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"THE PRESTIGE"
(2006) (Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy Moderate Extreme *Moderate Heavy
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate None Heavy None *Mild
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate None Heavy Moderate Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: Two Victorian era magicians try to ruin or upstage the other's acts due to a long-standing rivalry between them.
PLOT:
It's around the beginning of the 20th century and Rupert Angier (HUGH JACKMAN) and Alfred Borden (CHRISTIAN BALE) are two Victorian era stage magicians and illusionists. They once worked together honing their skills as planted spectators in others' magic acts where they helped show off the mechanical illusionary contraptions devised by Cutter (MICHAEL CAINE), but they're now bitter rivals.

That stems from Rupert's wife, Julia (PIPER PERABO), drowning in a magic act, a death he blames on Alfred for introducing a new knot that she couldn't untie while underwater. Now established magicians, they spy on the other, trying to figure out their secrets, sabotage their acts, and even steal them for their own. And while he has a beautiful assistant in the form of Olivia (SCARLETT JOHANSSON), Rupert is jealous that Alfred has the life he once had, namely in the form of wife Sarah (REBECCA HALL) with whom Alfred has a child.

His latest act -- where he seemingly transports himself across the stage -- has Rupert obsessed with figuring it out. Cutter says it's just as simple as a body double, a method Rupert even tries by hiring a perpetually drunken actor (HUGH JACKMAN) to serve that save purpose. Yet, he thinks there's something more, eventually leading to him sending Olivia over to the other side as a spy and stealing Alfred's journal.

That leads him to Colorado Springs to meet scientific inventor Nikola Tesla (DAVID BOWIE) and his assistant Alley (ANDY SERKIS). They're conducting experiments with electricity, and Rupert wants Tesla to build him the same sort of contraption he supposedly did for Alfred. By doing so, Rupert sets off a chain of events with repercussions even he couldn't foresee.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're into magic and/or are fans of someone in the cast, they might.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For violence and disturbing images.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • HUGH JACKMAN plays a Victorian era magician who's obsessed with figuring out his rival's magic acts and trying to ruin them and his life, all to get revenge for Alfred being responsible for the drowning of Rupert's wife. He also plays his body double, an alcoholic actor who's always drunk and then demands he get more for his participation in the stage act.
  • CHRISTIAN BALE plays his intensely focused rival, a good magician who lacks Rupert's showmanship, but similarly tries to undermine his rival's act and life. Married with a child, he acts hot and cold toward the missus, and seems to have an affair with Olivia, but both are explained by a later revelation.
  • MICHAEL CAINE plays a veteran ingeneur, a man who devises elaborate mechanical contraptions to help others in their various magic acts. He also serves as something of a mentor for both men, but particularly Rupert.
  • SCARLETT JOHANSSON plays a stage assistant who ends up falling in love first with Rupert and then Alfred when she's sent over to spy on his act.
  • REBECCA HALL plays Alfred's long-suffering wife who can sense the days when he doesn't seem to love her and instead is more focused on his magic.
  • DAVID BOWIE plays a reserved scientist working on experiments with electricity that have drawn not only the interests of Alfred and Rupert, but also men working for Thomas Edison.
  • ANDY SERKIS plays his faithful assistant.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this period drama that's been rated PG-13. Profanity consists of a possible 2 "s" words yelled out from a crowd, while a handful of other expletives and colorful phrases are uttered. Off-screen sex is implied, and a magician's assistant wears various low-cut costumes that show a lot of cleavage while a curtain mural shows a painting of a bare-breasted woman.

    Violence consists of several characters being shot to death, several drowning, two being hanged (one a suicide) and some purposeful and accidental injuries, including a maiming (with bloody results). Some of that and other material might be unsettling or suspenseful for some viewers, while various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes.

    Some of the behavior (most notably the magic acts) might be enticing for some kids to try to imitate, some tense family material is present (leading to a wife hanging herself), and various characters drink, with one minor character perpetually being intoxicated.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, there's some of that during Tesla's electricity experiment.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there's some bouncy camera movement in the film.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Alfred has a drink.
  • Miscellaneous people drink.
  • We see Rupert finish a beer and Cutter offers him another in a bar.
  • About an upcoming act, Rupert says to keep fingers crossed and Cutter chimes in, "And the champagne ready."
  • A man orders drinks for himself and Rupert.
  • We see some miscellaneous drinking.
  • Rupert's double drinks and stumbles about, and later holds a bottle.
  • Cutter, Rupert, and Olivia celebrate with champagne.
  • Rupert's body double is drunk, with Cutter saying more so than usual.
  • Rupert's body double has a beer bought for him by Alfred.
  • Rupert's body double holds a bottle backstage.
  • Alfred orders champagne for himself, his wife, Olivia and his assistant, and he appears a bit tipsy.
  • Sarah has a drink, stating that they all have their vices.
  • We see Cutter finish a beer.
  • Alfred has a beer in front of him.
  • We see a person drink before allowing the ends of his fingers to be chopped off.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Alfred's hand is bloody after he's shot there. Later, we see his bad and still bloody-looking fingers as Sarah tends to him.
  • We see that Alfred is missing the ends of several fingers (from the earlier shooting during a trick).
  • We see a dead body in a morgue (the sheet down to the chest, but beyond being dead, there's no blood or other change in skin color, etc.).
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Those opposed to magic (staged and then supernatural) should note the film is filled with such material.
  • Cutter uses the terms "Chinaman" to refer to a Chinese magician he thinks Rupert and Alfred should observe.
  • Alfred is responsible for Julia's death in a water cage trick due to a different knot that he used to tie her up.
  • Some hecklers throw stuff at Alfred during a magic show.
  • Rupert and Alfred attempt to sabotage, ruin and/or steal the other's magic acts.
  • A prison guard is mean to Alfred.
  • Rupert sends Olivia to work as Alfred's assistant so that she can steal his secrets.
  • A body double wants more money for being part of a show in which he thinks he's become the star.
  • Olivia steals Alfred's diary for Rupert, with the latter saying he'll stage a break-in to make her look innocent (we later see Alfred's ransacked place).
  • Alfred appears to be having an affair with Olivia (we see them in an embrace), but this is later explained (Spoiler Alert: His double is seeing her).
  • Tesla experiments with his electrical device on his assistant's cat. As the electrical bolts go everywhere, the cat hisses repeatedly, but seems fine when the experiment is done. However, as Rupert leaves, he hears the cat wailing away, and then finds it (wailing at another cat, so it's fine).
  • We see a man shooting an exact replica of himself (no blood), and it's implied he's had others of the same nature drowned.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" may also be unsettling or suspenseful to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material.
  • We briefly see Rupert struggling to get out of a vertical glass container filled with water, and then hear that he drowned, with Alfred being charged with his murder.
  • A magic trick -- where Alfred and Rupert tie up Julia before she's lifted above and then dropped into a vertical glass box that's locked once she's inside -- goes awry, with Julia panicking when she can't get out. Cutter then rushes up and repeatedly smashes the glass with a sledgehammer, eventually breaking it open (she and the water come pouring out), but it's too late as she's drowned.
  • Alfred tells Sarah of a magic trick involving a revolver where he says he'll catch the bullet. He wants her to fire it at him, but she fires it off to the side instead (he catches it and then explains the trick showing that the bullet wasn't really fired -- at least by the gunpowder charge).
  • Tesla experiments with his electrical device on his assistant's cat. As the electrical bolts go everywhere, the cat hisses repeatedly, but seems fine when the experiment is done. However, as Rupert leaves, he hears the cat wailing away, and then finds it (wailing at another cat, so it's fine).
  • Rupert uses Tesla's machine on himself, resulting in him being subjected to large bolts of electricity, but beyond briefly looking shocked, he's okay when it's done.
  • A woman hangs herself. We don't see the actual act, but first see a close-up of her hands afterwards and then a full body shot of her hanging above the floor.
  • We see Rupert drown in the water-filled box (the same scene as above) as Alfred stands there, helpless.
  • We see a man being led to the gallows, tied up, and then hanged.
  • We see a person drink before allowing the ends of his fingers to be chopped off. We see a small chisel (or something similar) placed on the finger and then the motion of that being hit down to cut off the digit, but we don't see the actual act (although we see the man's pained reaction).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Tesla's assistant holds a shotgun on Rupert from the other side of an electrified fence.
  • Alfred tells Sarah of a magic trick involving a revolver where he says he'll catch the bullet. He wants her to fire it at him, but she fires it off to the side instead (he catches it and then explains the trick showing that the bullet wasn't really fired -- at least by the gunpowder charge).
  • During his catch a bullet magic trick, Alfred calls for a volunteer to be the shooter, but realizes too late that it's Rupert in disguise. Just as Rupert fires the shot, another person partially blocks his arm, thus causing the real bullet to strike Alfred in his hand, bloodying it.
  • Rupert has Alfred's assistant follow him, causing the latter to fall through a trap door down into a box that he and Cutter slam shut. A gunshot then fires out from that box, hitting Cutter in the arm (no blood).
  • A man shoots another man, mortally wounding him (the latter dies a few moments later, but there's no blood).
  • We see a man shooting an exact replica of himself (no blood).
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Bloody," "You fool," "Smart ass," what sounded like "Punters" (customers), "Chinaman," "Blokes," "Bloody fool," "That's bloody marvelous," "Shut up" and "You dumb bastard."
  • Some of the magic tricks and illusions might be enticing for some kids to try to imitate (some of which could be dangerous, such as being locked inside water-filled containers).
  • Alfred tells Sarah of a magic trick involving a revolver where he says he'll catch the bullet. He wants her to fire it at him, but she fires it off to the side instead (he catches it and then explains the trick showing that the bullet wasn't really fired -- at least by the gunpowder charge).
  • A woman hangs herself.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A heavy amount of ominous and suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • A possible 2 "s" words (yelled out from a crowd), 1 ass, 2 damns and 1 use each of "Dear God, "For God's sakes," "God" and "Oh my God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We briefly see Rupert shirtless as he tries to figure out a magic trick.
  • Rupert and Julia passionately kiss and he lies down on top of her (clothed) but the scene ends there (they're married).
  • We see that Alfred is living with Sarah who announces that she's pregnant.
  • Olivia shows varying amounts of cleavage in both regular and show performance outfits (the latter are often very low-cut, push-up types where we also see the tops of her breasts - but no nipple -- seemingly bursting from the attire).
  • Rupert and Olivia kiss.
  • Commenting about Olivia and Alfred, Rupert says about something, "Just because you sleep with him."
  • Olivia wears a small outfit on stage (something like a one-piece bustier with fishnet stockings, etc.).
  • A mural on a stage curtain shows (among other figures) a period style (turn of the 20th century) nude woman lying down and reaching out with one arm (we see her bare breasts and the side of her bare butt).
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Rupert sees Julia (his wife) drown in a magic trick that goes wrong. We then see him and others at her funeral where we see her in an open casket. Later, he holds his head in a large sink (possibly trying to drown himself) and has visions of her drowning, but then pulls his head out.
  • Sarah tells Alfred that she knows sometimes he loves magic more than her.
  • Sarah is upset with Alfred about his behavior.
  • Alfred's daughter hears him and his wife loudly arguing. She asks if he loves her, and he says, "No, not today."
  • A man's wife commits suicide and there's a later brief scene where he discusses that with another woman who tells him it's inhuman to be as cold as he's reacting.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Magic and illusions.
  • Revenge.
  • Obsessive rivalries.
  • How much of a magic act is all about the presentation and showmanship.
  • Cutter tells Rupert he has to get his hands dirty if he's going to perform magic.
  • A man telling Rupert, "You're a magician, who's going to believe you?"
  • Rupert saying that Alfred's happiness (having a wife and child) should be his (referring to Julia dying in the past because of Alfred).
  • The comment that society only accepts one change at a time.
  • Rupert being upset that he didn't get applause for a magic act (being beneath the stage at the end when his body double up top is accepting it).
  • The comment that obsession is a young man's game.
  • Alfred stating that secrets are his life.
  • The comment that exact science is not an exact science.
  • The comment that sacrifice is the price of a good trick.
  • VIOLENCE
  • We briefly see Rupert struggling to get out of a vertical glass container filled with water, and then hear that he drowned, with Alfred being charged with his murder.
  • Rupert is shocked by an electrified fence surrounding Tesla's place.
  • A magician makes a bird "disappear" by smashing a cloth down on top of a birdcage, upsetting a boy who says the magician killed the bird. We later see that he's correct as Alfred (the assistant) pulls out the collapsed cage and deposits the dead bird into the trash.
  • A magic trick -- where Alfred and Rupert tie up Julia before she's lifted above and then dropped into a vertical glass box that's locked once she's inside -- goes awry, with Julia panicking when she can't get out. Cutter then rushes up and repeatedly smashes the glass with a sledgehammer, eventually breaking it open (she and the water come pouring out), but it's too late as she's drowned.
  • Some hecklers throw stuff at Alfred during a magic show.
  • During his catch a bullet magic trick, Alfred calls for a volunteer to be the shooter, but realizes too late that it's Rupert in disguise. Just as Rupert fires the shot, another person partially blocks his arm, thus causing the real bullet to strike Alfred in his hand, bloodying it.
  • Wearing a disguise, Alfred acts like a volunteer while sabotaging a trick that causes a collapsible bird cage to clamp down onto another volunteer's fingers, causing her pain (and killing the bird inside the cage).
  • After Alfred gets a shackle off him and around a guard's leg, other guards grab Alfred, including one with a nightstick across Alfred's chest.
  • Rupert drops through a trapdoor, but the padding has been removed and he lands hard, injuring his leg (leaving him with a permanent limp).
  • Olivia steals Alfred's diary for Rupert, with the latter saying he'll stage a break-in to make her look innocent (we later see Alfred's ransacked place).
  • Rupert has Alfred's assistant follow him, causing the latter to fall through a trap door down into a box that he and Cutter slam shut. A gunshot then fires out from that box, hitting Cutter in the arm (no blood). Rupert then accepts an information payout from Alfred about where his assistant is, with Rupert implying he's buried (and Alfred frantically starts digging with a shovel).
  • Rupert walks up and sees Tesla's building burned to the ground (done either by them or by some men working for Thomas Edison).
  • Rupert uses Tesla's machine on himself, resulting in him being subjected to large bolts of electricity, but beyond briefly looking shocked, he's okay when it's done.
  • A woman hangs herself. We don't see the actual act, but first see a close-up of her hands afterwards and then a full body shot of her hanging above the floor.
  • We see Rupert drown in the water-filled box (the same scene as above) as Alfred stands there, helpless.
  • We see a man being led to the gallows, tied up, and then hanged.
  • A man shoots another man, mortally wounding him (the latter dies a few moments later, but there's no blood).
  • We see a person drink before allowing the ends of his fingers to be chopped off. We see a small chisel (or something similar) placed on the finger and then the motion of that being hit down to cut off the digit, but we don't see the actual act (although we see the man's pained reaction).
  • We see a man shooting an exact replica of himself (no blood), and it's implied he's had others of the same nature drowned.



  • Reviewed October 9, 2006 / Posted October 20, 2006

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