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Are you watching closely?

The Prestige (2006)
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Screenplay by: Jonathan Nolan & Christopher Nolan (based on the novel by Christopher Priest)
Starring: Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson, Rebecca Hall, Piper Perabo, Andy Serkis, and David Bowie

Synopsis:  Following the death of his wife during a performance, Robert Angiers (Jackman) blames his fellow magician Alfred Borden (Bale) for her death. The two become bitter enemies, constantly trying to sabotage one another, but when Alfred introduces a trick that becomes a hit with the public, Robert becomes obsessed with discovering Alfred's secret.

There are two magician movies that were released around the same time in 2006.  Apparently I spent the last four-plus years thinking I had seen Christopher Nolan's The Prestige, when in fact I had seen The Illusionist (directed by Neil Burger and starring Edward Norton). Oops.

I'm relatively certain I liked The Illusionist (I don't remember hating it, at least), but it must have been rather forgettable since I am now completely unable to remember the plotline. I very seriously doubt this will happen with The Prestige. The story held my attention the entire length of the film -- there really weren't any slow parts -- and the mystery was absolutely unforgettable.

The only complaint is that there was some major suspension of disbelief required involving Robert's attempt to copy Alfred's famous trick. I don't want to spoil anything because doing so would ruin the movie. You must see it for the first time without knowing any of the twists (Yes, plural!). But anyway, that one part of the movie was rather unbelievable. Other than that one issue, though, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie.

The cast was great. Bale and Jackman always deliver, and Michael Caine is the cutest man ever...I want to give him a hug every time he's on screen in any movie. Sometimes I worry about Nolan's female casting choices (Katie Holmes, anyone?), and I'm not a huge fan of Scarlett Johansson, but she did fine in her role. I also quite liked Rebecca Hall as Alfred's wife Sarah. Don't forget to keep an eye out for an almost unrecognizable David Bowie (!) as inventor Nikola Tesla.

I'd recommend The Prestige to anyone who is a fan of Christopher Nolan's work. It's not his best film, in my opinion, but it's still very good.