The Prestige (2006)

Actors: Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Piper Perabo, Rebecca Hall
Director: Christopher Nolan
AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only)
Aspect Ratio:
Number of discs: 1
Run Time:
130 minutes

DVD Features:

  • Available Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • The Director's Notebook: The Cinematic Sleight of Hand of Christopher Nolan
  • The Art of The Prestige Gallery



You wouldn’t have guessed it from its marketing, but this movie about rival Victorian stage magicians (played by Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale) is actually a science fiction film. Not only is it based on a novel of the same name by British sci-fi writer Christopher Priest, but a science fiction device of a sort that will be well-known to genre fans play a central role in the plot.

Some critics have railed against the presence of said device, arguing that its presence undermines audience expectations and feels like a cheat. They do have a point: once you figure out what this particular device does roundabout the three-quarter running time, the rest of the film becomes sadly rather predictable. However, this doesn’t distract too much from the film’s pleasures and in a Hollywood in which cookie-cutter formulas are repeated ad infinitum The Prestige comes across as a slight breath of fresh air.

THE DISC: Not much in the line of extras unfortunately. No audio commentaries, just a short featurette merely touching on some of the film’s aspects. The featurette could have been much more in-depth: were any of the magic tricks portrayed in the movie based on real ones? Did they get actual stage magicians to lend a hand? Tesla (a character played by David Bowie) was a real-life figure, but the featurette supplies precious little background info on his character.

Principal stars all pitch in for interviews, but there’s no sign of Bowie or even director Christopher (Batman Begins) Nolan himself. (I could be wrong though: sometimes no captions are supplied to identify some of the talking heads and one is left to guess at their identity.)

WORTH IT? Thanks to an appealing cast, some great storytelling and good production values The Prestige is worth one’s while though. Still beware: the film’s plot and its intricate flashbacks within flashbacks structure demand the viewer’s full attention and be sure to hit the pause button for any toilet breaks. You might just miss the scene in which the precise nature of our mystery device is revealed . . .

RECOMMENDATION: A rental or even a purchase as the film’s complex plotting probably necessitates repeat viewings.



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