definitely not recommend it to anyone easily scared or under ten. I enjoyed it though, it was very interesting. It was a very good quality film, and the swearing was minimal. It was pretty clean overall, I just didn’t like all the killing, especially the killing of the birds just for a trick that everyone has seen before. So, if you don’t mind people being shot, hung, or drowned, you should go see it, it is definitely worth your money!
My Ratings: Average / 4
—Emily, age 12
Positive—This movie was FANTASTIC! I absolutely loved it. A few of my friends and I went to see this movie, and all agreed it was awesome. This movie was very, very intriguing. It keep us all on the edge of our seats throughout, and had an interesting and unpredictable ending. This is a PG-13 movie though, and had quite a bit of violence, but no swearing, I can remember, and NO sexual content. This is one of my favorite movies right behind “The Lord of the Rings,” and “Pirates of the Caribbean.” I would recommend this movie to teenagers who love a good mystery, but not to anyone under 12 or 13 due to the violence.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4½
—Ally, age 15
Positive—I enjoyed this movie a lot. It had an amazing twist at the end, and the actors were great! I do agree that there are some negative points in the movie (i.e. revenge, death, sex). But, little to none of it was shown, and it was a superb movie. I encourage everyone who is interested to go and see it.
My Ratings: Average / 4½
—Adam Jefford, age 14
Positive—This is an absolutely stunning and brilliant film. I hadn’t a clue what to expect when I read the movie description as simply “two rival magicians sabotage each other’s acts,” so I thought it would be present day, fictional, and somewhat of a bore. What I saw was a gripping, historical, elegantly mixed with science-fiction film that left me awestruck at the end. It is a relief to see something targeted to the educated moviegoers; a break from the complete rubbish and vulgarity that involves no plot whatsoever. “The Prestige” moves at just the right pace, and you will be swept along with the story. Amazing actors Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale play the two magicians, and there couldn’t be two better choices for those roles. From a purely Christian viewpoint, I could not find anything offensive in this film. In fact, I found myself questioning the morality and thinking behind corruptive forces like revenge and dishonesty. This movie left me with many plot twists to ponder, and I strongly recommend it to any person, Christian or not. It is a very dark film though, and may be disturbing and unsettling for younger children.
My Ratings: Good / 5
—Katie S., age 15
Positive—I was really looking forward to this movie as I was going to the theatres. It had a lot of actors in it that I really appreciated from other movies. After seeing it, though, I had some mixed feelings. First of all, from a moviemaking view, I think it was excellent. The acting was phenomenal and the script was intriguing with a lot of twists and turns. From a moral standpoint, however, I was a bit unsure. I had read reviews previous to this and thought that it looked OK. I mean, I’ve seen films with a little blood and that (which is the only obvious thing that people may object to in the movie), but, like in the director Nolan’s previous film Batman Begins, I found this film to be very dark, probably darker than Batman. The whole movie is circled around a theme of revenge, but it also shows that revenge doesn’t pay off in the end. By the end of the film both of the main characters end up losing a lot. I also found that there is no real protagonist (or good guy) for the audience to cheer for (other than possibly Cutter, who is not really a main character). Other possibly offensive things in the movie are that there are two hangings (one in which the camera cuts away quickly, the other where the camera sees the body hanging from a distance), a few people drown and a few fingers are lost (again in one the camera cuts away, the other shown from a distance). My verdict is that this movie is probably OK for anyone over 14 to see, and I would highly recommend it for its great plot.
My Ratings: Average / 4
—Joel Dugard, age 14
Neutral—This movie came to me highly recommended. Everyone said it was a shocking thriller with a jaw-dropping ending. About five minutes before the end credits I suddenly foresaw the final twist. (Due to a badly timed clue.) I was the unlucky (or lucky) audience member who saw the mirrors in “the turn” before “the prestige” ever got the chance to blow my mind away. I saw the trap door, and it disappointed me greatly. Those who are looking for a film that has a true “prestige” will be disappointed when they reach the end of this film and see that the only “shock” is that the (mostly) good guy dies and the vile man gets away without anything but a few missing fingers to account for his sins.

Evil wins and THAT is the great magic trick that this movie wants to play on anyone who has the patience to sit down and watch closely for two hours. I did; I watched, thought, and just at the point when I was expecting “the prestige” to blow me away the credits began to roll. The lessons I took from this movie were good, however darkly they were presented. It is a lesson on the affects of obsession and revenge. However, it does a horrible job teaching the lesson and the ending voids any possible hope of its message being effective. All the viewer can think about after the movie is over is how she just lost two hours of her life watching another man ruin every life he touches and then—shock!--he gets away with it.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 3½
—Willow, age 17
Neutral—I’ll start with the good things about The Prestige: I didn’t hear any swearing, and violence was handled in a gentle way. Also, the hair/makeup/costume crew did a good job, which was quite nice! Not to say that there was no violence—quite the contrary, I was forced to look away during a scene in which one man loses his fingers—but it was not done for the blood.

The plot was artfully twisted and curved, which certainly entertained me. However, it was slow in progressing, which could make it less than popular with many. The morals in this film are not Biblical—the two magicians seem unharnessed by any moral truth. In the end we are enlightened as to the “truth,” but it seems as if the script writers were trying to pardon the deception that led to many broken relationships and even to death.

Looking back, I cannot seem to think of any truths or lessons to be pulled from this movie that cannot be learned any other (shorter) way. Therefore, while the cinematography was good, the acting well-done, and the storyline intriguing, I must say that I do not recommend this movie. The end just doesn’t justify the means. (in a manner of speaking)
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 4½
—Stephanie, age 15