EP Review: The Prestige

A film by Christopher Nolan.

Reviewed by Mark Anderson.

Comments (60)

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  1. Lora says:

    What no one seems to mention about this film, which was for me its outstanding feature, was the sense of sick horror when everything suddenly clicks. Did others not have this experience when you find out what Jackman’s magician is really up to?

  2. Jugglernaut says:

    I agree with Lora. Borden’s scene with the chisel grossed me out predictably, but when I realized what Angier was really up to ‚Äî that was truly horrifying.

    Also, I thought it was very interesting that all the stage illusions are given away casually, easily, but the human illusions . . . never fully explained.

    Overall, I loved this movie and want to see it again.

    Incidentally, I dated a magician for a time, and this film is spot-on about what being in a relationship with a professional showman/deceiver can be like.

  3. deflective says:


    This is a different take on the end of the movie, few people want to hear it. Remember in the last lines there was something like: ‘The truth is right in font of you but you don’t want to see it’? It seems to be true. I’m putting it out here because, well, I lack romance? Maybe?

    Tesla was faking the entire thing beginning to end. He was just as much magician as wizard, the whole bit with duplication was faked too. Jackman’s character found this out and used the duplication trick as an opportunity to restart relations with his double (this time kept well secret) and revive the teleportation act with new misdirection. The nightly dumping of water was all part of it.

    When Cain’s character is condemning Jackman’s morality towards the end he is talking about the killing of his double to convict Bale’s character of murder. At the very end Jackman was trying to find some vengeance (his defining characteristic) against the remaining Bale brother by suggesting that the machine behind him worked. He was hoping that Bale would waste years trying to figure it out just as he had wasted years trying to figure out Bale’s act.

    It feels (cruel? cold?) putting the mundane explanation out there. And, really, that was the point of the movie. People want the mystery of an illusion, at some level they want to believe.

  4. Luke says:

    Ill pull a Neo here and say Whoa….
    After a quick Google search i found that Mark Anderson lives only 2.6 miles away from where i sit.

    But who else guessed that Jackman’s Character was Killing the ones going into the trap door?

  5. Mark Anderson says:

    Yeah, I’ll agree with you there Lora. Definitely a sense of horror mixed in with that sense of wonder that mention at the end of the movie.

    And, um, Luke? Hold on a sec while I remove my name from the Google directory…

  6. SFEley says:

    This review convinced me to go and see the movie with Anna tonight. (Alex’s day care does a Friday night babysitting service once a month, which lets us get out to see 12 movies a year.) >8->


    Loved it. I saw the end coming — I’d figured out Borden’s trick quite a while before it, though Anna beat me to it. She guessed it as soon as they mentioned that Fallon never talked. And the Lord Cawdleroy (or whatever his name was) bit was foreshadowed quite early, when Angier and his wife are talking about the fact that his family had money but he wouldn’t use their name. That didn’t really dampen our enjoyment of it, though.

    The impact this film had on me wasn’t so much the tricks. It was the exploration of evil. Borden begins evil. Or at least, half of him does. (I strongly suspect there was a “good twin” and an “evil twin” — though the good twin still had to have been more about Borden than about doing the right thing.) There was no good reason to tie that knot. There was no good reason to show up and destroy the bird trick. He didn’t go after Angier because he thought Angier was going to ruin him. He went after Angier because he could. He made Angier want to ruin him. The tragedy of Borden, if I’m right, is that the wrong one probably got hanged.

    Angier, on the other hand, has more of an arc. His shooting of Borden has clear motivations — he simply wants revenge. Not nice, but understandable. As the hatred grows, though, he becomes worse. “I don’t care about my wife, I care about the trick.” I believe he becomes jealous, not just of Borden’s success and secrets, but his amorality. He strives to emulate it, to turn it against him. And he succeeds. He throws the one good thing in his life over to Borden as a sacrifice. He has Fallon buried alive, deceives Borden into a death sentence… And thinks nothing of destroying himself, over and over and over. The whole point of the SF/F element was to make that symbolic act literal. So he dies (if he dies — I kept waiting for a hint of another copy) because, having destroyed Borden, he’s done. There really is nothing else to live for, he threw the rest of it away. That Borden still lives anyway is sort of immaterial.

    Anyway, that’s my take. I was taken by the creepiness of the film, by the sense of impending doom the entire time. To me, the most shocking moment wasn’t the image of Angier killing his duplicates — I expected that. It was the collapse of the bird trick. The appearance of Borden, the screaming woman, the sound of knives. It was all so sudden, and came out of nowhere. It’s when I realized that the movie was really about two people developing their evil. In public.

    And at no point in the movie was the audience lied to. Everything said by everyone was completely true, to the best of that character’s knowledge. And yet none of it was as it seemed. That, I thought, was brilliant.

  7. Sullydog says:

    Has anybody had any trouble downloading hte last two reviews onto their iPods?

  8. Marianne says:

    Did anyone ask the following questions.

    1. Angier placed a gun next to the machine, stepped in and was duplicated –> The body in the machine (I assume to be the duplicate that would need to be drowned in future tricks) reacted by shooting the other (REAL Angier).

    2. In the ‘murder scene’ the duplicate comes through the trap door and takes quite awhile to drown. If Angier didn’t know what was going on why wasn’t he proceeding, unknowingly, to TA DA upstair on the balcony? How did he know to wait a full minute or more?

  9. ash says:

    love this movie so much couldnt watch the end cause i got evacuated out of the theatre so some body tell what happens after he appears at the back of the audience(angrier) thanks

  10. Chuck LeDuc says:

    This was a masterful review. It didn’t blow any surprises, but it piqued my interest and made me see a movie I might otherwise not have — a real favour. Thanks!

  11. Andrew says:

    “In the ‚Äòmurder scene‚Äô the duplicate comes through the trap door and takes quite awhile to drown. If Angier didn‚Äôt know what was going on why wasn‚Äôt he proceeding, unknowingly, to TA DA upstair on the balcony? How did he know to wait a full minute or more?”

    I’m not quite sure I understand what you mean here. The time it takes for the Angier in the machine to drown is rather irrelevant since that took place below stage, the stage hands were all blind, and it was rather noisy so they probably wouldn’t have heard it.

    Meanwhile, above, we don’t know where exactly Angier was transported to, so perhaps it simply took him a minute to get to the balcony, or perhaps he paused for dramatic effect. I’m reading the book now–it’s much different from the film–but in it Borden (by way of his journal) makes mention of the fact that magicians would meticulously study the theater they were performing in and use that to their advantage. I’m guessing that Angier rehearsed his trick at least once before performing it in front of the audience and found where he would appear and where he could appear to the audience and used that to add to the illusion.

  12. Mark Anderson says:


    Glad you liked it. This was my first attempt at any kind of review for public consumption, and my main motivations were finding a SF element somewhere I didn’t expect it and thinking, “Escape Pod listeners would love this”.

  13. tony says:

    But are you sure it was a twin brother? or was just a copy made by the machine??? Angier killed each timr himself, and the copy lived on until the nxt show !! gets interesting and coimplicated at the end

  14. odogg says:

    Angier picked Borden out of the audience when he would let random people inspect the machine. He knew that Borden would want to see how the trick was done and that he would go under the stage so he set him up to frame him for the clones murder. So he didn’t do his little TA DA thingy on the balcony because he was had to dissapear so Borden would be found with the dead clone.

    Also, Angier did die the first time he duplicated himself since “he” was the one transported and the clone stayed in the machine and shot the real Angier.

    So every time the show was done, the one left in the machine, who fell into the tank, was the clone and the transported one was the one who started the trick.

  15. AJ says:

    I have to agree with “Tony” here ladies and gentlemen. Why would Angier go to see Tesla and request a machine that he had built for a colleague? Rember what Borden said, “TESLA is the key but he IS the trick.” Borden made a copy of himself, it is NOT his twin brother. The book insinuates that it’s possibly a brother, but it doesn’t answer that question fully. The book and the movie differ in detail about the machine and it’s capabilities.
    Why would Borden be at Tesla’s demonstration and be the only one NOT nervous or scared of his machine had he not previously experienced his genious?
    Remember, the only person that even mentions the word “brother” is Angier. He was confused as to how to use the machine and not have to kill the copy who would also have wanted the glory. The ultimate trick was that you had to sacrifice half a life so that the jealousy would be satisfied. A twin brother would be too different. Only a copy would be able to simulate a persons quirks so precisly that a wife would suspect something but not know for sure. Borden developed the trick in his adulthood, not as a child. He had his copy already made and explained in the beginning that he was the only person who could do his trick. Why? Because he was the only person who had an EXACT copy. Others had twins. Why was he the only who could do it.
    The brother theory is not possible.

  16. odogg says:

    I didn’t read the book mainly because most people say that it only disappoints. I see how you’re theory about borden having a clone could be possible. I’d have to watch the movie again but I think I remember someone telling both angier and borden about Tesla. If you’re theory is correct, borden went to see him and had a clone made. He was poor in the movie before he started performing his transporting man trick so how did he pay tesla for the clone? Perhaps tesla used him to see if the machine worked. If tesla knew that the machine worked, why did he appear to be dissapointed when it didn’t work for angier’s top hat? Why were the top hats and the cat so transported so far from the machine? Since tesla knew it worked if he made borden a clone, wouldn’t he have known where the clone would be transported? Why did he have to build a machine anyway if supposedly he already had one when he made borden’s clone. If borden did have a clone, which one died, the clone or the real one? Some people believe the brother theory and there being a good and evil one and they believe that the wrong one probably died. I think I’m sticking to the twin brother theory.

  17. odogg says:

    Another thing I don’t understand whether it was a brother or a clone is, borden said that he already had a trick in mind that no one has ever done but when he starts performing on his own, he opens with simple tricks and his catching a bullet trick. Fallon is already in the picture because he pushes angier when angier volunteers to shoot the gun and shoots bordens fingers off. If fallon is already in the picture, why wouldn’t he just do his transporting man trick?

  18. Daybreak4114 says:

    This is my theory on how it all works. Borden already had a clone. He didn’t do the trick originally because he said that the world wasn’t ready to see it. I also think that the machine leaves the original inside, and the clone is who is transported. Angier anticipated this to happen and that is why he left the gun, and then killed the clone afterwards. Then, when Angier does his trick at the end, he is actually killing off himself, and the clone survives. I think this because of what he said after being shot by Borden/Fallon where he doesn’t know anymore if he is the one in the box or the one in the Prestige. I think that for this movie, that when one is cloned, the clone retains all previous memories and quirks so it doesn’t really matter who dies, it is technically still the same person.

  19. AJ says:

    Daybreak4114 is exactly correct. That is precisely what takes place when the machine does it’s job.

  20. AJ says:

    odog, I’ll answer your questions one at a time….
    “He was poor in the movie before he started performing his transporting man trick so how did he pay tesla for the clone?” Perhaps he was poor because he payed for the original machine to be made (which he must have destroyed like Tesla advised). The money doesn’t really matter. Both magicians cared about the trick more than the money.
    “If tesla knew that the machine worked, why did he appear to be dissapointed when it didn‚Äôt work for angier‚Äôs top hat?” He told Angier that these things just happen. It’s not the same thing twice. Ask anyone that uses computers and they will tell you the same thing.
    “Why were the top hats and the cat so transported so far from the machine? Since tesla knew it worked if he made borden a clone, wouldn‚Äôt he have known where the clone would be transported?” Because the assistant (guy who played Golem in Lord of the Rings) said he never checked the calibration because it appeared to not work (which it did).
    “Why did he have to build a machine anyway if supposedly he already had one when he made borden‚Äôs clone.” Both magicians payed for the MACHINE, not the use of it. That’s why Tesla emplored him to destroy it after he used it once. He knew of the consequences. Borden obviously destroyed his.
    The point of the movie, ladies and gentlemen, is NOT that Angier was killing his copies (not clones, they wouldn’t have the same memory), we figure this out as soon as we see the hats and cats. The Ultimate trick was that Borden LIVED his trick with his copy; a key to the trick which Angier never could figure out without sharing the Prestige (which he refused to do).

  21. AJ says:


    The machine makes a copy! It isn’t a transporter. That’s just the name of the trick the magicians gave it. The copy is the one that lives and that appears away from the machine. I thought this was elementary folks.

  22. wave says:

    Borden has a clone, not a brother. It is correct that he was poor at the time he must have acquired the clone, so how did he do it? Tesla’s assistant mentions that tesla had ‘previously built’ a machine. If Borden was poor, it wasn’t him, then who…? My guess, the successful magician, the Amazing Virgil, who Borden was assisting for. Borden made a clone with the machine, started living his double life and the rest of the story hangs together very nicely.

  23. Dave says:

    Here it is. Angier KNEW he would drown each night. That is why at the end when he Bourdon accused him of knowing nothing of sacrifice that he said he didn’t know when he would be the man in the box or the Prestige. The clone was his EXACT duplicate i.e these are all your hats! He was so obsessed with the trick he was willing to drown. He was wiling to do the trick 100 times until he could set up Bourdon for his murder. That’s how many engagements he had booked.

  24. Alex says:

    im sorry but if anyone thinks borden has a clone not only didnt they get the movie, they are not to bright.

    if its a clone
    a- the movie doesnt make sense
    b- the director said its a brother
    c- the book is based on a story which clearly describes the lives of the 2 BROTHERS

  25. cowardess says:

    It doesn’t matter whether the 2nd Borden is his twin or duplicate. The point is Borden was able to successfully maintain the illusion of a single person. Personally it doesn’t matter to me – either theory still works fine because one Borden loved Sarah, while the other loved Olivia. There’s no point trying to prove either theory is right – everyone believes what they want to believe.

    Angier knew he would drown each night. That was his ultimate sacrifice – he was prepared to die (up to 100 times) in order to get the chance to set Borden up. (he also wasn’t sure whether Tesla would ‘work’). The reason he was prepared to drown was because he himself was under the illusion that drowning was ‘like going home’ (what Cutter told him, or as it turned out, lied). I think that’s why he could do it without it weighing too heavily on his conscience.

    My question is about the cat. Where did the duplicate cat appear? Shouldn’t it have been 50 yards away? How come we hear it all the way outside?

  26. cowardess says:

    Actually, I just realised. Borden had a TWIN, not a clone. The reason I say this is simple:

    If Borden had a clone, then he obviously must have known how the Tesla machine worked, so he wouldn’t have been so perplexed when he first saw Angier’s trick – he wouldn’t have been so puzzled about the trick.

    This tells me the 2nd Borden was NOT a clone – it was his twin brother.

    Oh, and I now understand about the cat, or rather, duplicate cats outside.

  27. Zandra says:

    Borden had a twin, not a clone. If Borden had had a clone, then he wouldn’t have been confused by Angier’s trick, or the machine because he would have known how it would have worked. Besides, remember, in the very beginning of the movie, Borden knowns exactly what the Chinese magician is up to. He knows that the man is merely acting and not a real cripple, and he realizes it because he himself has lived that way too, in secret, in hiding.

  28. omar cuellar says:

    I would like to see someone say that it was a clone after what cowardess wrote. It was a twin.

  29. Jack says:

    It makes better thematic sense that Borden and his twin were simply brothers, not clones. Like Occam’s Razor, it’s the most simple explanation that makes the trick successful – but the obsessed, vengeful Angier didn’t buy it – he felt there had to be more to it. And so he goes halfway around the world to get a machine, and uses this mad, complicated, twisted method to duplicate himself, and literally kill himself, every night, 100 times. It shows how revenge (for his wife’s drowning) and obsession (for prevailing as the better magician) has no limits : You’re willing to go to such extremes to surpass your rival, but in reality, you’re metaphorically (or in Angier’s case, literally) killing yourself each time, while Borden dwells in the natural simplicity of his own trick – having a twin brother, without the need for all the scientific stuff.

  30. Simon says:

    Just watched it twice, here are my thoughts;


    The movie is about magic, it itself a magic trick, we know this as the narrator Cutter (who you could see as the magician of the movie, the one showing us the trick) tells us “There are three parts to every magic trick..etc.” From the beginning we know that this movie will essentially be one big magic trick…First comes the Pledge, where we are shown the various characters…the so-called normal things which we are asked to inspect…Borden, Fallon, Angiers/The Great Danton the women everything looks the way it should, a “real” world where the tricks behind illusions are blunt and upfront (you are shown how all the tricks are done, nothing you see is unbelievable), then comes the turn, where the major plotlines of magic converge, danton’s framing of borden/borden’s sending angiers on a “wild goose chase” for a secret that never was…(to use a magic analogy they are both temporarily disappeared). the prestige, the final revelation, is the duality of Borden (and his twin brother), and the horror of Danton’s predicament of killing off a clone. The trick, as they repeatedly try and tell you, is to get you to believe, even for just a second, that danton is making clones of himself . the magic being used, the method, is a movie. in the world of the movie, diagetically speaking, there were clones, but we know that that is impossible, unless we suspend disbelief. One of the major concerns is the narrative structure, Cutter’s intro and conclusion clearly state that he is showing you a magic trick, and it felt like some of the lines in the movie were little prods and pokes “plants” if you will, like when Borden says “The world isn’t ready for that trick” he can almost be taken as speaking outside the frame, refering to the fact that the cinematic viewing audience is not at the point in the film where they are ready to see that trick. Time and time again we are shown tricks with a pledge turn and prestige, the overall narrative of the story also takes that form.

    Cutter acts as a guide for both Borden and Angiers, in a sense molding them for us; Borden is a “natural magician” with an innate power to spot illusions (he sees the chinaman’s trick first, spots the bird trick and the trap door under the tesla machine as well.) when he show’s angiers the chinaman’s “act”(his faked crippledness) he literally spells out whet magic is to him: absolute sacrifice, living a lie (as a natural magician he already knew that as a method, he already had his twin brother kept secret, he just lacks Presentation (, his near invisible performance in the awarded 10 minutes on the stage with Cutter’s magican, and his poor stagemanship before the bullet accident) not until he teams up with Olivia does he gain the showmanship he needs. you would have to watch the movie a few times to figure out definitively which Borden was which at which times, but the “do you love me today line” is an indicator of the switch on a number of occasions. As a natural magican Borden, like the Chinaman, is willing to sacrafice everything for his “secret” as he says, “its not your secret, its the trick you use it for”..meaning that the best magican’s need to live a life of complete illusion, borden’s twin could be seen as evil, but not borden himself, his twin presumably didn’t tell him if he did tie the other knot, and that set in motion a revenge cycle, getting in the way of borden’s goal of being a great magician.

    Angiers is the great performer, a natural on the stage, he lacks the practical magician”s wherewithall to think up tricks, cutter guides him through everything, and he is eventually pulled in by borden’s trick, refusing to believe in the double. tesla’s machine is the turn, the beginning of the magic of the movie, where you are shown the impossible, the definitive scene is angiers shooting his clone, if this really happens then the machine works (an impossibility we are sucked into believeing), also at the end, the rows of tanks full of dead dantons forces you to believe in the clones for the story to work.

    if you believe in the clones, you’re the “fool” cutter is talking about, but if you belive that the movie has a definitive explaination, somehow abiding by natural law, and not just the fantasy world of the movies, you’re missing the point. how have to engage in willful suspension, while also being aware of doing so…a little doublethink for ya.

    as an extra thought:
    there may be need for an explaination of the clone’s state of memory, or algier’s ability to calibrate the machine. When he shoots his clone, the clone is in the location he appears for his prestige or at least not in the machine, perhaps his statment about not knowing whether he’d be in the box referenced his need to calibrate the machine to send himself to a better location , and his inability to know for sure what would happen after he had made the adjustments. this inability to know is because after going in the machine he replicates a perfect clone of him at that moment. When he shoots the clone, it seems to say “No, I’m…” or at least protest, without a look of evil on its face, as if it could be saying, i’m the real angiers, don’t shoot me. in that case, the other, cloned angiers would have to somehow posess all the mental states of angiers, a true clone, they are both angiers, complete with all his memories and emotions, and personality (of revenge and his love of performance, and his overall plans) he truly is killing himself in a way, a suitible symmetry to borden’s half-life. but that’s just what they want you to believe…

  31. odogg says:

    I still like Angier better. You can’t kill someone’s wife and turn out to be the good guy.

  32. Pete says:

    Borden had a clone.
    After Angier saw Borden’s trick for the first time he becomes obsessed with finding his methods. This obsession caused him to send Olivia to Borden to spy. It is through Olivia (via Borden) that Angier then gets his hands on Borden’s Diary. It is then through this diary (or rather its key word) that Angier then finds Tesla, who then shows Angier how to do Borden’s trick.
    Borden clearly now has a connection to a man who has the technology to clone people. It is too much of a coincidence that Borden’s clue lead Angier to the only man on the whole planet who could show Angier how to do the trick Angier had become obsessed with.
    Borden had a clone, not a brother.

  33. omnoir says:

    Angier kills 100 doubles, not clones or copies.

    The machine does not work. It never worked.

    Tesla [anagram for S-T-E-A-L] partnered with Borden in an elaborate ruse, the goal of which was to frustrate–and rob–Angier.

    The hats and cat thing–all staged, all planned.

    The burning of Tesla’s lab–executed by Tesla and his assistant themselves. Think back, we see two characters, in silhouette, burning the building. Immediately thereafter we see Tesla and his assistant riding away in a carriage–with the reflection of the fire they just set noticeable in the carriage window.

    Angier figures out that he’s been duped. He tests the machine. BUT WE NEVER SEE THE RESULT OF THAT TEST!! We see, much later, Angier shooting his “clone”.

    This was a rehearsal for his 100 performances. Angier hired a double, staged the trick, and then shot him; ie., he convinced himself that he had the will to “get his hands dirty”.

    Having been duped by Borden, he returns to the UK and starts to plan his macabre 100 performance revenge.

    From the very first frame of the movie we are told that there is no such thing as true magic. Suspending disbelief and swallowing the idea of a cloning machine is a mistake, and, in fact, misses the point of the entire movie.

    There are two birds, two cats, two Borden brothers, but only one Angiers–and a cast of 100 body doubles of the quality that only a Lord could afford to recruit and train.

  34. Katie says:

    I completely agree! At least about the parts of the machine not being real. I’ve been debating whether or not it is real with myself but that whole theme about wanting to believe the trick, not wanting to see it for how it really is, keeps resounding in my mind. I doubt that the makers of the film put all that effort into it, filling it with all sorts of hints and subtleties only to make it so plain obvious at the end. Anyways veery interesting theory about the Telsa/steal plot being all staged. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised. I was also considering hte possiblity that Angier was the one staging the whole thing to mess with Borden because most of the information was straight from Angier’s journal and he might not have been telling the truth!
    Do you really think there are that many doubles though? I mean I suppose that would be why they did it exactly 100 times, yet I also wonder that perhaps there were no doubles, and he was merely somehow performing the thing solo. Is it possible he faked drowning somehow and then later released himself from the coffin…ok really unlikely but member the convo with Borden about having a trick involving being buried every night and then dug out? naww haha

    I have a question for everyone. Do you think the other Borden brother actually died? I really don’t see how he wouldn’t have I mean they had to bury a body after hanging him and yet he tells the guard “watch closely” before he is hung suggesting he was about to escape…perhaps that was merely because his brother would live on and it would seem like he performed magic but really hadn’t. Yet I couldn’t help but think of the bird tricks, one where the bird was squashed, one where the bird, tied with the string, was saved. OK, as i’m writing it though, it does sound impossible. Still the whole thing makes you wonder…well the whole movie does, doesn’t it? I’ll have to watch it a second time and see what else i pick up!

  35. Katie says:

    So i watched the bonus features, Tesla was a real person and the author was discussing how it was perfect to make him the one to design such a device…

  36. Heather says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, though I guessed it’s secrets early on. The only thing that bothers me is that Borden told Angier that Tesla was the answer to his “trick”. Then later Angier learns that Tesla is simply the code to Borden’s diary. Is it just a coincidence that Tesla can make a machine that really is the answer to Borden’s “trick”?

  37. odogg says:

    I know what you mean. They want you to believe that it was all a coincidence and then they show you that Borden was at Tesla’s little light show. If they hadn’t shown us that part, then you could believe that it was just a coincidence but they do it on purpose so the viewer can be confused. Typical.

  38. Kyle Michael Beckley says:

    He was a clone. He had no name, just the alias of “Fallon”. He was created when Bale’s character stayed after at the Tesla exhibit, but Tesla didn’t know it worked since one of the Bales appeared far away, like the tophats. The clone was the one who was hanged, it seems. Bale had no twin brother at the start of the movie, he was just a stagehand without an act of his own. If he’d always had a twin, he would have exploited it sooner. He also didn’t mention any history of the clone until after he met his wife Sarah who hanged herself.

  39. odogg says:

    Are you serious? Even the director says that he has a twin in the extras of the dvd. He has a twin. There is no such thing as cloning…especially not in that time period. Are you serious?

  40. MixtyRep says:

    Wow, great movie, but I don’t know what to think. Every time I read one of your responses I go “oh yeah, that’s right” – haha, so I’ve been going ’round and ’round. Anyways, I need to watch the extra features before I really comment, but I just wanted to throw this out there…

    1) Is it more believable to think that Angier was actually cloning himself or that he somehow found 100 body doubles?!?! Both scenarios are pretty unbelievable, perhaps a 3rd option is the explanation…of course I have no idea what that 3rd theory would be – lol

    2) I absolutely agree that Telsa was in on it, but in what capacity, it’s hard to tell.

    3) Perhaps we [the audience] were not meant to figure this out…that’s all part of the illusion!

  41. MixtyRep says:

    Oh, and one more thing – the word “brothers” could be used metaphorically…I’m not saying they weren’t brothers, but if they were why would they just tell us that when everything else had to be figured out??? Besides, I’ve known a couple sets of identical twins, and even though they are always hard to tell apart at first, once you get to know them it’s very easy to see they’re very different people…a wife would be able to tell the difference, not just have to assume. They were exact duplicates, but two different beings – that’s different than being twins. I could very easily be completely wrong, but can you tell I’m leaning toward to cloning theory 😉

  42. MixtyRep says:

    And another thing (I know I need to stop writing), Borden lead Angier to Tesla…why would he do that unless that itself was to trick Angier – I’m thinking Tesla was in on it with Borden. Hmmmm, I don’t know, as I said perhaps we are not meant to figure this out, I’m having fun trying to though.

  43. odogg says:

    He lead angier to tesla to get throw him in a wild goose chase. Angier almost killed Borden’s real twin brother so he finally said enough is enough and wanted him to stop and be gone.

    Of course Tesla wasn’t going to say no to money. He took his money and accidentally discovered how to clone people. Borden didn’t know that he could actually do that.

    As far as Borden knew, the machine was a good addition to his magic act because of all the electricity that it produced. It would add to his performance.

    The reason he tells Angier that he had a twin brother was because he wanted Angier to know right before he killed him. It really isn’t that hard to comprehend.

  44. odogg says:

    I know that you clone believers, that is, that Borden had a clone and not a brother, you guys want to say that all of a sudden his “assistant”, or his brother, all of a sudden shows up in the movie.

    Therefore you all make the point that Borden went to see Tesla and then his “clone” shows up in the movie.

    The thing you have to remember is from the begining of the movie after they figure out how the old chinese man makes the fish bowl disappear, they tell the viewers that the old chinese man is very strong but makes a sacrifice by having to pretend to be an old weak man so he can sell the trick.

    Borden then says that its a small price to pay to have a great trick and he tells Angier that he has such a trick. The trick he is talking about is the reappearing man trick with his brother.

    He pretty much tells you that he and his brother pretend to be the same person in order to pull the trick off and therefore have to sacrifice both lives to live as one person.

  45. MixtyRep says:

    odogg, I agree, his clone/brother was there since the begining – that’s clear, all I’m saying is I am leaning toward believing that it was a clone as opposed to a brother. I just find it hard to believe that Borden lead Angier to the one person that could clone without knowing that it was actually possible. Maybe he wanted Angier to clone himself so that he would have to lead the tortured life that Borden had had to live – not assuming that he would just kill his clone (or himself) each night.

  46. odogg says:

    I don’t think so. What you’re implying is that Borden was suffering with his clone and his life and wanted to throw that burden on Angier.

    Remember that Angier was making Bordens life miserable and took it so far as to kidnapping and burying his brother alive. Borden simply said enough is enough, let me get this guy far away from here right away on a wild goose chase where he will spend all his money and get nothing in return.

    Does that make sense to you? How would you feel if someone buried your brother alive? Remember that Borden did buy one of Tesla’s machines and he used it in his later act. The machine did nothing but produce shiny electricity that added to his performance onstage.

    He didn’t know that Tesla would come up with a machine that cloned someone. Towards the end of the movie, he and his brother were going nuts trying to figure out how he teleported from the stage to the balcony.

    One Borden even asked his brother to let it go and not go to Angiers shows but he did anyway and that’s how he ended up in jail for the murder of Angier.

    Bottom line is, Borden had a brother, Angier cloned himself numerous times, Borden wins at the end when he kills Angier. Any questions?

  47. MixtyRep says:

    Actually, that makes sense – you may be onto something there. PS: I have no siblings so I have no idea how I would feel if someone buried my brother alive, I imagine I wouldn’t like it though lol

  48. odogg says:

    It does make sense because that is exactly what really happens in the movie.

  49. PV says:

    Tesla’s machine never worked. In fact, he never had a machine. He had a light show…

    Borden and Tesla used Angier’s (who was from a noble family) obsession to run on a wild-goose chase half-way around the world.

    Borden did have a twin. After the chinese-guy trick, he had a revelation of how to use his twin to perform his trick—i.e. to live a lie in the eyes of the public.

    While Angiers is in Colorado Springs wasting his time and money, Borden is using his performance and the money he and Tesla are conning from Angiers to get rich and famous.

    Now for the Prestige:

    Angiers realizes that Tesla’s machine never worked in the first place. He gets himself 100 acts using body-doubles. He does not care much for the fame or the money or the trick.He wants revenge.

    Does he get 100 doubles? No he only gets two…One he uses continuously every day in his 100-day act till the
    day he knows Borden has taken the bait to walk into the basement…Here he frames Borden by trapping his double in the tank.

    He uses the other double to convince himself (and us) that he can get his hands dirty and kill a man when the time is right.

    We, the audience, know the truth. That cloning is impossible and that Angiers did not kill 100 clones every night. But that’s what we want to believe because everything else will spoil the prestige.

  50. odogg says:

    Okay, I want to believe what you said about the machine never working to be the truth but I can’t.

    It does make sense that he uses only one double for his 100 day act but what about the end of the movie where we see all of the clones that he killed in the water tanks?

    Not only that, but what about all of the cats and top hats that are outside of Tesla’s house when they find out that the machine works?

    Surely he didn’t just place multiple hats and black cats in the same place just to trick Angier? Angier would have realized the machine didn’t work after he tried it the first time.

    And what about the first time he tried it? A clone was made and he either Angier shot the clone or the other way around. Perhaps you should watch the movie again.

  51. KAY says:


  52. odogg says:

    The sad part is that the child seems to be Borden’s because he is the one who shows more emotion and most people will tell you that Borden was hanged.

  53. Ermes says:

    I’ve got the proves that will demonstrate the tow Borden are copies.

    Sorry for the English, I’m from Italy and in the following text there are few complicated phrases.

    Presuppose: the Tesla machine creates an exact copy of the people with the same memories, emotion and intention.

    1. We don’t know anything about Borden’s past. We just know he’s working for Cutter as tricks finder.
    2. Since the beginning of the movie, Borden can get the Chinese fishball trick because he’s sharing already half of his life with his copy. Angier while speaking with Julia said he wont ever do something like that.
    3. Still in the beginning Borden assert he has a new and unique trick, he is the only person who could perform his trick. Infact many other people could have a twin brother, but only Borden has an exact copy. Moreover they (the two Borden) don’t are ready jet to perform the trick, they still have to practice life sharing. For this reason one of the two Borden involuntary kills Julia and the other can’t remember what knot has he made.
    4. Starting the relationship with Sarah the twins theory appears to be obviously impossible since the difference between two brothers should be too big to not be seen by a wife, because of the different personality and memories.
    5. Borden appeared to be not worry or scared by the Tesla machine at the demonstration like if he previously saw the machine in function.
    6. It can’t be just a coincidence that Borden sends Angier to the only man in the world able to duplicate things. Remember Borden says “keyword is the method” and writes Tesla on the piece of paper. At the end of the notebook Angier is reading all movie long, we find out Tesla is only the key because the real trick is the sacrifice, the life sharing to satisfy jealousy. Anyway the Tesla machine makes necessarily part of the trick because twins are not sufficient equals on the psychological field.
    7. How could Borden use the machine if Tesla started building it for Angier, and could he find the money to pay it? In the lunch scene at the Tesla house, Tesla explain he had been exiled by the scientific field and retired in Colorado, before that he worked in Europe there he could have met Borden that, without buying the entire machine, propose himself like human body for the experiment and made the copy without let Tesla know anything about the result. For this same reason, Tesla, leaving the table, says to Angier that he already begun the machine. He actually needs only money to keep going with his experiments (he don’t know the machine works).
    8. Borden is surprised and frustrated by the Angier Final trick because he cant think of such a cruelty and because the trick took much more time than two year to Borden to be structured and prepared by sharing life.
    9. In the end Angier is the only one who mention the word brother or twin he’s confused he was looking for a trick more complicated than the simple double person he didn’t get the real trick, the sacrifice, the glory sharing, the entire life and family sharing.
  54. Ermes says:

    For KAY

    They were the same person. There was no difference, not anymore since Borden shared his life with his copy. if you want to separate them the hanged one was the Olivia lover.

  55. odogg says:

    Not only that, the hanged one was Borden and not the twin.

  56. bc195 says:

    Fallon was hung.In his summing up the remaining Borden said “I loved Sarah and Fallon loved Olivia”.Therefore Fallon was hung.This means the little girls guardian at the end was her real father.Sarah also always sensed the difference between the two,she always knew when her real husband said he loved her he meant it, but not when Fallon was playing the part of husband.I dont go with the 100 lookalikes theory,I know we all supposedly have a double in this world but 100??The problem is we venture from a believable film into Sci-fi.And unbelievable Sci-fi at that.The Illusionist was maybe not as clever,but more believable as we just see illusions and tricks(like David Blane).no silly cloning.Also much more cinematically shot with beautiful short focus camera work.Better made by far.

  57. bw123 says:

    In addition to bc195’s comments, Fallon apologizes to Borden at the prison for essentially causing Sarah to kill herself. Since we are told that Borden loved Sarah, we can imply that it was, indeed, Borden who lived and returned to his daughter.

  58. odogg says:

    I’m not sure but was it said any time in the movie that Borden was the biological father? I don’t think so.

  59. JoeRu says:

    Everyone here seems to have forgotten that Tesla eventually admitted to Angier that he indeed NEVER MADE A MACHINE for Borden. But he had allowed Angier to think so b/c he (Tesla) found the idea so intriguing that he wanted to try to build a machine (ie to figure the problem for the first time, not merely recreate what he did for Borden) for Angier.

    Of course Borden’s double was his brother. Cowardess’s logic seems best here – Borden clearly has no idea how Angier’s version was done -he clearly is unfamiliar with Tesla’s machine.

    And I think the “clone” that got created by the machine is indeed an identical copy, down to thoughts, emotions, etc, to the point where it does not matter which got killed each night. Angier’s words in his dying speech were along the lines of “I never knew which one I would be after the trick was activated: the man in the tank or the man on the balcony.”

  60. odogg says:

    Very good logic. I never really thought about the fact that it wouldn’t matter who died since it was essentially the same person who was cloned.