The Prestige

User Score
8.9

Universal acclaim- based on 746 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 13 out of 746
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  1. RayH
    Nov 27, 2006
    5
    This movie was all around a pretty good movie. It was extremely dark, and some of the scenes were a bit disturbing. The plot kind of rambled on to make this movie way too long. An hour and a half would have been alot better. The twists in this movie are confusing and it makes you think too hard.The movie did have some cool things in it and has a very surprising ending. It was not the best This movie was all around a pretty good movie. It was extremely dark, and some of the scenes were a bit disturbing. The plot kind of rambled on to make this movie way too long. An hour and a half would have been alot better. The twists in this movie are confusing and it makes you think too hard.The movie did have some cool things in it and has a very surprising ending. It was not the best movies I've ever seen, but it was good enough to keep me from leaving the theater for as long as it did. So it must have done something right. Expand
  2. gp
    Oct 23, 2006
    5
    It had the actors and twisting plot to keep you interested, but the ending was such a copout that you just feel cheated. Weak.
  3. JoeA.
    Apr 22, 2007
    5
    Like Memento, a very tightly crafted piece of film-making. Like Memento, you spend the movie wondering which character to dislike the least.
  4. IP
    Nov 4, 2006
    5
    Very disapointing. I loved Memento and was really looking forward to this but... way overrated. The movie was set up pretty well, it kept me interested through the twists bu then an hour before the end Nolan introduces something supernatural that explains everything. Once we see this, the climax becomes predictable from a mile away. Then when you think about what happened, there are a Very disapointing. I loved Memento and was really looking forward to this but... way overrated. The movie was set up pretty well, it kept me interested through the twists bu then an hour before the end Nolan introduces something supernatural that explains everything. Once we see this, the climax becomes predictable from a mile away. Then when you think about what happened, there are a million holes in the story. It's too bad, hopefully the next Nolan movie will be more of Memento quality. Expand
  5. JamesS
    Oct 24, 2006
    5
    Stylish and definitely cool-with the great performances- the movie breaks some of the golden rules of story-telling- not only do you not root for either main character, the entire story is based on illusion- or more plainly put- lies. [***SPOILERS***] The ending goes beyond far-fetched- and to such lengths to deceive- it
  6. SchuylerC.
    Mar 12, 2007
    4
    A lot of big names but it was very slow moving, I couldn't pay attention to it I must have zoned out for half the movie. It didn't get interesting until they started replicating cats. The plot didn't make much sense I felt like I was high or something and I haven't used drugs in years. Two horrible performing magic rivals who keep killing their stage hand girl friends A lot of big names but it was very slow moving, I couldn't pay attention to it I must have zoned out for half the movie. It didn't get interesting until they started replicating cats. The plot didn't make much sense I felt like I was high or something and I haven't used drugs in years. Two horrible performing magic rivals who keep killing their stage hand girl friends with the same stupid trick, then one is trying to figure out the others secret while he is funding a scientific experiment that replicates and makes things disappear. Why would he even care about anything else. That was basically the highlight of the movie the sci fi element if I had something like that I would create a lot of romantic love slaves of anyone I wanted then disappear. Expand
  7. MaxS.
    Nov 27, 2006
    5
    The movie went on for way too long and the ending was entirely too jumbled up. It should have ended a lot sooner than it did. I was not endeared to any of the characters, however, the magic tricks shown were interesting and made it entertaining enough.
  8. AdrianH.
    Oct 21, 2006
    6
    The movie has all the tools for a great movie and starts off by creating a fantastic and twisted story of rivalry and the lengths two men go to one-up each other. I was engrossed in the movie, sorting through all the deception and double crossing and trying to sort out what was going to happen. But it's like halfway through the movie, the writers tried to get too clever for their own The movie has all the tools for a great movie and starts off by creating a fantastic and twisted story of rivalry and the lengths two men go to one-up each other. I was engrossed in the movie, sorting through all the deception and double crossing and trying to sort out what was going to happen. But it's like halfway through the movie, the writers tried to get too clever for their own good and write in improbable and implausible twist after twist... culminating in the 'secret' to the final trick being so horribly out of place in the film I literally sat there shaking my head at the screen. Rather than create clever twist for a trick that is even performed by magicians everywhere today, they resorted to using some crazy science fiction elements. It's like they spent all the time setting it up only to cop out for the final revelation. By the time the movie wraps up all the loose ends and tells you how everything was done, you may just not care anymore. Expand
  9. MattA.
    Jan 13, 2007
    6
    Nice try Conor, you're not fooling anyone. We all know you worked on that review for several hours. Also, your analysis is just stupid. This movie had one of the most ridiculous endings in recent film memory, and it was just too muddled and overlong. Some nice performances though, especially by Bale and Rebecca Hall.
  10. ArnoldD.
    Nov 5, 2006
    4
    No quest for prestige but an obsessional orientation born of an ultimate quest for power. The dynamic clear in that the intent , the quest for power, is born of the denial of death. The quest is clear, the movie , boring .
  11. AllistairP.
    Oct 20, 2006
    6
    The type of movie you don't regret going to, yet don't exactly even remember a month later. A disappointment coming off "Batman Begins", in my eyes.
  12. M.M.
    Oct 22, 2006
    5
    I felt it was a 'nice' movie. Shot and acted well but nothing in the plot or story to really get excited about or have any 'wow' moments. Average. I enjoyed 'The Illusionist' a lot more. Eh.
  13. AiJ
    Oct 24, 2006
    4
    Let me start off by saying that Chris Nolan is a very skilled director who handles cinematic structure better than most directors around today. I am a great admirer of Memento and Batman Begins and Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman give good performances in this picture. Now if anyone at the beginning of a movie says, "Are you watching closely" as they pan the camera across hundreds of top Let me start off by saying that Chris Nolan is a very skilled director who handles cinematic structure better than most directors around today. I am a great admirer of Memento and Batman Begins and Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman give good performances in this picture. Now if anyone at the beginning of a movie says, "Are you watching closely" as they pan the camera across hundreds of top hats on the ground in the woods, then You Watch Closely! Once I saw the hats again, I had figured out that [***SPOILERS***] Danton was duplicating himself and that Borden did not kill him, but killed his reasonable facsimile. Also, when we see Fallon, Borden's engineer and right hand man, we know that he's obviously, Christian Bale in make up, false hair and glasses. This is the problem with Hollywood filmmaking: audiences are so used to seeing characters in medium shots and close-ups that we start to wonder why a character isn't shot that way and it sends up a red flag. Also, I had to wonder why Fallon was the exact same height as Borden when Michael Caine's character says that Borden is using a double to perform the transporting man illusion. Now, at this point, the conclusion-- or the "prestige" of the transporting man trick and the film itself-- seems rather obvious. I'm not the most intelligent man but I've seen a few films and when the solution to a mystery is so obvious, we all have to wonder, "How it is really going to end?" Or we think, "That ending is so simple, it can't be the true, so I'll go along for the ride". The Prestige manages to reveal the ending halfway through the movie and has no "twist" to make anyone feel that the last hour and 30 minutes was worth sitting through! This movie was "Secret Window" all over again except with better direction. And why didn't they cast Piper Perabo in Scarlett Johansson's role? When are we going to get a non-wooden performance from Scarlett? Is it because she is the cause for so much wood from the men in the audience? Sure she's great to look at but come on! Someone should punch her in the face already. Expand
  14. HalB
    Oct 25, 2006
    6
    A fundamentally flawed movie that gives away the ending -- if you're paying attention -- a good 25 minutes before the climax. Hence, an anti-climactic ending of that kind of spoiled the movie for me. Performances are all solid, but the main characters are difficult to root for given their unmitigated ambition/deceit. Scarlett Johansson is sexy and beguiling, but in a somewhat wasted A fundamentally flawed movie that gives away the ending -- if you're paying attention -- a good 25 minutes before the climax. Hence, an anti-climactic ending of that kind of spoiled the movie for me. Performances are all solid, but the main characters are difficult to root for given their unmitigated ambition/deceit. Scarlett Johansson is sexy and beguiling, but in a somewhat wasted role. David Bowie as Tesla is interesting. Andy Serkis (aka Golum) delivers a nice little performance. Expand
  15. BrettK
    Oct 28, 2006
    4
    Too long and too predictable. They give away the ending long before the movie is over. Thus, you have to sit and watch over a half an hour of pointless dialogue and plot "twists" for nothing, as it's already been made obvious how the movie will end. Both of the magicians are horrible people, so who cares who wins or loses, lives or dies. A disappointment.
  16. AamerA.
    Dec 29, 2006
    6
    Clever but contrived and even a bit silly at the same time. The Illusionist pulled a similar trick, only better and more convincingly.
  17. Aug 25, 2011
    6
    In the history of gimmick pictures, The Prestige stands as the Citizen Kane of the bunch. Many would immediately take the word "gimmicky" and make it automatically negative. Well, it is not. Gimmicks are everywhere, in great films and crappy films alike (tell me, would Jaws have been half as good if they'd shown the shark?). The key to a great gimmick film, and a lousy one is that when youIn the history of gimmick pictures, The Prestige stands as the Citizen Kane of the bunch. Many would immediately take the word "gimmicky" and make it automatically negative. Well, it is not. Gimmicks are everywhere, in great films and crappy films alike (tell me, would Jaws have been half as good if they'd shown the shark?). The key to a great gimmick film, and a lousy one is that when you have a gimmick, you have to use to the best of its abilities. If a filmmaker were to just toss in a gimmick, and go nowhere with it (i.e. Vantage Point), then the film is nothing but a gimmicky trainwreck. The Prestige, on the other hand, uses its gimmick technique to the full degree. The idea that every magic trick has three parts, and nothing is ever what it seems. The movie is so committed to this gimmick, it builds the entire film around it. Expand
  18. Apr 14, 2014
    6
    This movie reminded me of The Illusionist. The acting, production, and general execution are all brilliant, but the story ends with a tired cliche. The writers must have been stuck on how to wrap up the The Prestige, so tossed in some unsatisfying science fiction at the end.
  19. Jun 3, 2014
    6
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. For me, this movie was a disappiontment, because of two things. Two fatal flaws that ruined the whole experience for me.

    1st: I couldn't care about rivalry of Jackman's and Bale's character, because I didn't root for any of them. They were both bitter, and blind, and I didn't sympathize with them. As a Rival movie I'd rather recommend watching AlPacino's and Robert Deniro's "Heat", which had a way more interesting duel between, where both characters were interesting and reasonable.

    2nd: That machine. That f*ckin machine. SPOILERS on the way..: You have a machine that can duplicate anything. Man, woman, cat, dog, food, money, gold, anything. And what does Jackman's character do with it? Do something that can help the people?PFFFF. NO. HE USES IT FOR THAT GODDAMN TELEPORTING TRICK..*sigh* But you know what? Okay. Let's say he just doesnt care about anything else on this planet (*cough*selfish bastard*cough*), but that one trick. Okay. I understand it. I don't agree but I understand it....BUT, WHY IN THE MOTHERF*CKING, BLODDY, *SSR*PING HELL DOES TESLA GIVE SUCH A GREAT MACHINE TO SUCH AN IDIOT? OR TO ANYONE? One of my friends said because it didn't work as he intended. But, GOD, there were hundreds of scientist who discovered, and invented things accidentally. Is Tesla really that choosy.? I don't believe it. No, I, I just can't.

    Apart from that, the movie was enjoyable. Dark, but enjoyable with an interesting twist at the end. Now that I think about it, Christian Bale's story was at least well-thought-out, well, compared to Jackman's story. If you like stories played in the old England, with great actors, with half-a-good-story and you can forget about the Machine and hpw they use it (NOT THAT EASY.) then maybe you can enjoy this movie more than I did. (not a big praise, is it?).
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  20. Jan 19, 2015
    4
    The Prestige revolves around 2 magicians who initially be-friend one another but due to an unfortunate event that triggers the worst in both men, they become archrivals. It's rushed but works. The entire film focuses on the attempts of these 2 men to outclass one another and how they end up bringing great pain to themselves. The Premise is quite basic but Nolan juggles multiple story linesThe Prestige revolves around 2 magicians who initially be-friend one another but due to an unfortunate event that triggers the worst in both men, they become archrivals. It's rushed but works. The entire film focuses on the attempts of these 2 men to outclass one another and how they end up bringing great pain to themselves. The Premise is quite basic but Nolan juggles multiple story lines and muddles it in a way that makes it not so easy to follow. This movie is more of a puzzle than a meaningful film. It keeps playing tricks on you but once the novelty wears off, it's easy to see, it's too smart for its own good. The more tricks it plays on you, the more you raise your eyebrow and go, "Hmm, did he need to do that?" because most of these stunts don't contribute too much. In a movie that's so cold at its core, you can't be emotionally invested and these tricks turn frustrating, even annoying. But the 3rd Act is what really killed it for me. The Prestige builds up a lot of suspense in the first 2 Acts and the answer it provides at the end is-"Magic"- and that was so unsatisfying to me. Another major problem I had with it was that in this cold-hearted rivalry between these 2 despicable men, Nolan actually does reveal a winner, which was again very unnecessary. Through the film I thought it was trying to convey, "if you fixate yourself on bringing pain to someone else you end up hurting yourself". But the ending threw that right out of the window.
    The Prestige is defined as the final act of a magic trick that instills fascination; ironically, it's the prestige of this film that let it down. Well the Prestige isn't art but it's still fun to watch; at least the first time.
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  21. Apr 23, 2015
    6
    Watching The Prestige is like observing a magic act where the magician's sleight-of-hand isn't deft enough. The trick almost works, but not quite… With its mechanical twists and turns and lack of heart, the movie often resembles Sleuth in superficial ways, except The Prestige resorts to cheating while Sleuth relied on cunning and guile. As is too often the case with narratives that try toWatching The Prestige is like observing a magic act where the magician's sleight-of-hand isn't deft enough. The trick almost works, but not quite… With its mechanical twists and turns and lack of heart, the movie often resembles Sleuth in superficial ways, except The Prestige resorts to cheating while Sleuth relied on cunning and guile. As is too often the case with narratives that try to be oblique to the end, the film's climax is strangely predictable. The Prestige goes to a great deal of trouble - including a triple time-line - to protect secrets that aren't all that surprising or hard to guess.

    With a pedigree as splendid as the one behind The Prestige, the movie's inability to captivate consistently must be considered a disappointment. In the sweepstakes for best 2006 movie about conjurors performing circa 1900, The Illusionist is a few steps ahead of The Prestige. While one could argue that both films telegraph their third-act surprises, The Illusionist is less ponderous and more enjoyable. There are times when The Prestige bogs down and the needlessly convoluted way in which director Christopher Nolan elects to present the story doesn't help. Maybe he was looking for inspiration from his brilliant non-linear Memento.

    The Prestige is too well made to be considered "bad," but it fails to deliver in ways that will earn it more shrugs than raves. There's nothing wrong on the acting front: headliners Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale are at the tops of their games as rival magicians caught in the grip of an obsession to defeat one another. Michael Caine is delightful in a supporting role. Scarlett Johansson is wasted playing another love interest - a part with which she is gaining too much familiarity. Rebecca Hall plays a similar role but does it better. There's also a bit of stunt casting, with David Bowie playing real life scientist Nikola Tesla.

    The narrative eventually missteps by taking a wrong turn down a road that leads into science fiction. For a period piece that is so meticulously detailed, this is an odd way to go, and in a way it seems to be a betrayal of all that has gone before. Its integration is awkward and it alters the suspension of disbelief curve (not for the better). Even buying this premise is not guaranteed to open the gates to unfettered enjoyment. As is often true of movies about revenge and obsession, The Prestige is cold, and Nolan crafts a storyline that is more complicated than necessary. If his goal is to make things seem more profound or to obscure what's around the next curve in the plot, he is not entirely successful. As for the explanation at the end…yes, it's one of those instances in which a guy holding a gun provides a blow-by-blow account more for the benefit of the audience than the other character.

    Those hoping to gain insight into how magicians work won't find a lot of help here. The details of a few tricks are revealed, but they're filled with cheats that can be found only in movies or literature. The title is explained as being one of three steps in a trick: the pledge, the turn, and the prestige. Oddly, it's that third act, the prestige, where this film is found lacking. There's plenty going on but never any real magic.
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Metascore
66

Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 36
  2. Negative: 1 out of 36
  1. Audiences might enjoy this cinematic sleight of hand, but the key characters are such single-minded, calculating individuals that the real magic would be to find any heart in this tale.
  2. Reviewed by: Dennis Harvey
    40
    Clearly, director Nolan is aiming for something else. But the delight in sheer gamesmanship that marked his breakout "Memento" doesn't survive this project's gimmickry and aspirations toward "Les Miserables"-style epic passion.
  3. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    70
    The result is a lopsided yet absorbing movie in which the director is less drawn to his main characters than to those on the periphery.