COLUMN: ‘The Prestige,’ a film focused on detail

Rob Le Cates

Drew Coffey is a sophomore television/video production major. He can be reached at [email protected] or 217-581-2812.

Drew Coffey, Columnist

Christopher Nolan has cemented himself as a director with an extraordinary attention to detail and well thought out way of telling a story. His 2006 film “The Prestige” is one of the best examples of this.  

Starring Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Caine and Scarlett Johansson, the film tells the story of two rivaling magicians in 1890s London who both try to create the perfect illusion. To start, the acting in this film is very entertaining and utilizes great star power. 

Jackman and Bale are amazing as feuding rivals and clearly have a great time playing characters who are trying to outsmart each other for a majority of the film’s runtime. Specifically, Bale does an outstanding job as a magician who is absolutely obsessed with improving his acts no matter the cost.  

The audience can really feel the desperation and need for his character to accomplish the perfect illusion. When his character begins a family, his obsession with magic only hurts his wife and daughter, providing many emotional scenes. 

The cinematography is very grandiose, especially during the magician’s acts on stage. There are plenty of extremely wide shots showing the packed house of extras watching on.  

Editing is also a crucial part of the film as the illusion that both magicians are trying to pull off is The Transported Man. This is a trick where someone walks through a door and “seemingly” teleports to another part of the stage or even within the crowd.   

The film cleverly pulls this trick off and gives the film a very cool and stylish look to it. Something to also mention is there are many scenes where the same actor is playing two different characters talking to each other. This happens when Jackman’s character needs a body double to truly pull off The Transported Man.  

He finds one, played by Jackman himself, and they have many scenes where they talk to each other in the same shot. While there are many times where they hide the cuts and stand-ins for the shots, it is still impressive to see.  

The biggest strength of “The Prestige” is how the story unfolds and how information is subtly shown to the audience. Nolan does an extraordinary job at subtly showing viewers scenes that do not seem too important, and then using those scenes to build on the film’s final reveal. 

The film’s final reveal is very effective in that it is completely logical with several scenes preceding it. Not to spoil, but the final minutes of the film tie the entire story with a neat bow that not only gives the audience a conclusive end to the film, but also rewards them by having every scene be absolutely necessary and crucial to the plot.  

Overall, “The Prestige” is a very well- acted, well- rounded, and well-conceptualized film that continues to exceed the viewer’s expectations until the final credits roll.  

My overall rating: 4/5 


Drew Coffey is a sophomore television/video production major. He can be reached at [email protected] or 217-581-2812.