- Sam Mendes wanted to do this movie as his follow-up to American Beauty (1999), which had just been nominated for seven Academy Awards. Another offer came from Newmarket Films on behalf of writer, producer, and director Christopher Nolan, of whom author Christopher Priest had never heard. Priest was prepared to close the deal with Mendes when a VHS copy of Nolan's Following (1998) was delivered to his house by motorcycle (Memento (2000) was still in post-production). Priest was impressed, and chose Nolan (in part to also support a new filmmaker over an established one).
- The editing includes one hundred forty-six time jump cuts, in which the next shot either flashes back or skips ahead to another time period of the storyline. This averages to almost one timeline jump per minute of movie.
- Alfred Borden's infant was played by one of writer, producer, and director Christopher Nolan's children.
- The main characters' initials spell "ABRA" (Alfred Borden Robert Angier), as in abracadabra, a common word used by magicians.
- David Bowie initially declined the role of Nikola Tesla when it was offered to him. Christopher Nolan flew out to him personally to tell him that he was the only person he imagined for the role, and that his larger than life persona would make the idea of Tesla building a teleportation device believable. Upon hearing this, David Bowie changed his mind and took the role.
- Editing, scoring, and mixing finished on September 22, 2006.
- Real-life magician Ricky Jay played in the film. He had also played a magician role in the seventh season from The X-Files series.
Christopher Nolan is a magician. I have never seen a filmmaker that would make a superb first major film (Memento), a second superb film (Insomnia) as well as a superb third film (Batman Begins) and being able to pull it off one more time. The Prestige is his fourth triumph in a row.
The movie's tension, complexity and, yes, delight, keeps rising and rising and rising again as the movie goes along.
THE MUDDY WATERS
I counted that five characters in the movie might take us in the wrong direction. The two main characters of course (Borden and Angier), but Olivier (Scarlett Johansson) and Tesla (David Bowie) are also not to be trusted. And that's the delight of a film that keeps the audience guessing. Once again, Christopher Nolan has found the perfect angle to tell his story. The format is, again, brilliant because it fits the story perfectly. After Memento told in reverse in order to let the audience feel as lost as the main character, after Insomnia and the lead character not sleeping in a location where the sun never sets, Nolan does it again.
Because the beauty of the film is that we, as the audience, are watching the film the same way we would watch a magic show. The movie has a second variable, which is us.
The Prestige marks the final collaboration between Nolan and composer David Julyan. While the score works, I can clearly say that the music is not a character in this film. I barely noticed the music and while I won’t say that music must imperatively be predominant, it actually is in each Christopher Nolan movie... except for this one.
I give it 8 out of 10. Superb.
Perplexed by the storyline at the beginning, deeply attracted to the narratives of the intense rivalry between two actors in the main body of the show, and finally shocked by the revealed truth, or *The Prestige* in the end. This is one of the most mind-blowing mysteries that I've watched in recent years.
One of the best part, I think, is how the characters of two young magicians are depicted -- through small but noticeable details like the facial expressions, one or two words, the novels et cetera.
In fact, the title of the movie, even being explained by Cutter in the beginning, still puzzles me and I can't stopped thinking about the meaning of it. Not to mention other puzzles. But ultimately, I came to realize that the plot structure corresponds to a epic magic show as well.