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    The Prestige – explained

Ever since I posted my review of The Prestige way back when, people have been ending up on our site after searching for keywords such as “The Prestige movie explained”, “Prestige explanation”, “The Prestige movie”, “What happened in the end of the Prestige?” and “what happened at the end of the Prestige.” I’ll agree, the movie was a bit overwhelming the first time we (Christine and I) saw it in the theater, and we left asking each other a ton of questions, almost to the point where we turned around and went back in for a second showing. However, the second time we watched the movie, most of the confusing parts made perfect sense.

Since there seems to be so much confusion over what happened, I’ve watched the movie two more times (my fifth and sixth viewings), and made notes of various “clues” throughout the movie, and hopefully explain what happens in the end. So, if you’re curious or confused, read on:

We know that The Prestige is told out of order, which in itself can be partly to blame for the confusion. Christopher Nolan (the director) likes making jumbled up movies. If you’ve never seen Memento, you should check it out, especially if you liked The Prestige. So, since the movie itself is told out of order, I’ll straighten it out, which may help a bit.

The very beginning of the movie is “today”, so to speak, the murder trial part. This is what’s considered “now.” However, the majority of the movie is told through a flashback. Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) is in jail up until about an hour and fifty minutes into the movie. Borden’s in jail for murdering Angier (Hugh Jackman), in a magic trick gone wrong. All of the flashbacks are shown as Borden reads through Angier’s diary entries, which were provided to him by the assistant of Lord Caldlow.

Within the flashback (Borden reading Angier’s journal), Angier reads Borden’s journal. I think this is the part that confuses everyone. So let’s untwist the entire movie. I’ll explain in details how we come to the conclusion(s), after the explanation.

This is a summation of the events of the movie, in the order in which they happen on-screen, not necessarily the order in which they actually happened for the characters.

  • NOW – Voice-over explanation of how magic tricks work. (Michael Caine’s voice-over)
    Borden watches Angier drown.
    Borden’s on trial for murdering Angier.
    Borden goes to jail.
    Borden is approached by Caldlow’s assistant (Owens), looking to buy his tricks, specifically the “Transported Man” secret.
    As a show of good faith, Owens gives Borden Angier’s journal.
    Borden reads Angier’s journal while imprisioned for murdering him, awaiting his death.
  • FLASHBACK (Colorado) – Angier’s reading Borden’s diary, while in Colorado. Angier is in Colorado trying to figure out how Borden did his trick “The Transported Man.”
    Angier tries to see Nikola Tesla, to create him a machine to do the “Transported Man” trick.
  • FLASHBACK (England) – We go back to the first time Angier and Borden worked together as “plants” (people stuck in the crowd, but are really part of the show). The woman they tie up, who does the trick, is Angier’s wife Julia. Borden sets up his “masterpiece” by saying, “No one can do my trick.”
    Cutter sends Angier and Borden to see the Asian magician, to see who can figure out how he does the “fishbowl” trick. Borden figures out the trick, that the Asian magician isn’t really old and fragile, that it’s part of his act, so that he can bring the fishbowl out on stage, between his legs.
  • FLASHBACK (England) – Borden is performing as an assistant to Cutter’s friend. He meets Sarah, and her nephew. When Borden shows the canary to the crying boy, the boy asks, “But where’s his brother?” (Possible foreshadowing to the end of the movie)
    Outside, Borden tells the little boy, “Never show anyone, they’ll beg you and they’ll flatter you for the secret.” (Another possible foreshadowing event to the end of the movie.)
    Sarah goes inside her apartment, and locks the door. Borden appears inside her apartment.
  • NOW – Cutter shows the judge Angier’s machine. Cutter asks if he can prevent Caldlow from getting the device. He explains it’s too dangerous, and that there is no trick, that the device is “real.”
    Cutter shows the judge the tank that Angier drowned in, and that the trick lock was replaced with a real lock.
  • FLASHBACK (England) – They perform the “woman escaping” trick again. Borden ties a different knot. Julia’s unable to escape, and drowns. (I know what you’re thinking, why didn’t anyone give her CPR? I wondered the same thing, and thought that maybe CPR wasn’t around in the late 1800s, but according to Wikipedia, it was.)
    At the funeral, Angier asks Borden which knot he tied, he says “I keep asking myself that.”, “I’m sorry, I just don’t know.” Borden leaves, Angier yells at him “You don’t know?!”
    Sarah meets Mr. Fallon, who speaks his some of his very few lines of the entire film. (I had not noticed this until just now, and am watching the movie so I can be sure these notes are accurate.) When he speaks, his mouth barely moves, and you don’t notice him speaking. He sounds so much like Borden, you assume it was he who spoke.
    Sarah tells Borden she’s pregnant, his first words are, “That’s great. We shoulda told Fallon.” Foreshadowing? I think so.
    He says he loves her, she replies with, “Not today, you don’t.”
  • FLASHBACK (England) – Borden is performing his tricks in some little dive theater, being booed. He performs the bullet-catch, and a disguised Angier slips a bullet into the gun, and shoots off two of Borden’s fingers.
  • FLASHBACK (Colorado) – Angier reads that Borden wrote “I told him the truth, that I have fought with myself over that night. One half of me swearing blind that I tied a simple slipknot, the other half convinced that I tied the langford double. I could never know for sure.”
  • FLASHBACK (England) – Borden’s fingers are bleeding, again. The baby is crying, so we know this is months and months later.
  • FLASHBACK (England) – Cutter invites Angier for a drink, tells him he wants to book Angier to perform. He settles on the name “The Great Danton”, and begins working on tricks. They hire Olivia (Scarlett Johansson) to be Angier’s assistant.
    The Great Danton performs his tricks, Borden shows up, and repays him for shooting off his fingers by sabotaging Angier’s trick. The theater owner throws them out after a spectator gets hurt on stage.
  • FLASHBACK (Colorado) – Tesla’s assistant meets with Angier, and tells him Telsa can see him. Angier tells the assistant that he wants the same machine that Tesla built for “another magician.” Tesla’s assistant shows Angier the work that Tesla’s working on.
  • NOW – Borden’s daughter visits him in jail. Fallon tells Borden that they’re taking his daughter away to the “workhouse.” Borden says it’s okay to sell the secret to Caldlow, so that his daughter can be safe.
  • FLASHBACK (Colorado) – Angier meets Tesla (played by a wonderful David Bowie), who agrees to build the machine that Angier wants.
  • FLASHBACK (England) – Angier is putting on a disguise, to see Borden perform. We see Borden perform the “Transported Man” for the first time, and it stuns Angier to the point of obsession.
    Cutter says “He uses a double;” “It’s too simple,” Angier says. Olivia agrees that he’s not using a double.
    Angier and Cutter start setting up their version, and find a double for Angier.
    Borden buys Sarah a house. She says “I asked you about this last week, you said…”; Borden replies, “You caught me in a wrong mood.”
    Angier performs his trick “The New Transported Man” with his double. They celebrate.
    Angier tells Olivia to go work for Borden, to get his secrets.
    Olivia goes to tell Borden she wants to work for him, and that she’s going to doublecross Angier, because he sent her away.
    We learn that Borden was the one who told the double that he could demand more, which is why he begins sabotaging the “New Transported Man” trick. He tells the double “I used a double.”
    Angier shows up at Olivia’s. She tells him about the disguises at Borden’s, and that Cutter was right, that he “uses a double.” She gives Angier Borden’s notebook.
    Angier follows Borden, Fallon follows Angier. Cutter and Angier trap Fallon in a coffin, and bury him alive. They threaten to let him die if Borden doesn’t give them the secret to the Transported Man trick.
  • FLASHBACK (Colorado) – Angier visits Tesla’s workshop for a demonstration. Tesla attempts to use Angier’s hat for the demonstration, but nothing happens – the machine doesn’t work. Angier is rushed out of the workshop.
  • FLASHBACK (England) – We find out Olivia doublecrossed the doublecross.
    We find out Borden loves Olivia. He says “To open myself to such a relationship, to the dangers of such an affair, I need assurances of fidelity, of love. I had to be sure. I know a way, it’s the only way to know her mind.”
    Angier finds out the journal that he’s been reading was written by Borden specifically to be read by Angier.
  • FLASHBACK (Colorado) – Tesla’s machine does work, and they clone a cat, which Angier finds outside, along with dozens of his top hats, which were the results of the previous tests that they thought weren’t working.
  • FLASHBACK (England) – Sarah’s drinking problem continues, getting worse.
    Borden asks Fallon to take the daughter to the zoo, he says that “Sarah, she knows.”
  • FLASHBACK (Colorado) – Telsa’s workshop has been burnt down, presumably by Thomas Edison’s men, who were his competitors.
    Tesla left the working machine for Angier, who brings it back to England and begins practicing with it.
  • FLASHBACK (England) – Angier works with the machine, and clones himself.
  • NOW – Borden reads in Angier’s journal, “Yes you, Borden. Sitting in your cell, reading my diary, awaiting your death, for my murder.” Angier’s journal was intended for the other to read, just as Borden’s was.
    Caldlow’s assistant explains that the journal wasn’t fake – it truly is written in Angier’s own hand. Borden hands over his tricks, without the prestiges. Says he wants to see his daughter one last time, before he hands over the prestiges.
  • FLASHBACK (England) – Borden and Sarah are fighting. Sarah says “I know what you really are, Alfred.” Fallon takes the daughter away, so she doesn’t hear the fighting. We assume they’re fighting over Olivia.
    Sarah hangs herself at Borden’s workshop.
  • FLASHBACK (England) – Angier meets with Cutter, and tells him he wants to do another show, 100 performances.
    Sarah said she wanted to meet Olivia before she hung herself; Olivia wonders what she would have said.
    Borden says “Part of me loved her, part of me didn’t,” in regards to Sarah.
    Olivia leaves Borden, because of how cold he is about Sarah’s death.
    Angier performs his “Real Transported Man,” Borden knows he falls through the stage to dissappear, but not how he transports across the theater.
    Borden yells at Fallon, and asks “Why can’t you outthink him?”
    Angier’s stagehands remove the tank, while Fallon watches.
    Borden says, “Let him have his trick, I don’t need his secret. So, don’t go back there, leave it alone, both of us. Just leave it alone. We’re done.” to Fallon.
    Bordon examines the machine, and goes downstairs and watches Angier drown. He tries to break the glass, to save him.
    Cutter identifies Angier’s body, who’s now dead.
  • FLASHBACK (England) – Cutter asks if he can buy the Transported Man machine. Caldlow’s assistant says that he can ask Caldlow for the machine.
  • NOW – Caldlow shows up to visit Borden, with Borden’s daughter Jess. Borden says, “I’ve missed you so much, Fallon has too.”
    Caldlow is really Angier, or rather Angier is really Caldlow.
    Borden is confused, because Angier is supposed to be dead, which is why he’s in jail.
    Borden offers to give Angier the secret to the “Transported Man.” Angier rips it up, and throws it away. Angier says “Whatever your secret was, you have to agree, mine was better.”
    Borden promises to bring Jess home soon.
  • NOW (Somewhere in America) – Cutter shows up at Caldlow’s house, and sees that it’s Angier.
    Cutter feels guilty for helping get Borden hung.
    Caldlow says he’ll ensure the machine will be destroyed.
  • NOW – Borden is talking with Fallon in jail, and says, “You’ll go alone now.”
    Borden says “You were right, I should have left him to his damn trick. I’m sorry. I’m sorry for a lot of things. I’m sorry for Sarah. I didn’t mean to hurt her. I didn’t. You go live your life in full now, go live for both of us.” (Another clue from earlier, when Borden told Fallon to “leave him and his trick alone.”)
    Fallon says, “Goodbye”, his second line in the movie at 1:54
  • NOW – They bring Borden to be hung.
    Cutter helps Angier lower the machine into the basement, where his other props are.
    Borden’s last word is, “Abracadabra.”
    Fallon enters Angier’s theater, as Cutter leaves.
    Ball bounces to Angier, Borden shoots him.
    Borden emerges from the shadows, minus two fingers, and removes Fallon’s hat.
    Angier figures it all out. “A brother, a twin” he says.
    “You were Fallon, the whole time.” Borden replies, “No, we were both Fallon, and we were both Borden.”
    Borden explains (with help from flashbacks) how they cut off two fingers of the twin after the bullet catch incident, and how it was “bleeding again.”
    He also explains the situation with Sarah and Olivia – “We each loved one of them. I loved Sarah. He loved Olivia. We each had half of a full life. Which was enough for us.”
    Angier explains his trick. The machine would clone him each time, and he would then kill himself, and live on as the clone. Or, in some instances, he would kill the clone. “It took courage to climb into that machine every night, not knowing, if I’d be the man in the box, or the prestige.”
    Angier’s dropped latern sets the theater on fire. The theater burns down.
  • NOW – Voice-over, Cutter explains the magic trick again.
    Borden shows up, and picks up Jess (the daughter) from Cutter.
    As Borden leaves the theater, we see the water tanks with the Angier clones in them, drowned. We assume that each night he performed the trick, he killed another of himself/a clone, and kept their bodies hidden.

The movie ends.


Explanation of the higher-level points:Angier’s story: Angier was really Lord Caldlow the entire time, from the beginning of the movie, to the end. He pretended to be Angier so he could perform magic, without anyone knowing who he really was.

His wife was killed in an accident, so he took out for revenge against the man he felt was responsible for it, Borden.

Angier’s trick was performed with Tesla’s machine, which cloned him. The clone would generally take over for Angier, and Angier would be killed each night, as part of the trick.

Borden’s story: Borden had a twin brother. Each of them took turns being Borden, and being Fallon (the assistant). We don’t know which one was really which one, and if their names were really Alfred and/or Fallon.

One of them loved Sarah, the other loved Olivia.

Their trick was performed using a double, exactly how Cutter said it was performed.

One of them was hung in jail, the other confronted Caldlow/Angier, and shot him, leaving him for dead. He then picked up his daughter Jess, and went on with his life.

—————–

Clues? There’s a ton of them throughout the movie. And if you want to see them all, watch the movie a second time. Every time I watch it, I find new things that I’d missed before. Here’s a list of all the clues I’ve found, and the times they occur. (The time stamp is according to the Region 1 encoded DVD, and is in minutes:seconds format)

00:45 – We see Angier’s multiple top-hats, indicating that Tesla’s machine works.
02:04 – Angier uses blind stage hands, so they won’t see the dead clones.
02:47 – Angier/clone falls into the water, and drowns.
05:22 – Fallon is seen with Jess (the daughter) in the courtroom.
14:13 – “No one can do my trick,” Borden says, indicating that he’s put his entire life into the trick.
16:41 – “This is the trick” Borden says about the Asian magician. He can pick it out so quickly, because he’s doing the same thing.
19:23 – “But where’s his brother?” Sarah’s nephew asks Borden, foreshadowing that Borden has a brother.
20:20 – “Never show anyone, they’ll beg you and they’ll flatter you for the secret,” he says to the nephew, outside the theater.
21:09 – Sarah locks the door, with Borden outside. The twin brother’s already inside.
27:14 – “I’m sorry, I don’t know” – when Angier asks Borden which knot he tied. He doesn’t know, because the brother tied the knot.
28:00 – When Sarah says she’s pregnant, Borden’s first response is, “That’s great, we should have told Fallon.” Borden reacts this way because Fallon was actually the father.
30:07 – When Borden says he loves Sarah, she responds, “Not today, you don’t.” Sarah knows that the Borden in front of her doesn’t really love her. The other one does.
33:03 – “I told him the truth, that I have fought with myself over that night. One half of me swearing blind that I tied a simple slipknot, the other half convinced that I tied the langford double. I could never know for sure.” – Borden himself isn’t sure which knot he tied. The two Bordens fight over it.
33:26 – Sarah says, “I don’t understand how it can be bleeding again,” in regards to Borden’s two severed fingers. They’re bleeding “again” because they had just been cut off of the other twin.
42:10 – Tesla’s assistant says “Two of ’em,” in a completely unrelated conversation. But still, it’s a hidden clue.
46:44 – “I love you,” Borden says to Sarah, who replies, “Today it’s true.” This is the Borden who does love her.
48:05 – Fallon always wears gloves, to hide the fact that he’s missing the same two fingers as Borden.
51:30 – Tesla asks Angier, “Have you considered the cost?” in regards to the cloning machine. Losing one’s life every night is not an easy task.
54:55 – Cutter says “He uses a double.” It’s his simple explanation of the Transported Man trick.
56:20 – When Borden buys the house for Sarah, she says, “But we talked about this last week.” Borden says, “You caught me in a wrong mood.” She had talked about it with the other Borden.
1:04:30 – Fallon leaves when Olivia enters, so she can’t see who he really is. She would be able to tell.
1:07:58 – Borden admits to Root (Angier’s double) that, “I used a double.”
1:10:49 – “Cutter was right, he uses a double.” Olivia says to Angier, explaining about the “extra wigs” not used in the show.
1:11:10 – Olivia says, “He lives his act, don’t you see?”
1:16:52 – “How does he do it?” Angier asks Cutter, who replies, “The same way he always has.” Cutter insists Borden uses a double.
1:19:07 – “I had a terrible ordeal today,” Borden says to Sarah, as to why he’s drinking. Of course he did, he was buried alive as Fallon.
1:19:30 – “Secrets are my life,” Borden says to Sarah, “Stop performing.” she yells at him.
1:21:50 – When Fallon is taking Olivia home, he stares at her through the glass of the carriage. This is the Borden who loves Olivia.
1:22:00 – “To open myself to such a relationship, to the dangers of such an affair, I need assurances of fidelity, of love. I had to be sure. I know a way, it’s the only way to know her mind.” – Borden isn’t talking about cheating on his wife, really. He’s talking about how one Borden can be in love with Olivia, without Olivia giving away the secrets.
1:25:30 – We see Angier’s top hat duplicated, along with the handful of black cats.
1:26:38 – “I promised, did I?” Borden says to his daughter Jess, in regards to going to the zoo. The other Borden had promised to take her.
1:27:22 – “It’s so much harder when you don’t” Sarah says, in regards to the days that he loves her.
1:27:44 – “Jess wants to go to the zoo, I thought maybe you could take her,” Borden says to Fallon.
1:27:56 – “She knows,” Borden tells Fallon about Sarah.
1:28:38 – “I saw Fallon hanging around today,” Olivia tells Borden. Fallon (that day) was the one who loved her.
1:32:44 – “Olivia means nothing to me,” Borden tells Sarah. This is true; the other Borden is the one who loves Olivia.
1:33:05 – Sarah says she’s going to tell everyone what “You really are.” Borden says, “Sarah, shut up! You can’t talk like this.”
1:33:20 – Fallon carries Jess off.
1:34:07 – “Do you love me?” Sarah asks Borden. “Not today, no” he replies. The other Borden is the one who loves her.
1:38:49 – “I never loved Sarah,” Borden says to Olivia “part of me loved her, but part of me loves you.” The two separate “parts” are two separate people.
1:43:40 – “Why can’t you outthink him?” Borden says to Fallon. Fallon has no gloves on in this scene, the only time in the movie he’s gloveless, however he left hand is hidden under the table.
1:44:53 – “Both of us, leave him alone,” Borden says to Fallon.
1:49:22 – “Fallon’s missed you too, we both have.” Borden says to Jess, while in jail.
1:54:03 – “You were right, I should have left him alone. I’m sorry. I’m sorry for a lot of things. I’m sorry about Sarah” – Borden says to Fallon from jail. At this point, Fallon was the Borden who loved Sarah. The “I should have left him alone” is a big clue, which goes back to 9 minutes earlier, when Borden tells Fallon to leave him alone. At this point, they’re switched. The Borden who said “leave him alone” is now Fallon.
1:54:11 – Borden tosses the red bouncing ball to Fallon, just like he did in the act.
1:57:30 – Fallon enters Angier’s theater.
1:58:08 – The red ball bounces to Angier.
1:58:30 – Fallon comes out of the shadows as Borden.
1:58:43 – Angier figures it out, saying, “A brother. A twin. You were Fallon the whole time.” Borden replies, “No, we were both Fallon, we were both Borden.”
1:59:54 – “We each loved one of them”, Borden explains how they loved Sarah, and Olivia
2:01:59 – Angier shoots the first clone in a flashback, and explains how he cloned himself for the trick to Borden.

This movie is fantastic, and I highly recommend you check it out, if you haven’t already. If there’s anything I missed, or something that doesn’t make sense, please leave a comment, and I’ll do what I can to address it for you. I hope this helps clarify some of the questions you’ve had about The Prestige, I know it was a lot of fun to write, and it’s always great to get to watch the movie over and over again.

682 Comments

  1. Carl jolly on said:

    Have you considered if they were twins or if Tesla had made a clone of bale earlier in tests

    (1)


  2. Dyanasthasia Rin on said:

    Hello!
    I know that’s it’s super late for me to discover the disscussion. However, knowing peope have the same question about “I saw you dead!” and the examination thing IF Testa’s machine is fake, I have a very intresting theory about that.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clairvius_Narcisse

    If this theory is possible, there’s a possibility that the “found dead in the tank” Angier is the REAL Angier. Playing “appareant death” (read the wikipedia above). Meanwhile the cloning (either Root or other person) show up in the stage.

    When Angier explaining to Fallon that he’s winning, the sacrifice he made, and told him to “Look around.”, I reckon that he want to show things that he always want to show, that he’s winning over Borden. Think that Borden will be quite shock if he found “Another angier in the Tank.”, think that at least he can enjoy Borden’s shock expression in his last moment. Since he’s the one who said the expression of the audience is the most precious thing. Alas, Fallon/Buden didn’t buy it.

    And of course, he’s dead. and the one who open his eyes in the tank is his duplicate. The one that he prepared to suprise Bardon. I think when Angier said he’s ready to dirt his hands, and that he’s putting his last show, it means that he’s prepared to die.

    (0)


  3. The Prestige…a few significant technicalities | Applied Literature on said:

    […] Link 2 […]



  4. mike2 on said:

    My take on the film:

    The common understanding of the movie, that Borden sent Angier to Tesla as a form of misdirection and then Tesla somehow coincidentally perfects said cloning device, is completely ridiculous.

    There are 2 options left to understand the film:

    1. That the machine does work and Borden knew about it, which makes it much more probable that his twin is in fact a clone.

    2. The machine was misdirection which Angier turns back on Borden by deceiving Borden to believe it actually works. ( hard to believe Borden would fall for his own trick. ) More likely Borden knew Angier simply had a double, the bodies in the water tanks were props etc…and he got his revenge.

    I find interpretation 1 to be more compelling. Also understand that these are not just clones but are exact replicas in memory and awareness , so even with Angier’s fear of the trick he had the capacity to carry it out because regardless “he” was still surviving.

    There is is also the possible alternate ending contained in the movie mentioned above:

    Angier knew Borden’s twin or the original Borden would be looking for revenge. (This ending works for both interpretations,but as stated once we agree the machine works for Angier we should assume it was used by Borden).

    According to the interpretation that the machine works, The ending could have been orchestrated by Angier and a created clone, as his final illusion. It’s purpose would be to deceive Borden into thinking he had killed him (with Cutter’s either in on the trick or not) in order to allow them both to move on. (Angier had got revenge on the “clone/otherself” (twin) of Borden who incorrectly tied the rope of his wife, and Borden had got revenge on Angier framing his “clone/otherself” (twin).

    (2)


    • Ganesh on said:

      Yes, I am also of the same opinion – the last frame which shows an Angier with an eye open inside the tank – indicating he is alive – is the final act of deception to trick Borden into “believing” he has really killed Angier, since he “is not looking” – I think this is the morally AND true to the theme, he correct end! It is amply clear that Angier used the coning machine for his trick, so what was the point in showing the last frame of Angier if it were not to show that he had finally tricked Borden…?

      (0)


  5. mike2 on said:

    The common understanding of the movie, that Borden sent Angier to Tesla as a form of misdirection and then Tesla somehow coincidentally perfects said cloning device, is completely ridiculous.

    There are 2 options left to understand the film:

    1. That the machine does work and Borden knew about it, which makes it much more probable that his twin is in fact a clone.

    2. The machine was misdirection planted in Borden’s diary, which Angier turns back on Borden by deceiving him through his own diary to believe it actually works. ( hard to believe Borden would fall for this. ) Likely Borden knew Angier simply had a double, the bodies in the water tanks were props etc…and he got his revenge.

    Either way, Angier knew Borden had either a twin or a clone which would be looking for revenge, so I am also open to the possibility that the ending could have been orchestrated by Angier and a surviving clone, as others mentioned.

    (0)


  6. default on said:

    Im not sure what this means, but When hugh Jackman was showing his new trick to the investor or whatever, that guy specifically said oh I haven’t seen real magic in a long time…also there was no trap door it only was shown after that investor was all like make sure people can doubt it…

    (0)


  7. Daisy on said:

    The whole movie is about sacrefice and whom is better?!?!?! It would be so cool if Angier had another double and if the story continued… :) I’m hungry for more I want a second part!!! LOVED IT

    (0)


  8. John on said:

    Any idea why Angier was so specific about 100 shows-” no more, no less”? It must have been important somewhere in the story. Borden brought it up specifically when he & Fallon were trying to determine Angier’s methods. Maybe some content/sub-plot was deleted from the final movie and the explanation was cut? I have never heard this addressed. Anyone have speculation on this point? Was this important or just dialog?

    (6)


    • Mike on said:

      It’s not called out in the movie or in the script. But I imagine it was just to entice Borden to want to show up.

      There would have likely been some dialog between Borden and Fallon to the effect of “Why 100 shows? Why?!”, “I don’t know twin brother who people on MovieSnobs think is a clone. But one of us should go to every single one of them!”

      The reality is that it’s not talked about, but my guess is so that it’d catch Borden’s attention. (And, were it real, it’d be a good marketing gimmick, too. “Come see the show, limited engagement!”)

      (4)


      • deb on said:

        It’s only 100 shows because Angier can only suffer the agony of drowning (and the tremendous expense and inconvenience of disposing of so many dead clones) so many times before things get totally out of hand.

        (-2)


  9. IK on said:

    Please note that: The ‘Angier’ in the water tank, when found by Borden, is desperately asking for help!! Additionally, Cutter (when showing the objects between 20-25mins) says “this trick lock has been switched with a real one”.

    (-2)


  10. eternal_fizzer on said:

    has anyone considered that Fallon is a clone of Borden from his relationship with Tesla? What if Tesla used the machine/an earlier machine on Borden and the clone met the original (without killing himself) and they decided to use the result for their masterpiece act?

    (0)


    • Jose R. Felix on said:

      Is not , because …if he was he would of know exactly what Angier was doing since he did it himself. They show Borden arguing with his twin “Fallon” wondering how Angier was doing the trick after seeing it for the first time. I do have a different theory to the ending though.

      (5)


      • Mike on said:

        Jose is right. Fallon and Bordon are twins, not clones.

        Tesla never built anything for Fallon, that was all a ruse. Borden sent Angier on a wild goose chase with his journal. It just so happened that Tesla delivered and made the machine for Angier.

        (0)


    • John on said:

      I don’t think this to be the case because when Angier arrives at Tesla’s lab and is angry because the machine isn’t working(or so they thought) . He is also mad at Alley(Tesla’s assistant) accusing him of “leading him to believe Tesla had built this same machine for a colleague in the past. The only connection Borden had/was shown to have with Mr. Tesla is when he (as well as Angier) also attended the science exhibit of A/C power in London.

      (1)


  11. Steve on said:

    I really doubt that there was another double except from the one who screwd Angier on the stage. I do believe that tesla’s maschine works cause its pretty obvious in the scene with the first clone.. The only thing I cant understand is why in that scene the original stays in the maschine and the clone appears elsewere.. Isnt it supposed to be the opposite? Is this a plot mistake, or else the real Angier would die in that scene which makes no scense at all!

    (0)


  12. Tom on said:

    Short version: Check the scene where Borden buys Sarah the house (55:55). He still has his fingers. Huge clue no one else picked up on. Magic exists in this, and Angier didn’t have a twin double the whole time, it’s silly to deny this.

    Long version:
    Check the scene where Borden buys Sarah the house (55:55), pausing as often as possible before he crouches (he says “look, look”). BORDEN STILL HAS HIS FINGERS ON HIS LEFT HAND, but he curls them in outside of Sarah’s vision. This could be unintended, but I think Nolan deviously left this obvious-if-seen clue in place on purpose. Nolan left this clue in to imply that one “Borden” hadn’t cut his fingers off to be identical yet. It’s a hard-to-detect but enormously substantial clue that this “Borden” did not take the bullet.

    Okay so the machine that Tesla built IS magic. Angier does NOT have a twin, or double. If he did why would he be using the drunk? Also, there is evidence of three Angier deaths. First, the one who drowns at the beginning of the movie. Second, the clone when Angier first tests the machine, which he immediately shoots. Either of these COULD be in the tank at the end but it isn’t feasible. The first is “buried” we can say, as he had a funeral and they would have disposed of his body in some fashion. It is unlikely that the one Angier shoots would end up in a water tank, but I’ll admit possibility. Finally, the one Borden shoots is the third Angier. Not to mention all the other clones that are assumed to be in the tanks around Angier. Also, Cutter sees all the tanks around him, and he knows Borden is going to kill Angier at the end, as he passes him by and is awaiting him with Borden’s daughter at the end (when he does his intro speech). Cutter scolds Angier, admitting that drowning isn’t like “going home”, but “agony”, to shame Angier for killing so many duplicates of himself. Seriously there is no hidden non-magical explanation. We assume Tesla can build such things because Tesla is basically a “wizard” in science (in real life he was pretty significant and his alternating current could do some miraculous things, of course not cloning).

    (2)


    • Joe on said:

      I teach this film in a high school film class, the Borden twins do not cut their fingers off to match again, until Olivia convinces Borden to not hide his disability, because it will make his magic much more impressive. They both always wear gloves to hide the fact that one is mutilated and the other is not.

      Also, kudos to Christian Bale for a nuanced acting job. On repeated viewings, you can tell which Borden twin is which. The one who loves Sarah, seems to me to be more soft-spoken, calmer, less emotional and speaks with a more neutral accent. The twin that loves Olivia, is more emotional, quicker to anger, more outspoken, and to me, seems to speak with a broader, lower class accent.

      (2)


  13. dev on said:

    Who tied the wrong knot to Angier’s wife one who loved Sarah or the one who loved Olivia ??

    (1)


  14. Tobias Shen on said:

    Here’s to clear up two common questions on these comments

    1. Is the machine real?
    2. If the machine was real, was Angier or the clone killed each time?

    The answer to these questions hinges on Angier’s explaination that he did not know if he was going to be the man in the box or the prestige.

    1. Is the machine real?

    Yes, absolutely, or the above statement would make no sense. The people who say it’s all an illusion don’t address this, nor the fact that he explicitly sees himself cloned and shoots himself.

    2. Was Angier or his clone killed?

    It doesn’t matter. There is no real way to define “clone”. Because the machine creates duplications, Angier wouldhave existed in 2 places at the same time. 2 bodies, identical in every way, but more importantly, 2 identical consciousnesses.

    So in other words, to the Angier who spawned it would have appeared he had transported. To the one who fell through the door, well, clearly it would appear that he was not the prestige. But zooming out, for that moment after the machine works, Angier becomes 2 identical entities within time and space. Identical for a mere moment.. for one is soon drowning and the other quite pleased.

    (1)


    • Mae on said:

      “1. Is the machine real?
      Yes, absolutely, or the above statement would make no sense. The people who say it’s all an illusion don’t address this, nor the fact that he explicitly sees himself cloned and shoots himself.”

      There is a very simple explanation for this.

      Most of the movie, we are shown scenes because either Borden or Angier is reading from the other’s diary.

      The scene where Angier allegedly, successfully cloned himself and shot his clone, was a scene that happened when Borden was reading Angier’s diary.

      Let me repeat: when BORDEN was reading ANGIER’S DIARY. The diary Angier planted and meant for Borden to read.

      The theory is that the machine Tesla made was just a machine that made loud noises and sparkly lightning. After all, it was Borden who led Angier to Tesla on a wild goose chase. Once Angier figured it out, Tesla was long gone of course. So Angier decided to troll Borden – he wanted to lead Borden to believe that Tesla REALLY did what Borden assumed was impossible and made a cloning machine. He’s the better magician now, he doesn’t need a double!

      Going back to the diary, which was planted by Angier for Borden to read… see where I’m coming from?

      I thought this theory was bull when I first heard it, but I’ve gone over both theories in my head and I realize Nolan left enough ambiguity in every scene, enough for the possibility of either theory.

      (0)


      • Luke on said:

        This is simply not possible because of the simple fact that in the end scence, which is the present and is not an imaginary depiction of someone’s diary, you can clearly see Angier’s clones lined up in tanks of water. The theory also makes no sense in terms of Angier’s dialogues with Cutter.

        (0)


  15. Hexson on said:

    Two theries have been proposed here – either the machine works and cloning happens and clone is constantly killed or machine is bs and we “aren’t watching closely or paying attention” amd Angiers-Lord has a double- but if machine didn’t work how could we explain all the blind clones ( the old men)that Angiers/lord cloned to help with act and move cloning machine around

    (0)


  16. chreatur on said:

    I think there may be a sub=plot that went unnoticed:
    In the scene where Angier first clones himself, The cloned Angier is the one that shoots the original Angier. You will notice the Angier that appears away from the machine screams “No..no! Wait I’m the…” and then gets shot. I believe he was about to say “I’m the real one”. But the clone has realized that the gun is near him and therefore shoots the original. So from this point on, the cloned Angier is who we are watching. In essence the cloned Angier has double-crossed the original Angier to save himself. Technically, the transporter machine does work, it does transport the original object but unfortunately creates a duplicate in the same place as the original (in the machine). So for Angier’s 100 transporter magic act, the cloned Angier has figured out that he gets transported while his duplicate is placed in the machine. He then sets up the trap to drown his duplicate in every act. What do you think?

    (3)


    • The Great Danton on said:

      cool!!!

      (0)


    • nick a on said:

      Well, the clone would believe he was the real Angier anyways. That’s the beauty of cloning. But either way, it doesn’t matter because when he does the act on stage, it’s the one that stays in the machine that is killed. And Angier said in the movie “It took courage to climb into that machine every night, not knowing, if I’d be the man in the box, or the prestige” so maybe it switched each time between which was the clone and which was the original. In which case, the original Angier has surely died by the end of the movie.

      (1)


    • Jaime on said:

      That makes sense since they show cloning the cat the new clone cats look more aggressive and the new 1st clone Angier kills the original and the rest of the clones by drowning the new clone wasn’t scared of getting his hands dirty he was planning every night for Alfred to come to the show and set him up.

      (0)


  17. Anne peters on said:

    The end of the prestige, is it Sarah’s real father who goes to her or her uncle

    (0)


  18. Ysabel on said:

    I was just curious when Borden and Sarah were fighting and Borden told her that he does not love her that day. Why didn’t Fallon and Borden exchange their identities that day so that Fallon (or the Borden who really loves Sarah) will end up talking to her that day and Sarah will know for sure that the Borden she’s talking with is the one who really loves her so she then would not be upset and hung herself.

    (1)


  19. The Great Danton on said:

    I have seen the movie thrice.The movie is explained in the following words of Cutter ‘Now you’re looking for the secret. But you won’t find it because of course, you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to work it out. You want to be fooled.’
    Actually magic don’t exist in the movie all were illusions performed by great tricksters. Borden and Fallon were twins and Angier was Lord Cadlow the entire time. Angier uses his double for his tricks and when he saw Borden on the stage he replaced the trick lock with the real lock and his double was killed and Borden was charged for murder of Angier. Actually machine didn’t work and Tesla used Angier’s money for funds. Borden explained in his diary that Tesla was only the key to his diary not to his trick. When we saw Angier kills his clone that was when Angier was explaining to Borden so that wasn’t real, In real nothing happens. At the end of the movie we can see only one clone,that wasn’t clone that was his double, Angier’s double. All those who are thinking that Fallon was a clown of Borden got it totaly wrong ‘you were not watching closely’ if Fallon was a clown then Borden knows everything i repeat everything, nothing left for the movie. Cheers

    (-2)


    • LAC on said:

      It is an interesting theory. However, I am wondering who all those bodies were in the other water containers below the stage. Did he just find a lot of willing doubles that looked like him? Also, I thought there was a scene where the double shot the original in Tesla’s machine.

      (0)


      • James Cameron on said:

        the bodies in the water tanks below stage are Angier’s clones that are killed every time he performs.

        (0)


      • The Great Danton on said:

        okay i just ignored that particular scene of water containers and movie was a treat to watch, a logical one hehe ;-) you can’t get cent percent of the movie… 1% is left of the movie if you can fill it?
        And yep the scene where double shots the original, Angier was telling to Borden and that could be a lie…Angeir did ninty nine shows with his double & trapped him in the hundred one

        (0)


      • Gustav on said:

        Actually you can only spot one body in the tanks. Its too blurred to see someone else in the tanks. So I’ll go with the theory that its Angiers double who drowns.

        (-1)


    • Adam Hawkins on said:

      You weren’t watching closely…

      (0)


    • Dan on said:

      I have to agree with this. You really only see ONE body in the water tank at the end (Angiers double). Also Cutter nor Borden ever really pay much attention to the water tanks.I would think seeing 99 dead Angiers would be quite puzzling and shocking to see considering they don’t know that this machine clones Angier. Cutter even says that this machine isn’t magic, its real. As far as he would know it simply transports Angier, there’s nothing to make him believe that it clones him.

      As far as Tesla goes, Angier was sent to Tesla to throw him off. Tesla could have easily placed those hats in a pile and find 2 black cats. Tesla say’s that he once had an obsession and it appears he still has that obsession. I don’t believe those were Edisons men coming to destroy his workshop. Why would they Tesla is “retired” and is living “off the grid”. Tesla burned down his own workshop (theres a scene we’re it shows him leaving his workshop as it burns). So Tesla does all this with the hopes that everyone finds out that he is this inventor of this “cloning machine”. And finally is able to outshine Edison.

      When Angier came back with something Bordens twin was desperate to find out what he had learned. And Angier played it off like he found the best illusion the world has ever seen after coming back from America. This in itself was the illusion.

      Really the only part that’s debatable is the scene we’re Angier is shown shooting his “clone”. But like The Great Danton said he was simply lying to Borden to make him believe that this machine actually did clone and transport him.

      Anyway that’s my view, I’m sure one comment will completely tear down all my theories lol but there ya go.

      (0)


    • Nathan on said:

      You’s are all missing the fact that one dead Angier/clone was identified by Cutter on the table. We then we see another one shot dead by Borden and then a third Angier dead in the water tank, this shows that it’s not a double as three Angiers are seen dead. So the cloning part is real.

      (1)


      • nolansrighthand on said:

        no Nathan… the body we see on the table is the same in the tank at the end (and that’s the only body we see in the tanks..). That is Angier’s double. The cloning is not real.. that’s the whole trick. Nolan’s use of flashback’s is used to trick our minds. Angier is Lord C. and he ALSO has a double. He kills that double once he saw Borden on stage (as mentioned by ‘The Great Danton’ in an earlier comment.

        That’s the best part of Nolan’s work. It keeps us talking and guessing for years after his work is complete.

        Just like how everyone think’s that Leo spinning the top at the end of Inception is HIS totem… when it’s not. His Totem was his wedding ring all along.

        Fantastic story telling.. fantastic film making.. Nolan just likes to put his timelines in a puzzle for us.

        (-1)


      • Critter on said:

        I do not think that this is the case, nolansrighthand. At the end of the film, when Angier has died from the bullet wound that Borden gave him, and we can see the body of his “double” in the tank as Borden leaves, you must note a couple of things:

        1- You can not see faces in any of the other water tanks, but you can see the silhouette of other bodies. I’ve watched just that final scene a few times now. There are definitely “things” in the other tanks. does this mean, 100% that they are other clones? No. But, it’s a good indication.

        2- When you do see this body in the water tank, it does have to be a 3rd Angier. Think of the timeline. “Angier” has already been killed in the water tank. Cutter has already identified the body. “Borden” or “freddie” if you will, has already been sentenced and hanged for the crime. Unless someone scooped up the body of Angier’s dead double, brought it back to the real Angier, where he stuffed it back into a water tank and decided to keep with the rest of his props, this theory doesn’t hold water. ::Ba-dum-ching:: Puns.

        (1)


      • Jose R. Felix on said:

        Critter has it right.

        (1)


    • Maxi on said:

      No, you are wrong, what about the hats and cats, that is key to the movie it’s how it starts, the machine does work, it clones his entire body but more important his consciousness.

      (1)


  20. sbn on said:

    i have a doubt, the brothers lived with sarah, does that mean they are sharing wives? is nt that cheating ?

    (-1)


  21. gilbert on said:

    I think that Borden has used the machine and that Fallon was his clone. There was a scene while Caldlow/Angier meets Borden behind bars and he had Borden’s daughter with him, Borden says to Angier, “So you decided to get your hands dirty”. This relates back to when Cutter told Angier on how he should kill the pigeon if he wanted to do magic.This scene behind bars explains that Borden had indeed used the machine once but decided not to kill his clone and not use it again, in opposition to Angier who had decided to kill his clones and get his hands dirty.

    (1)


    • shannon on said:

      Im not sure your correct. Borden told his wife that he could still do his main trick while she was treating his wounded hand this was actually fallon because she didnt understand why it hadnt healed and i believe before he went to tesla.

      (0)


  22. J.R. on said:

    Is is possible that Tesla did in fact build the machine prior to Angier asking for it?

    We see a flash back in which Angier sees borden sitting calmly at a demonstration of Tesla’s that was shut down for safety concerns. Angier walks away with the crowd but Borden stays. When Angier finally meets Tesla he says he had began building it before he asked for it.

    It’s possible that the “other magician” was truely Borden and Borden used it to make a clone and then hide the clone as we saw. He was not born a twin.

    We see in the movie and others pointed out here that no one knows he has a twin. While it’s true that his family could have tried to hide him, this would have been quite difficult for a poor family in those times. Early in the movie Angier asks Cutter “where is he from?” Cutter responds by saying “The same place as you.” To me this implies that surely someone would have known of the twin so the more plausible conculsion given the facts is that he had Tesla create a clone.

    (0)


  23. Melvin W. Elliott on said:

    Great synopsis, Mike! I learned a lot from it. One thing to consider, though…it makes more sense to me that Fallon was a actually a clone of Borden…and not his twin. We learned that Tesla did make a machine for another magician before Angier, and it’s quite obvious to me that it was for Borden, who only gave that clue (keyword) to Angier to save the life of “his own twin” (clone). It seems to me that Borden was willing to live with the clone and only perform the Transported Man with that one and only double. I bet he realized from the start that killing a clone each time was something he did not wish to go through. (But Angier did…and that’s one of the differences between them.)

    Although it seems a shame that either Borden (or his clone) had to die eventually, it was not their wish. It was compelled upon them by force. They only wished to live in peace, and keep their secret to themselves. Yet Angier was quite a different person — jealous, vindictive, and devious.

    Think about that for a bit. Although the movie never actually tells us this, it does make a lot of sense to me…and helps to understand much about the differences between the characters of the two magicians. I believe the “best man” won in the end.

    (-1)


    • Mike on said:

      Melvin, fine point. But Tesla didn’t build a machine for any other magician.

      His assistant, Alley, told Angier that he had, because Alley knew that he and Telsa were virtually broke. He had to lie to Angier to get their money, so they could keep going on their research.

      The fact that Tesla built the machine to do what Angier wanted was either pure luck, or the fact that Tesla was brilliant.

      You have to remember, too, that Angier asked Telsa to build him a machine that would transport him. He never said anything about building a machine that would duplicate him. The fact that Tesla presented him a machine that did so is almost moot when comparing Borden’s trick to Angier’s trick. If Borden never really had a machine, it’s infeasible to think that he had a clone.

      You also have to remember that “twins” in the late 1800s were treated as outcasts and freaks of nature. Which is why no one attending a show (who lived in the country where Borden grew up and had an accent from) was ever like “HE HAS A TWIN BROTHER, I GREW UP WITH THEM!” Twins were hidden away by their parents, it was common practice for that era.

      I’m not saying you’re wrong about Borden having a clone — but you’re wrong. ;-)

      (0)


      • Mark on said:

        Good point, But i dont think Melvin is wrong.

        First, it was Borden who introduced Tesla to Angier, and he also told him that the keyword(Tesla) was his method. Maybe Tesla didn’t build the machine for Borden, but could Borden be one of Tesla’s test subjects? Tesla could have cloned him at a earlier date and Borden treated the clone as his twin brother.

        At the Royal Albert Hall where Tesla exhibited his discovery, Borden was sitting near to the stage and he was the only guy who remained calm, because he had seen it before.

        Angier asked Tesla to build him something impossible, and Tesla did.
        Furthermore, Angier did transport, he transported to where he put the box. The machine is both a cloning machine and a transportation machine.

        I’m not saying that you are wrong, there are just many possibilities for us to mind fuck ourselves. ;-)

        (0)


      • Jaime on said:

        When Borden talked to his “brother ” clone he talked to him like he was talking to himself not to a brother meaning that he sees his clone as himself

        (0)


      • mike2 on said:

        @mike

        So Borden sending him to Tesla as a complete misdirection leads to Tesla actually perfecting a cloning device!

        Do you really think that coincidence (which your understanding depends on) makes sense? Which is why others have been forced to come up with the alternate theories

        (0)


    • Caspar on said:

      good one Melvin!

      (0)


  24. John on said:

    I would have to agree with Jason in some sense, but I could only imagine that a clone wouldn’t take it too lightly if the original Angier explained that the clone would be the one dying. Instead, for his first show out of the 100, Angier could slip away from drowning after cloning himself, opens the trick lock on the tank, puts in a fake body in there and live the rest of his life in the shadows. Maybe check out his own shows once in a while to make sure his clone is constantly recycling themselves. Then when everything blows over and ends with Angier getting shot by Borden, it would have been the last clone that gets shot and Angier continues to live on. That would be an amazing mindfnck way to end the movie after seeing Angier get shot by Borden, another Angier (the original) appears alive.

    (0)


    • Angela on said:

      Too complicated. There are no clones. There is no evidence of clones. Remember the film is about illusion not magic. The writer just wants to get people to think too hard about it but its very simple- angier as we know, had a double. The double or angier died in the tank… The other performances he fell through the trapdoor, that’s it. Very simple.

      (-2)


  25. Henry on said:

    You have a mistake!
    You have changed them in one scene.

    1:32:44 – “Olivia means nothing to me,” Borden tells Sarah. This is true; the other Borden is the one who loves Olivia.

    1:34:07 – “Do you love me?” Sarah asks Borden. “Not today, no” he replies. The other Borden is the one who loves her.

    (0)


  26. Jason on said:

    Why wouldn’t angier simply clone himself once, then clone his clones forever while he got to live on as the lord guy. It would ensure that he himself would never die no matter what. He was able to frame borden, get fallon to kill one of his clones, and then live happily ever after once he saved his cloning machine after watching fallon leave. He could have dumped all of his clones bodies all at once anywhere that he wanted and it would add to his mystery and legend. Imagine, after his highly publicized death and Bordens trial, 100 dead Angiers floating down the english channel. Tesla was probably in need of some cadavers and live test subjects, therefore they could be buds for ever. Also I highly doubt in Angiers state of mind, that he would only attempt at shutting down Borden. There must’ve been other magicians he could set up. And what about the whole world domination thing, why didn’t that happen. Anyways, I could go on forever in that universe. Great movie!!!

    (0)


  27. Gene on said:

    Really loved your breakdown of the movie….I Have only ONE real disagreement. When Alfred Borden is about to be hung, his last words are, “I’m Fallon”…..I don’t know where you get “Abacadabra” from. That does not tie in with the movie at all. I can only suspect that you put your TV on CC and assume that the CC is “100%” correct. Sorry CC is not 100% accurate. “I’m Fallon” makes sense with the whole story.

    (-2)


  28. John Doe on said:

    I think Borden/Fallon thought he had won and finished things at the end of the film when he killed Caldlow/Angier, but the this was angiers biggest deception, Angier obviously suspected there was two bordens and knew the only way he could ‘know for sure’ was to have him killed. Caldlow watched Borden kill a clone at the end so he finally knew for sure.

    (0)


    • Scott Mather on said:

      Yep.. Surprised no one has mentioned last-second appearance of Lord Caldlow until you did just now. Were they watching closely? ;)

      (0)


      • Scott Mather on said:

        Actually, everyone says this is just a body in a tank. I didn’t see the tank. Guess I’d better watch it again (and again!).

        (0)


      • Default User on said:

        Wow, never noticed that, but you may be right. As the camera pans left past the tank, a small air bubble appears to rise in the water at the last second.

        (0)


  29. ben on said:

    If one of the angiers died every time they did the trick, why didn’t the clone still come out to finish the trick on the night angiers was “murdered?”

    (0)


  30. cat murph on said:

    there was no machine that cloned him.. didn’t you notice the accent of angier at the end.. it was the same as his double earlier on in the film and the narrator at the end said ”and now your looking for the secret, but of course you wont really find it because your not really looking… you don’t really want to work it out, you WANT to be fooled. also the ”clone” that angier shoots says ”wait im not”…. just as he has the gun pointed at him. the clues are all there I haven’t quiet figured them all out though

    (0)


    • first on said:

      I love this approach, but too bad it does not explain the 100 performances. I bug myself ever since I watched the movie for a long long time now with the idea that the “wait, I’m not” clone was actually the double. But that would mean that he has another double lookalike, or even a twin brother helping him with 100 performances.

      All in all, a do love the idea that the cloning machine is just a fancy light-show, and that Tesla acted merely as an illusionist, just as Borden and Angier did throughout all of their career. The final narration would imply this idea.

      (0)


      • Chris Jarvina on said:

        No he cloned himself each time. It was a gamble to see which side he came out of. It is very well possible that the new clone won out many times over.

        (0)


      • IK on said:

        I believe that the machine worked eventually. Tesla in his note says “Destroy it, it will bring you only mizery”

        (0)


  31. Matt on said:

    They way I see it:
    The machine is indeed cloning Angier.
    When Borden is inspecting the machine, obviously Angier see’s him doing it before he hops into the Tesla machine.
    The machine does Clone, but brings the Clone to another close location (you see this with the hats and cat).
    After Angier see’s Borden going backstage, he hops into the machine and clones himself. The clone is an exact copy with Angier’s memories and therefore knows Borden is going backstage. Therefore, he does not show him self up stairs. You hear Angier making sure Borden will know of his latest show, so it is his plan all along to frame him. He drops himself into water because he believes this is a nice way to die.

    (0)


    • Scott Mather on said:

      You’re right of course. He recognizes Borden through his disguise – has been looking carefully for him every night of the 100 performances. Has probably spotted him multiple times through his disguises. He sees him go back stage, and so does not present himself in the balcony at the end – to frame Borden.

      (0)


  32. Swiss Caesar on said:

    Mike, great job at initially summarizing the key events of the movie and clues. Still, if possible, it would be extremely helpful if you would (if possible and feasible for you personally) edit your original post to include any additional clues discovered by anyone who posts what you think is a worthwhile clue. Of course, some will differ with your assessment of what additional clues deserve to be included in your post, but with nearly 600 replies to date, few people will bother to read all of them but would appreciate the added thoroughness of your original post.

    One critical clue that I think deserves to be included in your original post–as it would help lay to rest some of the nonsensical inferences others have made–takes place after Borden has witnessed Angier’s blind stage hands loading a draped water tank unto a wagon that will haul it away. Borden is then seen talking to Fallon about this and puzzles at its happening after every show.

    [As an aside, while the subtitles indicate that Borden is making a statement about this happening after every show, to me it sounds like a question, as though he were seeking to confirm that this is what the brother now dressed as Fallon has told him. This would then be another clue that there are in fact twins who each take on the persona of both Borden and Fallon, as the Borden who witnessed the water tank being hauled away is dressed as Fallon when he relates this to his brother. Yet, whether this is the case or not has no bearing on the main point I am making here.]

    In fact, Angier has his blind stage hands put draping over the water tank and then haul it away each night after every performance; Angier or one of his clones is in the water tank. Actually, each night a different water tank is used, which accounts for the large number at the end of the movie when Angier is killed. In the special features on the DVD it is revealed that each of those water tank–not just the one that Borden turns to at the end as he’s walking away–contains the body of one of Angier’s clones.

    [As another aside, Angier says that before each performance he wasn’t sure whether he would be the man in the box or in the prestige. But presuming that the real Angier was the man in the box (water tank) on one occasion, the clone produced that night would be the one to perform the trick on the subsequent performance, apparently with the real Angier’s consciousness of everything that he thought and experienced prior to the cloning. Then the question would be whether the surviving clone would be in the prestige the next time or another generation of clone would be the one in the prestige. The real (original) Angier could only die once, so all but one of the water tanks shown at the end would contain a clone. If it were the real Angier who is shot by Borden at the end, he would have had to be transported by Tesla’s machine each night and it being a clone who ended up in the box. Still, my main point remains:]

    Each night, a new clone was produced during Angier’s performance. As Angier couldn’t afford to have multiple reproductions of himself walking around, whoever fell through the trap door had to be killed. That body had to be kept hidden and known to no one. Thus the need for having the blind men to haul the water tanks away. For the 100 nights he would perform the trick, the water tanks would suffice as coffins and keep the stench of decaying flesh from wafting outside the warehouse and raising suspicions. So Angier left the corpses in the water tanks and used a new tank each night.

    There is still the question of how Angier would know when not to appear in the prestige in order to frame Borden. This is when we must suspend our disbelief and enjoy the story, for no rationale is made apparent in the film. It seems reasonable enough that when Angier selected who would be allowed on stage to examine the apparatus, he would have been able to recognize Borden in disguise (or was clued in by a spy who was commissioned by Angier to notify him when his competitor attended his show) and meant to give Borden the chance to do what Angier knew he would–sneak below stage to witness how the trick was performed. Either Angier’s clone or a transported Angier would have consciousness of Borden’s presence and know not to appear.

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  33. WastedWord on said:

    Borden doesn’t have a brother he has a clone. When Angier says you were brothers, Borden says no, we were the same. Borden developed the cloning machine, the plans are in his jounal. That’s why Tesla had trouble developing the machine.

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  34. Jason on said:

    Also, while watching. Is it possible that Fallen selects Angier on purpose, knowing he would drop a ball in the gun. Knowing that Angier would try to take revenge for the death of his wife? In an attempt to add realizm to the Bordon/Fallen act? I think there is mention of the fingers and that it cant possibly be a double do to the fingers not being there.

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  35. Jason on said:

    Does Fallen say “Dont ask” at the ~ 27:32 mark?

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  36. kim on said:

    caine knew about the twins.
    caine want to punish the bad borden for the wrong bend.
    caine was present to the trial to accuse the bad borden.
    caine changed the lock.
    to make borden feel what does it feel to see a person drowning.
    and to accuse him.
    (“somebody changed the lock.”)

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  37. wake up on said:

    he find ten doubles.. wake up… ! thinking that tesla clone people is like falling direclty in the trick ! like thinking that the bird disappear.

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  38. Angier on said:

    also when he asked Tesla “which is my hat?” Tesla said “they are all yours”, of course, cause he buy all them with Angier money.

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  39. Angier on said:

    Come on guys, the machine OBVIOUSLY doesn’t make any clone… !
    Borden was lying to Angier ( remember: never tell the secret) saying that Tesla “is” the trick. Angier make so big trip for nothing (the movie actually shows it) , but he was so angry that decided like this ” oh yea? u send me here, make me spend so much money, and u think i come back with empty hands?? So i’ll show you that Tesla actually does the trick. ” The Tesla machine is actually a high voltage generator, and the special is that u can walk through it without being killed, but Tesla knows it but most of ‘800 people just see some flash and nothing else. So Tesla actually explain Angier how to fool people, probably buying lot of hats , to say that “u see what you want to see”. Because Tesla was a fucking genius. So Angier come back ,and fool Borden that he can really appear elsewhere, but in fact Root does, as we never see he anymore it doesn’t means he was died or else. Then , Angier, to have a revenge on Borden , (for the 1st wife) , put a pool under the show, and every night he falls down and come out. That night (is not clear how he knows that Borden would be there, ok) i think he “sacrifice” Root, to show Borden what does it feels to see someone die, and also to send him to jail, again for the dead of his wife. At the end, the bad Borden (the wrong band one) is set to die, the good one , goes to kill Angier, but once again , even after he killed him , he is fooled, by the Root body in the water, make actually he thinking that Angier was a better magician than him , that was all Angier wants in his life. Probably also, Cutter send Borden to him, cause he feel poor for the daughter, but at very last, i feel also sad that Angier dies, (if he die) cause the bad Borden (or both) was the real villain in this movie.
    Someone can also assume that Root become the magician since after Borden talks to him, so Root falls down and broken a leg, cause he said “he wants more” , so we never know if he wants the “audience” (cause he was a sad jobless actor, that miss his past) , and Angier let he have it, and therefore maybe probably Aniger never dies but he and Cutter make Borden to believe it, to end the antagonism.

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  40. Mike Sparlin on said:

    I think Borden cloned himself using Tesla’s machine and that enabled him to live a double life and perform his magic.

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    • IK on said:

      He didn’t live a double life – actually 2 people shared one!
      It is clear; Borden and Fallon ARE brothers! The machine was created afterwards. In Borden’s diary he talks to Angier telling him, Tesla was not the trick, but the key to his trick.
      He started the transported man before meeting Tesla.. The only thing he used Tesla for is to better present himself as Olivia said he was lacking in that

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  41. The Hills of Silence on said:

    What people try to do is confuse us on the state of the original Angier but, if he’s the one to teleport, then he died the moment he first tested it.

    However, there is the bit he says on not knowing whether or not he’d be in the box or not. That would still be random? enough to ensure the original is dead by then.

    If that statement is only his worries, it’s still what you see if then not random: if the original doesn’t stay put and drop, the original got shot already.

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  42. Padwa on said:

    The few questions I have after watching it for the first time are:
    1. Are the two Borden’s actually twins or did Tesla make ‘the original’ a machine to clone him in the past?
    2. ^^Some may doubt this, but why did Borden give Angier the idea to go to Tesla in the first place?

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    • Hij! on said:

      I think, Borden used Tesla’s machine to duplicate himself and thus made Fallon! That is exactly the reason why he sends Angier to Tesla! He says Tesla is the key to his diary, as in his diary he talks about “parts”, which he created using Tesla’s machine!
      Plus, he never used a beautifull assistant like others, to keep his big “secret” from being exposed.

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  43. wendy on said:

    How much does Cutter know, exactly?

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  44. Sean on said:

    The ending narration appears to challenge the viewer to discover a hidden secret about the film. This would necessarily be something not made explicit, yet would be crucial to understanding the plot. The biggest apparent plot hole is how Angier knew that Borden was at that final show and could be framed.

    I see two possible answers. One, Angier didn’t know. It’s not really a plot hole. All along Angier planned to stage his death so that he could go back to being the Lord full-time. Borden’s presence was an unfortunate coincidence.

    Or: Angier did know that Borden was there. He had been told by Fallon, who wanted his twin brother dead on account of Sarah.

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    • Hij! on said:

      I think, he conspired against Borden, as he told Cutter to find such a place which Borden would know about, for his performance!

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    • Doesnt Matter on said:

      I know you posted a while ago, but I just thought I would explain the “plot hole.” Angier wasn’t staging his death, and he never planned on framing Borden. Every time he performed his trick, a clone would be created and either him or his clone would be left on the platform, but the platform had a trapdoor that dropped whoever was on it into that water cage. This is why Angier uses blind stagehands. They couldn’t see any of the dead clones.
      Borden getting framed was just luck, as Angier never intended it to happen. And also, Fallon killing Angier wasn’t part of any “grand trick,” but it was just him getting revenge for the death of his twin brother.

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  45. I GOT IT on said:

    I finally get what happened at the end now! The Borden twin who was hanged was the twin who killed Angier’s wife, thus being the rival enemy of Angier. Angier had THAT twin hanged(not knowing he was a twin of course) so the other Borden twin killed Angier for his brother. Evil Borden Twin kills Angier’s wife, Angier sets him up to get hanged, the Good Borden Twin kills Angier for having his brother killed. Now the 2 rival magicians are dead while the good twin gets to live with his daughter. The machine never duplicated. It was a ruse to fool Borden even to the very end. Borden looks around at the end and sees Angier in the tank! Marvellous!! i’ve read other comments that the blind stage hands were their so they won’t know what Angier was doing when he drowned his “duplicates”. I mean, they may be blind, but they weren’t dumb

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  46. The Man in The Box on said:

    Remember, this film is not the novel. People who have read it should be able to confirm this. The novel has it where none of the females die, nor does Fallon get hanged, nor does Angier and Borden know one another, and the machine is a duplicator. The film has it where this is opposite. The machine is NOT a duplicator. It is only there to create the illusion that Angier was able to perform his Transported Man trick differently than Borden by using “real” magic, when in fact he does not. They perform the same trick, just dressed up differently. The cost considered that Tesla was speaking to Angier about was just that. Being obsessed. Obsession can only bring forth destruction, which it proved in the end. Borden lost his life-long twin, and Angier lost EVERYTHING-His wife, his doubles, his mind, and lastly his life.
    Great film. “Know one cares about the man in the box”…which is true for Angier because its him. He’s the “man in the box.” The man who refused to be the one who sets up the trick. He was obsessed with being “The Prestige”(The one who gets the glory of the audience)
    This is movie making at its finest. Hats off to the Nolan brothers and the cast who did an incredible job in their performances. Great acting +great and intriguing music+ great writing=GREAT FILM!

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  47. shannon bright on said:

    well one thing I noticed in the movie were the birds in the cages. And when they show the bird that was killed being dumped from the cage into the trash can was a picture of what Danton was doing. At the end you see all the dead Dantons in there cages.

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  48. Jacqui on said:

    What I don’t get is that in Angier’s last performance, the one in which Borden is convicted of killing him, how did the clone know not to appear above stage at the end as the Prestige? How could he have known that the one under the stage appeared to be getting murdered by Borden? I mean, if he had appeared in front of the audience at the end Borden would never have been hanged and Angier would have been exposed.

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  49. facebook_jure.juric.161214 on said:

    Only thing that bothers i see everyone after reading explaination sites is angier trick. Here is how i see it with one thing mentioned that no one does.!

    Trick is that original Angier is made invisible for split minute and after he-s visible again clone of his comes out of closet. (first time he does trick he kills clone that comes out of wardrobe with gun) So original is still alive

    So he sets up his trick this way saying he wants 1 last performance (knowing he-ll die after 1 and last performance)

    Trick performed 2nd time is that angiere (original) is made invisible for split minute and trap dors open drowning original and clone emerges from wardrobe.

    clone continues work and continues to do show day after day cos angier would do it if he was alive and clone is copy of angier.

    So every day after 2nd performance where original died is one clone dies second emerge and so and so…..

    There you go……

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    • Padwa on said:

      Solid view, but the original Angier said he was going to do 100 shows, being his last performance. I think the clone that would have appeared at the top of the theatre would have heard the commotion that was the screaming and hacking of the axe that he decided not to make himself known to the audience as it would have given away the power of the machine

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  50. David Ellis on said:

    Why remove the collar from the cat before it runs off after revealing that the clone machine finally ” worked? “

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  51. Brandon Herring on said:

    What do you think of the proposal that Borden’s twin was actually a clone from tesla’s machine? I am suggesting that he did the cloning ONCE and never killed himself. I always thought of the main difference between Borden/Fallon and Caldlow/Angier was that they BOTH had the opportunity to clone them self and B/F couldn’t do it and C/A did it right away.



  52. myles on said:

    Thanks for listing out the hints must have taken a while. What I am still stuck wondering is how much did Cutter know? He knew he used a double but did he know they were brothers? Was Cutter in on the Borden boys trick the whole movie? What sparks this interest is when Cutter leaves the theatre he walks right past Fallon who is walking into the theatre and Cutter doesn’t even flinch or take any oddness to it so has he known that Angier was going to “lose” the whole time? And of course he helps Fallon/Borden get jess back in the end. So I’m just very curious as to what Cutter really knew the whole time whether he was in on Bordens entire plan or just guessed it.

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  53. Jason on said:

    But do we really know who is the one that gets trapped everytime of the performance with the machine? Angier said something like it takes the courage going into the machine not knowing if hes being transported or cloned. What i am saying is that the performance might be, the real one goes into the machine, turns out that he is the one who is dropped into the trap, the clone comes out from the back of stage. Becasue of the fact that he said he never know what it feels like drowning, he thought it was like going home thats why he sets a water tank trap, everytime the performance he gets to know that it is agony but the new one that comes out doesnt know, and it forms a loop. So actually it might be that the real one goes into the trap and the clone comes out.

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  54. Roger Ebert's thumb on said:

    oops leaning towards the latter explanation.

    Wow the director from The Prestige and the newer Batman movies also directed Man of Steel. I am definitively gonna see it.

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  55. Roger Ebert's thumb on said:

    Just saw the movie, well just heard the movie as I am at work and could only listen to it so I missed a whole lot. So I am gonna watch it this weekend and try to figure out if its a sci-fi flick(cloning machine works)
    or a more complex trick that we are left wondering because if the trick is revealed to the audience than the magic is gone. Or is the movie so good that it can be either or something else.

    BTW if I have to google a movie after watching it, its usually a sign that the movie was good. Thumbs up.

    Im leaning toward

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  56. Jordan godfrey on said:

    Olivia didn’t say that at 11:11:10

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  57. Article V on said:

    You missed the double-headed trick coin which Borden gives to Sarah’s nephew when he tells him never to reveal the secret of the trick. The coin itself is a clue that Alfred Borden is one life led by two twin men.

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  58. Article V on said:

    Alfred Borden is an assumed name created through the conjunction of the Borden twins true first names: Alfred and Freddy. You’d have to read the novel to know this. Al + Fred = Alfred. Albert and Freddy Borden decide to lead one life as Alfred Borden in order to later create what will eventually become The Transported Man trick.

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    • Article V on said:

      I mean Albert and Freddy, not Alfred and Freddy. Alfred is the eventual conjunction of Albert and Freddy. I think that was clear from my comment, but I noticed the typo in my first comment so I wanted to re-iterate it for clarity.

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  59. Jackamo on said:

    Angier is constantly warned thoughout that the pursuit of the Transported Man would deliver him ultimate tragedy, a point made repeatedly by Cutter who sees the game for what it really is of course, a simple trick done very very well. Angier persists because he’s a classically portrayed Faustian flawed man who seeks the ephemeral glory of the now juxtaposed against the strength and ultimate glory of the the two brothers who manage to create the ‘magic’ thru hard work and an absolute dedication to the cause/art: each time Angier replicates himself he dilutes his soul that much further, destroying the humanity within him; the two brothers by contrast reaffirm their humanity by repeating the ‘magic’ thru a simple ruse played ever so effectively with the utmost persuasion. Hence why Cutter (the audience) sides with the Bordens in the end. People know they’re being tricked, the artistry is to let them go away thinking just that – when u reveal the truth behind the Prestige u take away the magic and all that’s left is reality.

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  60. Kevin on said:

    I’ll throw out another possible explanation. Cutter is the guy to watch. The piece of evidence that throws me is the Angier body (very pristine looking, by the way for being weeks or months after a death) in the box at the end. I’m sways by the Angier double rather than clone explanation. I think Cutter knew Borden was a set of twins. I think he knew Angier lost it. I think he was convinced that one Borden was responsible for Angier’s wife’s death. He worked with Angier to frame that Borden but preserve the innocent one. If he wasn’t complicit in the crime, why would he help Angier store that stuff? It’s one thing to sell it. It’s another thing to help him store it safely away. The ending man in the box is a prop made by Cutter. That’s why a) the body isn’t at the morgue, and b) it’s not nasty and bloated. Remember Angier’s comment about not knowing how he does that (making someone look like someone else). He didn’t just clean up Root. He’s a veritable Madame Tussade. Cutter also realized that Angier is a murderer and insane, so he ensured his demise by not locking the door at the end when he exited. But what about the dead double for Angier, who is presumably Root? Cutter knew he was insane too, which we see at the very beginning of Root’s introduction. Cutter = vigilante.

    Sure this explanation is far afield, but nothing else explains the body in the box at the end. You think it’s a clone? Then why is it one pristine body in a box rather than 20. Remember, they take “it” (maybe the body) out every night. What if the “it” they take out is Tesla’s static electricity machine to make sure no one steals it or discovers it’s a fancy turn?

    Ok fire away and poke holes in this one. I hope you don’t because I’d like to be able to focus my thinking on work rather than explanations for this movie. I agree with Frederic’s comment about the open endings. This is my version!

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  61. Peter on said:

    When Angier is using the Tesla machine for the first time in his theater (showing it to Cutter and the other guy) i dont recall there is a clone produced !!

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  62. Lori on said:

    Angier/Lord Caldlow (AL) and Borden/Fallon (BF) are obsessed and lose or suffer for their obsessions. The BF’s realize this. One of the BF twins breaks the cycle. Cutter may be relation to BF. When AL and Cutter are trying the dove and cage trick AL says that Cutter sounds just like him. Cutter cares for BF’s daughter as well. Cutter seems to understand that BF’s are twins. Cutter observes these clues without telling anyone. I think Cutter sets AL up from the beginning. When they clean up Root, Cutter says Root could be AL’s brother. AL says he doesn’t need a brother he needs to be me (AL). He warns that Root will need to be hid or the game is up. AL says he is not sure how Cutter does theses things and doesn’t want to know. Also when Cutter is shot it the arm by BF. BF could have killed Cutter. Wounded, like a bird, Cutter sets AL free so that he can remove himself from the Turn, The Pledge could be the twins or maybe Cutter. The Prestige is the free twin latter on. Just a guess anyways.

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    • gordan on said:

      This has to be without a doubt the worst piece of text I have ever read online, seriously: are you a spam bot? Cutter wasn’t shot in the arm by Borden lol, it was Borden who was shot in the arm by Angier.

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      • Pipi on said:

        u better watch the movie one more time

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      • cyleleghorn on said:

        Yes, Cutter was shot in the arm by Bordon (actually Fallon in this scene) while Cutter was nailing him into the coffin to bury him alive for the secret to the Transported Man.

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  63. Arnel on said:

    In the end, when Borden picked up his daughter Jess, was Cutter informed about Borden’s twin brother? Because when he picked up Jess, Cutter didn’t seem surprised?

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  64. frederic on said:

    Why is this so difficult to understand? There is no cloning. Borden and Fallon are twin brothers. Angier was fooled by Tesla (was let to Tesla by Borden and Fallon) and the machine is bullshit. He kills a hired,double from Tesla because he really believes the machine has worked. That is the point he loses control. He’s obsession made him a murderer and he will do it again. He realise the machine doesn’t work and when he’s home again he set’s a trap for Borden. Killing again for the second time. But this time he killed his own double. The other times they performed the trick Angier and his double without a killing. He killed a man again “no-one cares about the man in the box” just to frame his life-long rival. Borden kills the real degenareted Angier, who still keeps on performing while dying.
    Why is it difficult to understand? That every explanation is an explanation. Everything is but in question again ad the end. So that every audience, we, have his own story, his own believes, his own illusion. The writers do’nt have an explanation themselfes, you believe what you want, my view, your view, it doesn’t mather, it is an open ending, designated to make you wonder, even the storywriter doesn’t know the real explanation, the explanation is that there are many explanations.

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    • Karin on said:

      Bravo, Frederic! And this is also the simplest explanation, isn’t that what Cutter tells us in his narratives about magic, and isn’t it what he tells Angier about Borden’s magic (that he uses a double stupid, don’t over complicate matters)?

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    • Shannon Lee Martin on said:

      A ‘third’ Angier at the very end proves this theory wrong. If anyone could have made a machine like that, Tesla could. Tesla had integrity. Also, he could have never known when Angier would try the machine. Why is the cloning so hard to ‘believe’?

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    • RW on said:

      Posibly but non of that explains why the tank is boxed up and secretly moved each night by the blind man after each performance. Doesn’t tat point to a working clone machine and a dead body each night? Add to that the comment made about “your killing more than canaries now”

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  65. guest on said:

    Angier used a double there was no cloning look closley at the dead body and look closley at Angier when he is with his wife

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  66. Karin on said:

    My problem with Angier killing countless clones is that he could just as easily keep the second clone (after getting over the shock) and the two could do the double game flawlessly. In this scenario the tank of water would not have a real lock on it.

    I really enjoyed the twists and turns of this movie, but I think there is still something missing. Tesla really seemed like a magician to me in the construct of finding the many hats and second cat on the hillside. I really felt he was pulling the wool over Angier’s eyes. That feeling was not resolved for me by the simple appearance of the second Angier, especially since I don’t remember how the drunken double was resolved in the movie. I thought that Angier realized there was no transporting, and when the second Angier said, No wait, prior to being shot, I thought he was the drunken double hired by Tesla.

    I obviously missed something here because of what happens in the rest of the movie. That is why I fabricated the elaborate and implausible scenario of triplets.

    People have commented on the missing drunken double, but no one seems to have a solution which eliminates him.

    The whole cloning thing just makes me feel the movie cheated by pretending to represent “real” magic as the art of illusion and Angier’s obsession as out of touch with reality, but then inserted a fake science that acts as magic. Why do that? Maybe the characters of Tesla and Edison needed to be developed a bit more if the sci fi angle was to accepted by the viewers.

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  67. Karin on said:

    Wow. I had a totally different take on it. The twin bit I got the first time and just finished rewatching that this morning to try to figure out Angier’s doubles. I never thought the machine (from Tesla) really worked. I thought that Telsa was a greater magician than the others and that he had staged the pile of hats and the second cat to deceive Angier into believing the machine worked and then he left conveniently. Tesla had hired the double to hide in the machine and step out at the right moment.
    But in fact, Angier was a triplet. Yes. a triplet. Remember we don’t want to know the truth, we want to believe the magic. The truth is too simple. Angier shoots one of his brothers who is the double all along because he went along with Angier. But he gets his other brother to help him with his show. Meanwhile, Borden/Fallon, the wilder twin at any rate is angry that the show is so successful and locks the tank in the last show. Borden/Fallon, the gentler twin races down and can not unlock it. The second of the triplet Angiers drowns. Now there is only Angier. He resumes his role as Lord Caldlow to save the little girl, because he has not figured out the twin brother act.

    My reason for this interpretation was the constant reminders that we don’t really want to know the truth because it is too simple, we want to believe in the mysterious part of the plot.

    I like your interpretation a lot and it explains most of everything. I guess I thought the machine was an elaborate fake and the truth was a simple albeit unlikely situation.

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  68. Mihael on said:

    No, everything is more or less ration. One thing nobody mentions: Borden looked at Cutter (to be shure he is not seeing him), than secretly messaged something to Julia with his eyes, and she replied with very light noddle; than Borden switched theknot. WHAT plan they had? They agreed about something. I saw that It first watch. I thought that they had some secret plan; to trick her husband… That is completely unexplained what it was. Is Julia lives happily somewhere?

    As about of hangin Fallon/Borden: It was obvious that he tried to save drowning guy. And that Angier is till alive. But in real nobody cared about prisoner any moore, as English law at that time was sending people to Port Arthur Tasmania for as little as stealing couple of loafs of bread – for life. So I understand that part. Julia is till question?

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    • Chris Jarvina on said:

      The whole Julia theory is nix because they had a funeral with her body. The nod was probably in reference to the knot Borden wanted to tie that Angier was opposed to, but Julia was in agreement with.

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    • the happer on said:

      Both Julia and Borden wanted to take the risk. in the previous scene, Borden and Julia were arguing that she could untie the more advanced knot underwater while Cutter was saying it was too dangerous. In the scene where Borden and Julia nodded, they both “agreed” at that moment that they should try the harder knot

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  69. Kate on said:

    I apologize if this question has been asked already. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen this movie so I can’t really remember most of it, but in reading this analysis the thing that keeps confusing me is: if Fallon and Borden are twin brothers but no one supposedly knows this, then who do the people think Fallon is? Wouldn’t he look just like Borden? Is he disguised? Again, sorry if this is a very obvious question, I just haven’t seen the movie in ages and don’t really get this part.

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  70. Mike on said:

    I’m not sure that it WOULDN’T matter whether it was the original or the clone being killed each time. After all, if I somehow cloned myself, sure the clone would be an exact duplicate with my thoughts and memories, but it still wouldn’t physically BE me. And if I died, what would it matter to me if a clone of me was still going on living — I’d still be dead and non-existing. Sure, Angier might figure that “living on” through a clone was better than nothing, but the original Angier would still be dead, regardless. We’re not talking about the original some how ESCAPING death thru the creation of his clone — the original still dies regardless (if indeed it IS the original and not the clone who dies every time). I would think that any ration person (which, perhaps Angier was not, due to his obsession) would still want to go on living, and not want to die (shot or drowned), and would only undertake the repeated cloning if it was always assured that it was the clone who died. That’s why I’m asking if anyone noticed any clues as to whether it WAS the original Angier throughout all the clonings. (Of course if Angier was no longer sane or rational, than I suppose “anything goes”!)

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  71. Daniel on said:

    If so, why did Fallon write the word Telsa on a piece of paper and give it to Angier when in jail? It is possible they used the Telsa machine, how else would he have known about it?

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  72. another mike (but not a clone) on said:

    Angier clearly has no problem killing (or sacrificing) himself/his clone. So hopefully this makes sense….

    It would then stand to reason that Angier cloned himself, but did not kill himself or the clone once towards then end (leaving two Angiers). Since we know he suspected Borden to have a twin (that’s what he said), Angier knew a twin would still remain after Borden’s trial and murder. He then would expect the twin to seek revenge and kill Angier. What I am saying is that it is very possible that Angier was not killed at the end, but rather his clone – although I am not sure it matters which lives or dies.

    Did anyone else see it this way?? Was that what the ending implied?

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  73. Mike on said:

    Can anyone tell from the finished movie if the “clone” of the hats, or the cat, or Angier himself was the one who always appeared some distance from Tesla’s machine, or was it the original who always appeared some distance, with the “clone” taking the original’s place in the machine? (I’m assuming, of course, that the machine would always work in the same way, not changing it’s mode of operations from one use to the next).

    Also, I wonder about a possible plot-hole in regards to Tesla’s machine. Why would the duplication of the hats and the cat be a much greater distance way (outside the building and down the hill) from the machine, than that which occurred during the first duplication of Angier? When Angier first tries the machine, the duplicate appears in the same room, not very far away (enabling him to conveniently shoot the duplicate). Was this just for the simplicity of shooting the scene and making it cinematically tighter? Better than having the Angier in the machine have to run outside and track down the other Angier? Also wondering how, once set up on the theater stage, they could know just where the “other” would appear, and that it was always conveniently in the back of the balcony where no spectator would see the creation of a second Angier. Was this just pure luck? Or did they have to do thru some “trial and error”? Any thoughts?

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    • Chris Jarvina on said:

      After Tesla found out how the machine worked, he tweaked the specs, probably to keep a tighter radius. I’m assuming either he left the instructions with Angier and/or he had the theatre built to accommodate it.

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    • Underboss on said:

      If you noticed, in the one scene in the end (Where he first sees a clone of himself), the clone comes out of that mysterious wooden box made by Tesla. That seems to be a point of origin for clone or transportation. Wherever the box is placed, that is where the appearance (of any kind) occurs. So Tesla seems to have harnassed the capability to control and confine the location of transportation within the confines of the wooden box.

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  74. Jeff on said:

    Many seem to be under the impression that Tesla set out to create a duplication machine (and possibly has before). Tesla and/or his assistant do tell Angier that (1) this is not a machine Tesla has made before for someone and (2) the machine does not work exactly as intended. While Borden may have commissioned Tesla to build a device, it was all fluff for the act. That’s why the new one had to be built and tested. That’s why the were surprised when the machine didn’t work and Angier was told to leave while they made adjustments. The fact that the machine does not, in fact, simply teleport you some place but instead essentially makes there be two of you — one here and one over there — is a surprise to them.

    When Angier performed his act, he would activate the machine, it would do its thing, the Angier standing there would fall through the trap door with perfect timing and be drowned in this evening’s tank. Every night the evening’s tank would be wrapped up by the blind men, shipped out, and stored. The next night, there would be a new empty tank to drown the previous evening’s Angier.

    Why did Angier need to die and be disposed of every evening? So there would not be a hundred and one Angiers running around by the end of the run. Even two would be problematic and abhorrent to Angier, as we see when he kills himself after first using it.

    Why did Angier react in a emotional way while drowning in the tank? He was drowning. While the plan may have sounded good in his head, it clearly didn’t seem that way while drowning — certainly not any more so than being shot was. Even if he was ok with it at that moment, certainly having someone see what was happening wouldn’t have been.

    I also do not see why people think it is more believable that the twins were somehow a Tesla creation rather than simply twins. Twins and swapping are a classic troupe in story telling, and far more believable. Clearly, given that they were around in all parts of the movie we saw, even before Angier and Borden ever went to see Telsa, and swapping places and telling no one.

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  75. lol on said:

    what about the drunk look a like?

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  76. Carol on said:

    I just saw the movie tonight for the first time, and it really amazed me, but I have one question: if I remember well, after Borden killed Angier and returned to see his daughter, Cutter didn’t seem to be surprised by his appearence. He even bowed his head, like he was waiting for him. So did he know all along about the fact that there are two Bordens? And that one will die, while the other will live with Jess? If so, why didn’t he do anything to save the other twin or maybe Angier? This is the part I don’t understand.

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  77. Stacey on said:

    Wonderful break down! Though I’m really curious of how the Angier deaths played out…

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  78. kc on said:

    I have one question:
    1) When Borden tried to save the Angier clone in the water tank, why did Cutter come in and tried to stop him? Is it because Cutter knew that Angier intentionally kills his clone in every act? If so, why does Cutter seem surprised to see Angier alive at the end (when he reveals himself to be Lord Caldlow)?

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    • mike on said:

      Cutter never tried to stop Borden from saving Angier, he also tries to save angier, you see him reach for the lock and if im not mistaken he says what have you done. Cutter doesnt know about Angiers clones/Trick, thats why when they meet again in the broken down theatre he says I dont want you working backstage, I want you to be the manager for Angiers last show. the part where Cutter finds out is when they are putting the machine away and he says the part about the sailor who drowned, telling him he lied about that story. indicating that killing himself by drowing himself/clones was a terrible thing. sorry i babbled on but its a hard movie to explain aha

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    • Chris Jarvina on said:

      Cutter had no idea what the secret was. He thought Borden was watching Angier drown. So at the end, he is genuinely surprised to see Angier alive.

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      • Sally on said:

        I’m with Karin (above). I think the whole clone-machine thing is an illusion. I think Root is actually Lord Caldlow and that there really are only the two of them and the whole Tesla-thing, and the tanks and all (we only ever see that one body clearly in the tank at the end) become an elaborate, illusory trick to fool Borden and/or us – the audience. Even the scene where Angier shoots a clone could simply have been a lie, a man so obsessed with his audience’s reaction (and Borden is his true audience) that he would lie right up until the end. The only thing that stuffs up this interpretation is why Borden would have said anything about Tesla – that was what he wrote down for Angier, so it was he who set Angier on that whole journey in the first place. Damn. I really want the clone-thing to be a trick because that fits better with all the things Cutter says about the way illusion works. The cloning thing is too obvious for my liking. But maybe this is just me wanting a complex story to be even more complex than it really is. I really like how Nolan’s films do this – keep you thinking for a long time afterwards.
        Hmm… I am definitely suspicious of all the support cast – Root, Olivia, Tesla and Cutter.

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      • Borden Caldlow on said:

        Sally, I’m glad that you brought up suspicion on the supporting cast. As we all know(should at least), magicians use “helping hands” throughout their performances to create “the illusion.” Suspect #1-John Cutter. My reason for this is simple. He is a top ingenieur(someone who invents and designs magic tricks and illusions) who was able to detect magician’s secrets with ease. He knew The Chinese Magician’s secret, Borden’s secret to the Transported Man, and he even knew Robert Angier’s secret to being Lord Caldlow, but he just pretended to be fooled. Also we must remember that Cutter knows all about “dressing up” illusions. He taught Angier about that and then quickly threw in a double, which went by the name “ROOT.” Cutter told the Judge, the jury, that he saw Borden backstage and when asked about how Borden moved the tank undetected…..Cutter smartly replied,”Well he’s the magician, ask him.” Meaning that Cutter is setting up Fallon(Evil twin) to be convicted and hung for killing Angier’s wife previously, but to make it seem that its for Angier’s death when he knows the real Angier is still alive now going by his real name Caldlow. Cutter told Caldlow’s assistant that the Machine is “real” and that “Tesla can do for real what magicians try to do,” all of this is to throw off the audience, to “dress up” the real illusion. The machine was not a duplicating machine, in fact if we “watch closely” like Borden have asked several times in the film, you will understand that Tesla had his other assistants place those hats and the cat outside while Angier was being distracted inside by this electrical device. Remember, Angier went there several times before and they tested it, so why didn’t he see the hats after leaving like he did that last time? Its because they knew Angier was an obsessed man. They did this to satisfy a man who was obsessed. Tesla even proved to “recognize an obsession when he sees one.” Now, after Tesla escapes with Angier’s money, we find that he left a box for him with a note. Angier takes the machine to try it out on a human (himself) because it was tried on his hat and a cat. We never see him actually using it until his “final magic act” and then the tank scene. Prior, we see what appears to be many tanks being taken away after the show. Then in the final scenes during ANGIER’S memory, he never said he duplicated himself. We SEE the scenes shown to us as if Angier shot a duplicate of himself…but that didn’t happen. In his mind, he wanted the machine to have worked because he didn’t see any other way to perform that simple trick of the Transported Man, but in actuality, this isn’t a sci-fi film so that should knock any theories of a real machine that duplicates people. The real trick are the supporting cast. “ROOT” is shown being swayed by Fallon and therefore sabotaging his and Angier’s act…then he is not seen anymore…thats on purpose. The storytellers here wants us to forget about Root, and forget about what Angier’s wife almost subtly say to Angier back when she came up with the name, The Great Danton. She says to him, ..”you are pretending to be someone else..” Which he replies “changing a name doesn’t imply that, he doesn’t want to embarrass his family…which we discover in the end to be Caldlow. So, I said all of this to say that in the final scenes, its Angier/Caldlow who is shot by Borden, but the trick here is that ROOT also makes his final appearance as well-the MAN IN THE BOX(the guy whom “know one cares about”) Root never left Angier/Caldlow, he was helping him to continue the magic act, fooling Borden and the audience, all but the one who can detect magician’s secrets-Cutter. Cutter helped Angier, then he helped Borden so in actuality he was working for both of the magicians….sadly, Angier went overboard with his obsession, which ultimately led to his demise.

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  79. HODC on said:

    If u check out the last 1:59:44 you see that there is bubbles coming out of Angier’s mouth… Does that mean the person that Borden shot and killed at the end was just another one of Angier’s Clones???

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  80. Hope on said:

    Another thing I’ve noticed within the movie is that the twin who is hanged (Fredrick for all means and purposes) has a slightly different eyebrow. His right eyebrow has a line through it whereas the other twin (Albert) does not.

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    • mike on said:

      His name is Alfred, olivia the assistant calls his Freddie or Fred (short for Alfred) not Albert. so we know for sure one of them is Alfred, Freddie is the same person its just a nickname olivia calls him. the other brother we have to assume is named Fallon, they just take turns being eachother

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  81. Josh on said:

    So I have a question. On the night of his final performance, how does Angier know not to come out to the audience and to fake his “death” that night? Ok, this is what I thought at first: When that scene is shown at a certain point in the movie, there is a viewpoint from the balcony which is where the transported Angier would be, and we hear muffled shouts and inaudible pounding, coming most likely from the drowning Angier below the stage. So I thought at first that this would be his signal to not come out, then it dawned on me that the drowning Angier is drowning and making noise and pounding probably every night but this is the only night the transported Angier chooses not to come out, how does he know? Borden had gone to see the show numerous times, and it’s not like there was anyone who could have told the transported Angier in time that Borden on that night was going under the stage and that it was time to finally “kill” himself and frame Borden. Any ideas?

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    • gordan on said:

      same question bugs me too

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    • Carter on said:

      Josh
      I could be wrong but angier could have noticed the disguised Borden inspecting the machine (when angier asks if members of the audience would like to come up to the stage). Borden did not have gloves on during this shot so angier could have seen his missing fingers. When Borden pretends to exit the stage, but heads backstage instead, it is possible that angier noticed. After seeing him go back stage, angier knew that curiosity would drive Borden below stage where he would find the drowning angier. So as opposed to showing his face at the end of the trick, he decided to stay hidden and let Borden take the fall for his murder.
      Again it’s all just a theory and we can never know for sure, but that is what I am betting on.
      Please respond this an amazingly interesting movie.

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  82. Tim on said:

    I have just one question. Why was Cutter not freaked out at the end when Borden comes to get his daughter as Borden? If I understand the timeline correctly, this is the “now” moment, after Borden has been in jail and subsequently hanged, and this final scene would be the last chronological event. Cutter just gives him a nod, wouldn’t he have the same reaction as he did when he met Lord Cadlow at his house? A “you’re supposed to be dead!” reaction? He must have known Borden/Fallon’s ‘secret?’ Or didn’t he?

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  83. Emma on said:

    Does Sarah know that Borden/Fallon was two different people?

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  84. Lee on said:

    there are other things i don’t get. Cutter was helping the Bordens so he must have known their secret right? Or is it when he found out what Angier was doing then he set out to help the Bordens or “one” of the Bordens? I also think about when Angier first demonstrated his trick to Cutter and ackerman what did he do with the other clone then? Was there 3 of them for awhile? I think Cutter was disgusted with the fact that Angier was drowning himself or clones thats why he told him that drowning was agony and it finally clicked in Angier’s head that what he was doing was wrong. I still agree with my previous comment that the whole point of the movie was not the magic at all. That the most important things in life were love and family i think thats why Cutter helped one of the Borden brothers he wanted to see both the obsessed men be put out of their misery. This movie is a lot like inception people are so obsessed with the magic they don’t get the true meaning of the film. People were so obsessed with the ending of inception about whether it was a dream or it was real that they missed the point. The point at the end of inception was dream or not it didn’t matter just spend the time u are given with the people you love. Same with this movie.

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    • joe on said:

      thats the beauty of nolan movie. they have ridiculously interesting concepts which bend reality but still seem realistic, and deep down they even relate to human nature and emotions. they are always the full package

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  85. Lee on said:

    I think that the Bordens were indeed twins. They gave Angier the tesla clue not knowing what really happens but just to throw Angier off so he’ll spend a long time working on tricks. I think the Bordens thought that Tesla’s trick was a fail and a waste of time and they knew Angier would be obsessed with it. I don’t know what cutter meant at the end and they showed all the top hats. Something puzzles me tho about the whole Tesla thing why didn’t he just come out and tell Angier that the machine makes clones??? They all seemed very suprised when Angier found all the hats so that makes me think that Tesla’s intention was not to make clones at all but just to make someone disappear because didn’t Alley say they kept trying to make the hat disappear but it wasn’t going anywhere? So the whole point of the machine was to really make a “transported man” like u could transport yourself elsewhere but instead it makes clones? I dunno. I think the whole point of the movie was that you had 3 magicians, 2 of which were brothers and working together and then the 3rd who was working alone. 2 of the magicians were obsessed with what the other was doing Angier and one of the Bordens, the other Borden didn’t care. It all boils down to the fact that Angier and one of the Borden’s were so obsessed with eachother that they lost all touch with reality in their obsession to show the other one up and the other Borden knew that it didn’t matter only family and loved ones matter in the end. Angier and one of the bordens didn’t care about anyone but themselves.

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  86. Chris on said:

    In what must have been my fifth time viewing this movie, I think I found it’s quite obvious which brother is which in at least most of the scenes. We’ll call the one who loved Olivia and died Frederick and the one who loved Sarah and survived Albert.

    There are certain moments in the film where it’s pretty clear which is Albert and which is Frederick. The most prominent being if “Alfred” loved Sarah “today.” As stated above, Albert loved Sarah and Frederick did not. Another certainty is who was in jail (and was hanged) and who survived, which, as also stated above, were Frederick and Albert, respectively. Within those scenes, I believe certain characteristics made the two otherwise identical brothers stand out from each other. Frederick seemed to be the more crass, vulgar, get-his-hands-dirty, obsessive magician of the two. Albert seemed to be the more calm, measured, (relatively) clean one. With that assumption in mind, Frederick was more involved in the rivalry with Angier than Albert and was possibly the brother shown in the early flashback when the men were plants. In Angier’s death scene, Albert says Angier’s efforts were a waste, but Angier refutes that claim and says Albert really doesn’t know. These support the assumption that Frederick was the brother who was obsessed with Angier.

    Towards the end, when Angier debuts his Tesla machine, you see two separate scenes where Alfred is arguing with Fallon about the trick. Frederick is angry and obsessed with figuring it out, and Albert just wants to call it quits and leave Angier alone. This is supported by the last conversation the brothers have in the prison, when Frederick says to Albert (in disguise) that Albert was right and he should have left Angier alone.

    It would make sense to kill off the two rivals (Angier and Frederick) who dirtied themselves in their quest for one-upsmanship and spare Albert, who had a daughter to raise.

    What do you think? Are there any holes in my theory?

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    • mike on said:

      the holes in your theory are the fact that you made up two characters, Albert and Frederick. none of those are characters in the movie, alFRED (Not alBERT) is the name of one of them, Im guessing you got Frederick from when olivia calls him FREDDIE, nick name or short for alFRED. so 1 of them is named Alfred, the other is fallon, we dont know if thats the other brothers name for sure. Alfred is the one with the daughter, though both of them take turns being him, the one named alfred is the one with the daughter and if the other brothers name is really fallon, then fallon loves olivia. they just both take turns being eachother, they’re twins. in the end the real Fallon is killed (assuming thats his name) and Alfred is left to live with his daughter and kill Angier. read your comment again you keep switching between albert, frederick, alfred and fallon. doesnt make sense

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    • mike on said:

      are you calling them Frederick and Albert Just to distinguish between the two, your should probably pick better names beceause Albert can be confused with Alfred and Frederick, Freddie.. which is the same as Alfred its just his nick name. if your differentiating between them, use joe and tim… much easier

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  87. Bob on said:

    There is only 1 big plot hole I think in this movie. Regarding your final clue: “2:01:59 – Angier shoots the first clone in a flashback” – it was the stationary clone nearest the machine who got the gun and survived. Then at the end, he says he did sacrifice a lot since every night when he wasn’t sure if he was the prestige or the sacrifice.

    Whether it actually teleported the original and replaced with a clone on the same spot – that’s another possible matter.

    IF the original were teleported – then he is already a clone who killed the original.

    ELSE if the original stays on the spot – he’s killed the original after the first act.

    IN EITHER case, he killed the guy standing nearest to the machine by drowning. Hence he should have been aware he’d killing himself each night for certain or he is already dead. Hence Borden killed a clone at the end since the original Angier already killed himself at some point.

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  88. Bob on said:

    Oh yea and one of the clues is more of a theme than actual clue:

    “9:23 – “But where’s his brother?” Sarah’s nephew asks Borden, foreshadowing that Borden has a brother.”

    The boy noticed that the bird was actually getting crushed to death in the trick. Hence he says this when Borden trys to console him with another bird.

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  89. Bob on said:

    You made one error in your analysis:

    The twin (Borden/Fallon) that survives at the end is not the little girl’s (Jess) father. This twin was Olivia’s lover and not the biological father of the little girl.

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    • Bob on said:

      oh wait – my bad >_> I got mixed up!

      1:54:03 – “I’m sorry for Sarah. I didn’t mean to hurt her. I didn’t.”

      He is clearly the Borden who raged at Sarah and caused her to commit suicide -this is the Borden who was actually Olivia’s lover. Hence he tells Olivia that he doesn’t love her – “not today”.

      So the Borden who lived (outside of prison) was Sarah’s lover and real father of the girl… I was originally convinced at prison Borden’s desperate goodbyes to his daughter – but maybe that was just an act (or an uncle’s affection).

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      • Chris on said:

        Yeah you have to remember that both Bordens shared the same life. Although each loved a different woman, they both cared for the daughter.

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    • Nicky on said:

      I don’t think so, because as he’s being taken away, the Borden being hung says “sorry about Sarah” also, he says that he is the one who loved Sarah

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  90. Dana on said:

    Okay that information on times 1:32:44 and 1:34:07.. it was ONE Borden that was arguing with Sarah, as Fallon carried Jess off.. He says “Olivia means nothing” meaning he loves Sarah.. and then says “No, not today” meaning he loves Olivia.. That statement above doesn’t make sense.

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  91. Ruler of the Known World on said:

    There is no spoon. ahem… Clones, I meant clones…

    There are no clones. Tesla’s machine was never more than a fancy light show. Angier’s “Real Transported Man” was performed using a double just like every other version of the trick.

    Angier knew Borden had come to the final show. While the double was on stage introducing the final trick, Angier moved the water tank into position under the trap door. The double, expecting to fall into a cushion just like in every other show, was as surprised as the rest of us when he landed in the tank.

    All the other BS about cloning was simply misdirection for Borden and for us. If you remember, it all came from Caldwell’s (Angier’s) notes that were specifically written for Borden to read while he was waiting in jail.

    Seriously, If the machine did actually create clones, why create and kill one every night rather than create one perfect replica of yourself to use as a double? Especially, if you expected the clone to live while you died?
    That’s just plain foolishness.

    Check out my entire theory:
    http://plus.google.com/111874616084161818442

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    • Joebs on said:

      Because Angier already had experienced working with a double. Remember Root? And people will freak out if they see two Angiers running around. Angier doesn’t have Borden’s experience in keeping the twins’ identity an illusion as one person.

      We all saw the water tanks under the stage anyway.

      And remember the bird trick? Where it had to die, and another bird takes its place? That’s what Angier’s version of the Transported Man is like.

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      • Ruler of the Known World on said:

        Throughout the movie, we are repeatedly presented with two essential elements required by a great magician. These two elements are what have always set Borden above Angier as the better magician.

        1. Total devotion to your art. You have to live the act. We see the first example of this with the Chinese magician, who has spent years pretending to be crippled in public all to be successful on stage. We see it again when Olivia starts working with Borden. When Angier and Olivia are fighting right after Borden hijacks Angier’s performance, Olivia tells Angier that Borden uses a double – She found makeup, glasses, wigs… Angier tells Olivia that it is misdirection left there for her benefit. Olivia says, “All the time? He doesn’t know when I’m looking.” Angier replies, “All the time, Olivia. That’s who he is. That’s what it takes. He lives his act. Don’t you see?”

        2. You have to be willing to get your hands dirty. We see this right at the beginning with the canary that gets crushed in the cage. When Angier hooks up with Cutter after his wife’s death and gets ready to start performing again, they start working on their acts. Angier says, “I don’t want to kill doves.” cutter replies with, “Then stay off the stage. You’re a magician, not a wizard. You gotta get your hands dirty, if you’re gonna achieve the impossible.” Later, Angier shows he is indeed starting to become willing to get his hands dirty when he abducts Fallon and buries him alive. Borden even compliments him on the fact, both at the cemetery, and again when Angier (as Caldlow) visits Borden in jail.

        @Joebs:
        1. Remember Root? Exactly! Angier hooked up with Root again. Root was his double, but this time, they both were serious about getting it right. That is why Angier was gone for two years before coming back to start performing again. They were doing some serious practicing, and returned determined to live the act as well as Borden did.

        2. Root was the one who landed in the tank and died on the final performance (just like the canary in the beginning). Angier was finally willing to get his hands dirty, and sacrificed Root in order to destroy Borden.

        http://plus.google.com/111874616084161818442

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    • What the what? on said:

      And don’t forget that Borden was the one who gave Angier the password and the method: Tesla.

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  92. red on said:

    in order to keep sarah happy why did fallon not be borden whenever he was with sarah, why did they switch around when it came to being with sarah? when it came to the women why did they not keep it so the woman borden/fallon loved was the woman he was with.?

    also quite confused about the scene in the restaurant when borden comes from a show drunk with fallon and olivia and olivia keeps calling borden freddie in front of sarah? and then sarah says ‘freddie?’ when olivia leaves with fallon, borden says ‘well that’s my name’ and she says ‘not at home’ and borden replies ‘well i’m not always at home am I???

    there is also the other scene when borden is with olivia and she calls him freddie, is that fallon’s real name?does she not wonder why borden is called alfred and freddie?

    hope these questions make sense, just watched the film again and trying to drag myself out of the confusion. don’t know if I’m missing something

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    • What the what? on said:

      Red, I agree with you about the Borden brothers keeping it straight when it comes to the women. But I guess that was all part of the sacrifice for their art, which is a theme of the movie. But “Freddie” is a version of Alfred, like Jimmy is a version of James.

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    • Chris on said:

      Also interesting to note is that in the book, the brothers are actually named Albert and Frederick, who form “Alfred” together. Frederick loved Olivia, who called him “Freddie.” Albert later asks Olivia NOT to call him that.

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  93. Matthew on said:

    Borden/Fallon are not clones– neither of them knows what Angier’s secret is. When Borden asks Fallon “why can’t you out-think him,” it’s clear Borden does not know. Later in the scene he tells Fallon to “let him have his trick” and to “leave him alone.” Then, when the two are conversing in the jail, Borden says these lines back to Fallon saying “you were right,” indicating that the two had switched roles from the former scene, and that the “former” Fallon (now Borden behind bars) didn’t know either.

    Also, the Angier clones have the same awareness and knowledge as the “originals.” The line “not knowing if I’d be the man in the box, or the prestige” indicates that it was arbitrary, or moot, which one he became. There were always two complete Angiers, one of which had to be killed off. The “final” Angier was the one who survived his final trick, which was performed by the one who survived the previous one, and so on. Angier never actually had memory of drowning, because “he” never did. He was always THE PRESTIGE.

    It’s a fascinating and unsolvable riddle about the continuity of the soul.

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    • Scott Mather on said:

      And by survived his final trick, I presume you mean the trick of appearing to allow himself to be shot dead by Borden. Because he is the figure that is shown standing in the very last seconds of the film, having watched the entire scene.

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      • Scott Mather on said:

        Actually, I must be mistaken. Everyone says this is a body in a tank. I didn’t see the tank. Not sure why.

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  94. Ashish on said:

    Ok, so just some simple explanations that work without contradictions for me. Firstly, there is no indication anywhere that Tesla and Borden knew each other. Sure, Borden wrote ‘Tesla’ in his code, but that was clearly as a misdirection, as he admitted in his diary, meant to confuse Angier. As to how Borden was aware of Tesla’s name in order to use it as a key, there’s a scene in the film where both Angier and Borden attend the scientific expo demonstrating Tesla’s AC current. From here, Borden knew about Tesla and could just use it as a key for a diversion.

    Secondly, Fallon and Borden don’t have to be clones. There is no indication of this in the movie. Rather, there is evidence to the contrary. As someone earlier pointed out, Fallon and Borden living double lives would explain how Borden was able to determine the secret to the Chinese Magician’s act so quickly, as he lived a double-life himself.

    Lastly, the mechanics behind Angier’s magic trick. Each night at the performance, he cloned himself to another place, and used a trapdoor to kill himself, so that there were not duplicate clones. This is evident when he has his last discussion with Borden and talks about how he needed great courage every night to die. This also explains the last scene quite nicely, as they are simply the dead bodies of all the clones. The tank always closed to ensure the person in it died, it just so happened that that night Borden was there, and Angier’s clone chose not to re-appear in front of the audience, in order to implicate Borden in his murder.

    As to the bubbles in the tank at the last scene, as Wes mentions, they came from the shirt-collar area and are explained by the fire generating air bubbles in the water.

    BRILLIANT movie!

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  95. teslasrocketman on said:

    I would like to adress a few confusions that some of you are having. I am a HUGE fan of this film and have seen it a countless amount of times. I’ve noticed that ALOT of you believe that Borden’s twin(Fallon) came from Tesla’s cloning machine. I believe this to be false and here is why. Borden and his twin knew about Tesla because Borden (or atleast one of the twins) went to the scientific convention (the one where the public freaked out from Tesla’s static machine) that Angier was also at so he saw Tesla’s work and became interested in it. This is the most likely reason for why he made “Tesla” his code word. He was curious about Tesla’s work and nothing more. Also, Tesla and Ally (Tesla’s assistant) both confessed to never have previously built a machine for Borden. This happens when Angier goes to see Tesla, right before Tesla first shoots sparks at Ally’s cat. Angier says something along the lines of: “I thought you already made one of these machines before!” to which Ally says: “I never said that I had.”

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  96. Nerd Culture Podcast » Blog Archive » Podcast – Episode #26 on said:

    […] http://www.moviesnobs.net/the-prestige-explained/ […]



  97. katie on said:

    Ok so…
    Why did one of the twins tie a different knot? Basically what I’m asking was the death accidental?

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    • Abraham Anderson on said:

      They wanted to make the show better, with more risk. Julia & Borden wanted to tie the harder knot, but Cutter and Angier thought she might not be able to escape it, which is what happened.

      The other Borden (apparently) didn’t care about tying the harder knot, he always tied the simpler one. When Angier asked “Which knot did you tie?” Borden responded “I don’t know” because he wasn’t the Borden who tied the knot that killed Julia.

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    • Deepanshu on said:

      Yes, indeed it was accidental as the twin who tied the knot differently (later) did not knew that it may cause an accident. Only the first twin knew about that.

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    • Deepanshu on said:

      Yes, indeed it was accidental as the twin who tied the knot differently (later) did not knew that it may cause an accident. Only the first twin knew about that.
      P.s It is an awesome movie! :)

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      • Scott Mather on said:

        I don’t think so…look at his expression as he looks at her, as if to question “shall we try the different knot?” She communicates with him “yes” with her eyes.

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  98. miss daisy on said:

    So ive only just watched this movie! My brother did try to get me to watch it last year but I could tnot get into it. It was showing tonight and so I thought lets do this! Now I wish I hadnt! Not that its not a good movie but sooo many questions. Well ok not that many, I get the whole ending flash back thinfg, what got me is the very bit chris t mentioned. Something HAS to be up what with cutters naration and the last shot on the clone, it means something! And noone knows what, thats annoying.
    I dont believe borden is a clone, I think the tessla thing was meant to be a misdirection to get angier out of town for months, but it just happened the trick backfired, which kind of kept happening throughout, as the machine worked better than bordens trick. However it is intriguing as maybe tessla was not entirely clueless, he did speak a lot about obsession and how it takes over your life and he begged angier to destroy the machine, so either there was some history with borden or that was kind of a summation of bordens life, he and his brother giving it up for the magic.
    Its extremely clever with so many elements intertwined and lives intermingling and no definitive answers. Perhaps quite simply its like cutter said, we are looking for something more that doesnt exist. In short, the real angier robably drowned like his wife which. Is why he became so obsessional, maybe it was his knot she couldnt escape from and thats why borden didnt know if hed caused the accident, because he hadnt. The ultra competitve borden died leaving fallon with his daughter, which is what he wanted all along

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  99. Wes on said:

    The bubble I saw appeared from the shirt-collar region, not from the mouth of the figure inside the tank. Perhaps this was due to the fires creating heat inside the tank, or it was created when the figure in the tank was placed inside. Either way, I don’t think it’s because the figure is alive and breathing. I agree w/ the Borden clone theory; makes sense he would give up the “Tesla” secret, and that only one “brother” was driven to discover Angier’s trick. Namely, was he really being transported or was he being cloned, and if so what was happening to them?

    I believe at the end, Lord Caldlow dies for real. He never appeared onstage for his transport act; one clone drowns and another appears a certain distance away, never suspecting the next time the trick is performed, HE will drown. Just my guess, but it works for me.

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  100. John on said:

    But how did Borden/Fallon know to give Angier Tesla’s name? That makes me think Borden had originally went to Tesla and gotten himself cloned once and Fallon is single clone. Could it be that one of the Borden/Fallon brothers is a clone and they call each other brother?

    How Borden/Fallon knew about Tesla is the only part that confuses me.

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  101. Abraham on said:

    I have just watched The Prestige a second time. I took note of clues I caught the 2nd time around, and compared them to your notes here. I noticed a few that you left out. I also noticed a few mistakes with your article.. I’d love to bring these to your attention & tell you the clues I noticed. I would post them here in this comment, but I’m so tired, I stayed awake late to finish the movie for a 2nd time, and I took medication to help me sleep, so I can barely stay awake to type this comment, and I don’t have time to sort through my notes & type something presentable at the moment…

    So please, contact me. You have my email.

    Thanks,
    Abraham.

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  102. Robert on said:

    OK, I think I finally figured out how to reconcile the clone vs twin problem. To wit: on the one hand, if Alfred/Fallon are brothers, why does one of them give Angier the “TESLA” hint? And why all the talk about Tesla having already made a machine for Borden? On the other hand, if the two Bordens are clones, why don’t they already know the secret of Angier’s trick?

    The answer is (well, perhaps I should say the answer “could be”)as follows: The Bordens are indeed clones. But what I think happened is that when the original Borden (I’ll call him Borden #1) met Tesla, Tesla did not build a “transport” machine for Borden–as Angier assumes he did. Rather Tesla only used the machine to clone Borden #1, so as to give Borden a double he could use in his magic act.

    Now imagine this: Borden #1 knows his clone is a clone; but the clone (we’ll call that one Borden #2) has no idea of where he comes form and is thus ignorant of any machine. It is this ignorant version of Borden–Borden #2–who is in Jail. Furthermore, it is this Borden #2 who is the one obsessed with finding the secret of Angier’s trick. Contrariwise Borden #1–lover of Sarah and father of Jess–already knows where Borden #2 comes from. And because Borden #1 already knows how Angier does his transport trick, Borden #1 tries to get Borden #2 to just give up and drop the whole affair. Moreover, Borden #1 doesn’t want to tell his “brother” that he–Borden #2–is a clone! Borden #2 therefore is duped when what he assumes to be the one and only Angier apparently drowns in front of him.

    This makes sense of the mood of the last scene, where Borden #1 can be seen to be motivated to kill Angier as revenge for getting his “brother” hanged. Why? Because Borden #1 is the nicer of the two, Bordens–the family man, the less competitive version. We can assume he would truly love his clone like a brother–unlike Angier’s relations with his clones.

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    • Zpizz on said:

      TRUTH

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      • kwak on said:

        It could be true BUT…

        In Angiers flashback where he get’s cloned we see that the clone seems to know what just happened, that he is the ‘clone’ because the other Angier is still in place near the gun and the ‘clone’ steps out of the other end of the machine.

        This also means that Angier knows he is always the one going to die the night he performs the trick, and his clone will continue, and will die the next show, and then that clone will die the following show etc.

        My theory for the movie: At one point Fallon went to tesla and got clone. Wether on purpose or not, the clone and original knew what was at stake and knew exactly how far they were willing to go. After all, they were the same person so they probably didnt even have to explain it to eachother! That is why angiers clone knew he was going to get shot.

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    • matt on said:

      I also lean towards the clone theory given the lack of any confirmation that they are twins. Like kwak says though, it seems like the clone immediately knows everything up to the exact moment he was cloned, otherwise Angiers’ clones would be confused as to where they were rather than bowing to the audience. If you let that slide though, it’s an interesting take.

      One detail I noticed in a movie with so much attention to detail was that both Bordens have the exact same prominent mole on their nose, which clones would have but identical twins would not. Could also just mean that they didn’t feel like covering up Bale’s real mole.

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      • Rob Leather on said:

        There is a kind of confirmation that they are brothers, and a long standing trick.

        There is a scene where Borden and Angier are observing “Chung Ling Soo” being old and weak. In reality Soo is is in fact William Ellsworth Robinson and quite the athlete (Angier is unable to copy his ability to carry the full water bowl).

        Borden explains that the “real trick” isn’t what he does on stage, it’s the facade of age he maintains, never giving the game away. In the same way that he and “Fallon” are in fact twins who exchange places regularly, never giving the game away. I seem to remember Border makes distinct reference to Soo maintaining this illusion for some time.

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  103. Chris T on said:

    This movie was definately confusing, but I swear, I have replayed the ending a zillion times and I swear that Angier had tricks of his own…. it almost looks as if there are bubbles coming from the mouth of one of the clones in the tank as if he were alive inside. I am not sure, maybe it is my imagination, but it just adds more to everything else. And also makes me wonder by what Cutter is saying at the end while it’s showing the clone in the tank. It’s all a mystery, I guess it’s supposed to be. Has anyone else noticed this???

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  104. ZD on said:

    One possible explanation to why Borden game Angier the code, TESLA.
    1st, Borden’s diary was meant to trick Angier, hence Borden used the password TESLA to craft the notebook.
    2nd, Borden was, at that point of time, unknown to the public, hence he wants to trick Angier to go for a long trip, so that Borden can build up his reputation in the absence of his arch-rival.

    Regarding the Borden-Fallon mystery, I guess it doesn’t matter anymore. Whether they are a pair of natural twin or a pair of artificial clones doesn’t affect our understanding of the film.
    However, IMHO, they are natural twins, as before Tesla came out with the cloning machine, Borden has already got his transported man trick.

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    • James Du on said:

      They are definitly twins, for Borden never new the secret to Angier’s trick until the very end. Also, the Tesla code could have been to explain the electrifying rods above the doors when he performed the transported man, for he says Tesla is the method, not the secret/trick.

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  105. Ghast on said:

    How do people possibly believe that it’s the created clone who dies each night? Every time the machine is used the duplicate is created a few yards away, in the case of the theater, at the balcony. The clone becomes the new Angier for the next night and so on; you witness the Angier doing the trick fall through the trap door into the tank, that’s not the clone because that night’s clone wasn’t made yet..

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  106. johnny greece on said:

    Borden didn’t know about the machine and he had a real brother, not a clone. If he knew about Tesla’s machine he would have figured out how Angier was doing his trick. Borden gave to Angier the name “Tesla” because Tesla was a well known scientist at this time and something more: people thought of him as a magician, a man who could amaze them with unbelievable new technologies, and many rumours started spreading about imaginary devices that he had built (even today many people talk about Tesla weapons etc). So Borden knew that Angier would be obsessed and he would spend a fortune and much time in America. Plus, he would have been tricked by him and he would be furious when he realised that. So that would be enough for Borden and I think that the Borden-clone explanation isn’t right.
    The thing that bothers me the most though is that Angier had to commit suicide every night. I can’t believe that, as when we saw him falling in the box, he looked quite surprised and terrified, and he was asking for help from Borden. Why would he do that if he wanted to commit suicide? One could answer: because Cutter lied to him telling him that drowning was like going home and when he fell in the box he realised how painful it was. Yet, it doesn’t make sense to me when I think that Angier wanted to kill himself every night. He could just hide under the stage and shoot the clone when the show was over. Why suicide? It’s not clever and surely I wouldn’t have done that! I think the movie tells us that this is what he was doing (suicide every night) but I think that the script of the movie wasn’t clever enough in this part. Why can’t we think of that possibility? Each of us has seen endless movies with a plot full of flaws. Why this one can’t have one and we have to find the perfect explanation for every aspect of this movie? Nolan can make mistakes too, he is not a god, don’t forget that.
    Some other thoughts: What if one of the clones decided that he didn’t want to kill himself one night? 100 clones had to agree to their killing and that is a little silly for me to accept it. I also can’t understand why Angier said that every night he didn’t know if he would be the man in the box or the prestige. That isn’t correct. We saw that the machine made clones a few meters away from the original, and the original stayed in his place. So how could he be the prestige? Only his clone could be on the stage. Not him. And a final thought: What if he created a clone (when he was testing the machine) to start this suicide game, while he retired as lord Cudlow? So there could be 3 Angiers every night (Lord Cudlow a.k.a. the original Angier, and a clone who was cloning himself on stage to make a second clone). I guess we’ll never know!

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    • James Du on said:

      He wanted to kill himself every night because of the lingering mourning of the death of his wife. We see only days after her death a scene of him trying to drown himself and once Cutter tells him its like going home, he thinks he is doing nothing wrong by drowning the clones. He is “bringing them home” and it is a way for him to deal with his sorrow. He thinks he is doing something good, until he finally realizes at the end, the pain he caused.

      Nobody cares about the man in the box.

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  107. Arty on said:

    There is no cloning, its all a trick, theres plenty of clues to that, everyone seems to be oblivious to this..crazy
    Angier’s double they used half way thru the movie is the one who drowns, there is no clone and in the end Cutter puts him back in the water tank..he is the only body we see, the rest are random bodies. Even Angier himself looks surprised he cleans the glass of one of the tanks and says ‘The man in the box’…as in it doesnt matter who is there (its all for show to full Borden just like those tanks taken away form the theater every nite)..he wouldn’t look surprised if he put those bodies there but we know that Cutter moved all of Angiers props there so he filled the tanks with random bodies.

    The last narration by Cutter also suggests that audience wants to believe it instead of finding the truth while showing the hats – which means Angier was fooled by Tesla who planted the hats just like Borden is fooled in the end when he is looking around seeing the tanks full of fake doubles. Angiers sole purpose is in his last speech before he dies, saying he lived to show magic and seeing the look in their eyes (while looking at Borden) and he succeeds because Borden believes Tesla machine is real.

    If he killed a double every show why does he tell Cutter before the final show ‘I dont want you behind stage on this one’ that means he didnt kill a double every show.

    I can bring a lot of other examples. There is no Tesla Machine. Angier got screwed over and then wrote in his diary that it worked to fool Borden. Also Borden would never send Angier to Tesla if it worked, it was a wild goose chase in the 1st place that was part of the trick

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    • Stephen on said:

      I think you are wrong here. Although it can’t be proved that the machine is real, I think it is much more in keeping with the tone of the film – and much more interesting – if we believe Tesla’s magic machine really is magic, that Tesla is a wizard and not like these mere magicians. (As an aside I don’t think Borden knew what Tesla’s machine could do. I think this is the hinge of the plot and inescapably a bit contrived.)

      The fact that Angier doesn’t want Cutter to see backstage is not a proof that his trick is a fake – it could just as easily be to protect the cynical engineer from the magical (and gruesome) truth.

      If the Tesla machine is fake, then what is the purpose of the scene with Cutter and Ackerman in the theatre before the final run of shows – and how could Angier take up with his double again (remember, he would be needed in this scene, and presumably every performance) – wouldn’t it be insanity to expect the entirely unreliable double to keep quiet this time?

      If the machine is fake, then the foreshadowing of the final trick in the bird cage trick doesn’t work; there is no real sacrifice. I think there is a really powerful irony in the conscripting of a magical machine into what is effectively a parlour trick – where one “bird” is killed and another “bird” appears to delight the audience… but think of the cost!

      This brings me to the final point. I can’t see what incentive Angier has to make Borden believe his Tesla machine is real in the final scene. Think of all the effort he would have had to have gone to: I think it would be very, very time consuming to find that number of “random bodies” and to dress them etc… all to trick Borden in the final scene. But wait – how on earth did he know Borden was going to turn up in the final scene? He didn’t. So there is no reason he would go to such crazy lengths to trick him. I believe that those tanks are filled with dead Angiers. He kills himself every night. Isn’t that much cooler, AND also makes more logical sense?

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      • gordan on said:

        To me, it does not. I believe you have the one thing wrong – you are assuming that the water tanks would have to be filled either with random bodies, either with Angier’s clones. I believe what Angier ment when he asked Borden to ‘look around himself’ in the last scene, is that he wanted to show him that all the water tanks in the basement are in fact empty, except one – which had Root’s body in it.

        Too me the key clue for this is the narrating scene with the pile of hats in the yard, where Cutter says that “you’re not really looking”, the obvious. The simple life, solid way through.

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    • Ghast on said:

      I don’t know if you’re retarded or trolling. You witness the cat get cloned in real time, and you witness Angier use the machine on himself taking precaution with the handgun and shooting the spawned clone, you witness him perform his trick more than once at the end, having 100 shows.. I’m completely baffled as to what film you were watching. He couldn’t possibly have gotten to the balcony NUMEROUS TIMES without cloning himself which he was shown to do ON SCREEN. He didn’t want Cutter backstage because what he was doing was disturbing and he didn’t want to incriminate Cutter in his plot to frame Borden, and he hired blind stage hands so they didn’t see the corpses. He talks about sacrifice in the end and committed suicide on a nightly basis to suffer like his wife did, while letting the new clone take over as him ad nauseum.

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    • chris on said:

      Thank god I found this comment. I thought that having actual magic (or else some sc-fi thing that is really historically inaccurate to what tesla could do, requiring a serious body of knowledge in fields not even discovered yet.) was a massive cop out. I felt it ruined the movie and paranormal stuff always do. The lost series, the new scooby doo’s with real magic instead of classic scoob. All hack stuff I thought Nolan to be above. If he was going to Harry Potterise it shouldnt be set in the real world that makes an effort to show magic tricks are not real.

      Anyway i do have something to add. I think just like at the end of inception the ending was not meant to have an answer. the closing narration part means that the woo-woo nuts will accept the ending as it suits personal beliefs, and the science nuts will look for an answer in the film, which it ambiguously provides, and which I have just done by searching for an answer online. Awesome stuff. On a related note THE THREE BATMAN FILMS ARE THE THREE PARTS OF THE TRICK AND THE THIRD MOVIE WILL BE THE PRESTIGE, BATMAN WILL DIE OMFGWHAARGLL. Thinl about it after the second part it is said by michael cane its not enough to simply dissapear. At the start of the third batman has. CLEVER GIRL

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    • Bart on said:

      You got all wrong, mate.

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    • guest on said:

      there is clear evidence that the guy that drowned isn’t Angier.It’s the double.What’s the clue?Well look at Angier’s chest in that scene where he is talking to his wife,than look at “his” dead body and see the difference

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    • Angela Burt on said:

      Occam’s razor says we should go for the most simple explanation and that also seems to be Cutter’s approach.I think listening to him is key in understanding what happened because he is the narrator. And after all this is a film about trickery and illusion, not about real magic. The narrator at the beginning and end -Cutter-describes the components of a magical trick. He says there is no point making something disappear if you can’t bring it back. In the end he is showing the trick to the little girl-Jess and says the same thing-as he says “bring it back” Bprden walks into the room on cue. I feel that the writer leads us into focussing on the rivalry between Angier and Borden to the extent that we don’t pay so much attention to Cutter-who is after all an ingénieur-one who devises magical tricks and illusions. When Angier is trying to figure out how Borden does his transported man trick, Cutter insists that Borden uses a double and Angier says no, that isn’t it. Cutter says to him no he uses a double, “but that isn’t enough for you-you want something more”. As we find out, Cutter is right. Cutter is right about a lot of things. Perhaps the rivalry between Borden and Angier seems to be the main plot but is actually a sub-plot that distracts us from the main plot-and that is that Cutter devises a trick and uses the rivalry between Borden and Angier to fuel it. In helping frame Borden for Angier’s murder he makes him “disappear” –he is hanged. And with the reappearance of his twin-he makes him come back again, as he does on cue to retrieve his daughter at the end. I think perhaps Cutter knew that “Borden” was twins and possibly used that knowledge to confound Angier and spur him on-after he did say that Borden was the better magician and Angier was the better showman. If this was the case, it’s debatable whether Borden and Fallon (or just the competitive Borden) were complicit in this. Why would Cutter do this? For the art of creating a grand illusion, even tricking another magician, and also for the money-spurring Angier on to new heights profited him financially. I believe the key word of Tesla was as others have said, a trick to get Angier away for a while. I think when he tested out the machine, it didn’t really create a clone but his real double-Root-was there with him. When he shot Root, Root goes to say “But I’m Root” but is cut off before he can say his name. Also, we don’t know for sure that the double dies-just as in the Dark Knight Rises, we don’t actually see Batman die-everyone just thinks he’s dead. So it could be that Root wasn’t killed- just injured. After all there is no satisfactory reason for why Root disappears earlier in the film and doesn’t reappear-an obvious sign that he didn’t actually go away. I think Angier used Root in the transported man and pacified him with lots of money, and by letting him be the prestige for 99 performances on the condition that Root would be the man in the box for the final performance. Except in the last performance he replaces the bed with a tank that Root then falls into and dies. This Root is the corpse in the mortuary and Angier survives. The “tank” being taken away could be a distraction especially as Angier knows Borden will be watching and trying to figure out the trick. At one point he (or Cutter) does say that they have to do a performance that Borden won’t be able to stay away from. And definitely he won’t want to miss the last performance-I think it was the 100th performance-correct me if I’m wrong. Knowing Borden will be there the last time for the grand finale that’s when he plants the water tank that Root will fall into and drown and frame Borden for it-he knows Borden will not be able to resist going under the stage to see what is going on. I think Cutter may have been complicit in the framing because he saw Borden with the axe but what he says in court goes against that. So no cloning-just Borden twins and Angier and a double, and a rivalry spurred on and manipulated by the master ingénieur Cutter. We know Cutter was capable of lies and deception for his part in framing Borden, so I think he is capable

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  108. Luke on said:

    The most crazy and pretty twisted part of this movie is that Angier was willing to fall into that tank filled with water and kill himself all for the sake of “the prestige.” That’s what this movie is about. Heck, that’s what this movie is called. Its all about what each man was willing to do for the sake of the awe of the crowd. And Angier wins the battle for “the prestige” by far. He was so obsessed that he was willing to kill himself each time knowing that his clone would carry out the rest. The clone would be “the prestige.” The clone would be Angier, and he would have to make the same twisted decision yo kill himself each time the “real transported man” was performed. And it was all in the name of “the prestige.” Remember at the end as Angier is dieing, he describes “the look on their faces” as being the reason he did it all.

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    • Luke on said:

      The question that we all really should be asking is: “What am I looking for?” Are we all just looking for a thrill? Or looking to give a thrill to people? Angier was willing to kill himself. Some people do crazy things for thrills and even seeking the thrill of others. What is this desire we have for this? Why do we have it? What will ever really satisfy this desire within us? My answer: nothing but God can ever satisfy this deep longing and desire we each have. And He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us. Not in a sick, twisted way like Angier, but in a sacrificial way so that each of us might be saved from our own sick and twisted ways. Jesus was the only man to ever have it all right. He was the only perfect man. And the greatest prestige of them all is that “He is God, but became a man.” Wow! Don’t you see what He did for us? He lived. He died on a cross. And then He rose again from the dead all in the name of love for each of us! The question is why? Why would God love us so much to do this? Why would the most amazing, infinite Being want to save human beings, much less become one of us and die. I really can’t answer that question other than to say “He did it all for love.” He loves us so much that He was willing to give up His life for us! Angier was willing to give up his life for the thrill of the faces, but Jesus was willing to give His life for the thrill of giving life. He knew that His death would bring those that believe the most thrilling life they have ever experienced here on this earth. And that life is eternal. That is the thrill we are all seeking. We are all seeking to be thrilled, but not every one will get to experience the thrill of meeting God face to face in heaven. Our own sin separates us from the thrill of heaven. But that’s why Jesus did what He did for you and for me. So that we would one day leave this earth and spend eternity with Him in heaven. If you are still seeking this thrill and have never experienced true satisfaction in this world, do not fret. Many have tried, and many have failed. Many have lived in luxury. Many have lived in worldly thrills and pleasure. But I’m here to tell you, nothing will ever satisfy your desire for thrill like God can. That’s what He’s offering you through the death of Jesus. Angier offered his audience a thrill that was mind-boggling and pretty awe inspiring, but God is offering you a thrill that will never die. Its a thrill of His love and life that will never perish. You may die here on this earth, but your soul will go on for eternity in one place or the other. Make sure the place you are going is heaven. Make sure you have the thrill of eternal life. Give your life to God. Believe on Jesus and what He did for you. He died for you for more than a momentary thrill. He died for you to have eternal life. Its very simple. Just believe. He loves you. God loves you. He cares more for you than a magician. He loves you more than realize. “The Prestige” is that He does.

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    • Lace on said:

      I don’t think he is committing suicide. He wanted the prestige. This is clear when Angier first does the trick with Root as his double. He wants to be the one receiving the applause, so it is the clones he is killing off. Tesla set out to make a transporting machine, so I believe this machine transports Angier, but also leaves a clone in his place.

      The thing that bothers me is that Alfred is so obsessed with figuring out his trick, but he knows Angier used a double in the past. Why wouldn’t he just assume this is another double (or the same double as the previous time)?

      This was a great movie, despite some holes. I would definitely watch it again.

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  109. Luke on said:

    The most crazy and pretty twisted part of this movie is that Angier was willing to fall into that tank filled with water and kill himself all for the sake of “the prestige.” That’s what this movie is about. Heck, that’s what this movie is called. Its all about what each man was willing to do for the sake of the awe of the crowd. And Angier wins the battle for “the prestige” by far. He was so obsessed that he was willing to kill himself each time knowing that his clone would carry out the rest. The clone would be “the prestige.” The clone would be Angier, and he would have to make the same twisted decision yo kill himself each time the “real transported man” was performed. And it was all in the name of “the prestige.” Remember at the end as Angier is dieing, he describes “the look on their faces” as being the reason he did it all. The question that we all really should be asking is: “What am I looking for?” Are we all just looking for a thrill? Or looking to give a thrill to people? Angier was willing to kill himself. Some people do crazy things for thrills and even seeking the thrill of others. What is this desire we have for this? Why do we have it? What will ever really satisfy this desire within us? My answer: nothing but God can ever satisfy this deep longing and desire we each have. And He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us. Not in a sick, twisted way like Angier, but in a sacrificial way so that each of us might be saved from our own sick and twisted ways. Jesus was the only man to ever have it all right. He was the only perfect man. And the greatest prestige of them all is that “He is God, but became a man.” Wow! Don’t you see what He did for us? He lived. He died on a cross. And then He rose again from the dead all in the name of love for each of us! The question is why? Why would God love us so much to do this? Why would the most amazing, infinite Being want to save human beings, much less become one of us and die. I really can’t answer that question other than to say “He did it all for love.” He loves us so much that He was willing to give up His life for us! Angier was willing to give up his life for the thrill of the faces, but Jesus was willing to give His life for the thrill of giving life. He knew that His death would bring those that believe the most thrilling life they have ever experienced here on this earth. And that life is eternal. That is the thrill we are all seeking. We are all seeking to be thrilled, but not every one will get to experience the thrill of meeting God face to face in heaven. Our own sin separates us from the thrill of heaven. But that’s why Jesus did what He did for you and for me. So that we would one day leave this earth and spend eternity with Him in heaven. If you are still seeking this thrill and have never experienced true satisfaction in this world, do not fret. Many have tried, and many have failed. Many have lived in luxury. Many have lived in worldly thrills and pleasure. But I’m here to tell you, nothing will ever satisfy your desire for thrill like God can. That’s what He’s offering you through the death of Jesus. Angier offered his audience a thrill that was mind-boggling and pretty awe inspiring, but God is offering you a thrill that will never die. Its a thrill of His love and life that will never perish. You may die here on this earth, but your soul will go on for eternity in one place or the other. Make sure the place you are going is heaven. Make sure you have the thrill of eternal life. Give your life to God. Believe on Jesus and what He did for you. He died for you for more than a momentary thrill. He died for you to have eternal life. Its very simple. Just believe. He loves you. God loves you. He cares more for you than a magician. He loves you more than realize. “The Prestige” is that He does.

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  110. Diego Lomein on said:

    I understand everything in the movie except one thing. First to clarify IMHO:

    1) The “brothers” were clones. They were cloned way before the “hand got shot off” incident, therefore forcing him/them to cut off the others’ fingers. He gave him the name “TESLA” knowing it would probably lead to calamity.

    2) I think that the old British guy that helped “Lord C.” turned on him because he figured out that he was drowning his clones.

    3) The blind stage hands were a nice touch.

    FINALLY this is the “prestige” – notice they PAUSE at the end showing Lord C. / Angiere BREATHING bubbles, eyes open. Perhaps the “prestige” IS being the man in the box! I think Angiere survived it, Inception style, you’re left guessing, just like “real” magic shows (David Copperfield, suck on that!) – and PS- I’ve seen D. Copperfield live and met the man (very hairy arms and very weird guy) – saw him in St. Petersburg, Russia. I was part of the production team. These guys take their secrets SERIOUSLY! I know how David does about a third of his tricks, because when you work backstage, you “see” things and certain “illusions” become… well, like the movie says, “once the secret is out- it’s nothing” – thing is, if i posted so much as ONE of his “tricks” he could OWN my ass. JUST FOR WORKING WITH HIM I had to sign a “confidentiality” agreement. Worse yet, if you get assigned to work BACKSTAGE (always the same people for each “region/country/area” – you have to sign ANOTHER agreement basically saying that you agree to incarceration and a WHOPPING five million dollar fine for ANY disclosure and, yes, this is how crazy the TOP magicians are, your FAMILY has to sign over their houses, cars, everything they own sort of like “Mob collateral” – strangest thing? THIS IS LEGAL! Magic “tricks” are the most protected intellectual property in the industry. I WISH I could tell you how he can make a BUILDING disappear or be in one place and then another (just like the movie) in under 10 seconds – we’re talking half a football field in 10 seconds, and NO he doesn’t use a double. OK I think I’ve said enough. I want my parents to keep their home. :) Just keep in mind, most “Serious” magicians are like JACKALS over their “secrets” and this movie is pretty d#!N accurate in terms of what a magician will go through to be the best, acquire new tricks, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, keep THEIR tricks SECRET! This isn’t an “Easy” business, even for a lowly stagehand. To be honest, though, as long as you aren’t kissing his magical ass or asking about his tricks, David is a really cool guy to hang with in person. A little eccentric, but I suppose that’s the price you pay- and anyways, don’t they always say the difference between eccentricity and insanity is…. $$$MONEY$$$! :) So there it is.

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    • Erik on said:

      The only thing left out is that I think that borden gives angier the tesla name so he can go do the same thing. The borden that did this might actually just want an end to it all. He also claims it as his trick because he already cloned himself. Also in the beginning when borden first brings up his big secret trick to his wife he says the world isnt ready for that yet which implies that they cant know about the cloning machine. The reason people question the fact that the obsessed borden wants to know how angier is doing the trick is not how he is doing it but what he is doing with the clones he is creating. Since I feel that the clone thats obsessed is a clone that is why he tries to save the angier clone thats being killed.The clone also seems to be drowning and saying why.

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    • Niall on said:

      from a literature point of view i don’t think the “brothers” were clones, they were actually brothers. thus leading to Angier saying “twin brother” at the end, but Borden had set out that they would be using each other and swapping round way before the hand being shot off. All of the hints throughout the film lead to this, such as everyone just saying he uses a double, Angier at the end stating that it was his brother and the two brothers split personalities (such as their lvoe for two different women etc). But it is a debatable topic!

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  111. Gini Dryden on said:

    Thank you, thank you, for explaining this movie to me. I was obsessed with it because I couldn’t figure it out. I bought the movie so that I could watch it and re-wind it as often as necessary to try and figure it out. I KNEW that Tesla’s machine really worked (you can tell because of all of the hats and rabbits), but I couldn’t figure out the “twins” part of it, and now it makes (almost) perfect sense! Man! That’s one twisted plot! I love magic, so this movie is special to me — wonderful story!!!

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  112. Luis Aviles on said:

    I loved the movie also, great revenge/competition story,but one thing bother me,..why would anyone who owns the most incredible machine that can clone, use it for a lame disapearence act ?

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  113. Fry on said:

    First of all, it doesn’t make sense to me that Borden would be blamed for Angier’s death. All the audience or authorities know is that the trick didn’t work. Why would they automatically blame Borden for this? Also, can someone tell me why Angier’s assistant is in on the whole thing and looking after Borden’s daughter? Are both Bordens still alive since it shows him picking up his daughter then immediately after it shows him again next to all the tanks? Is this the same Borden or did the one who got sentenced to death survive somehow? AHHH

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  114. ROAD PHANTOM on said:

    NOT SURE IF ALFRED HAD A TWIN OR A CLONE. RIDDLE ME THIS ? IF IT HAD BEEN A CLONE….THEN WHEN WAS IT MANUFACTURED (AT TESSLA’S WE PRESUME)? BEFORE HE HAD HIS FINGERS SHOT OFF ? IF SO, THEN THEY WOULD HAVE TO CUT THE FINGERS OFF THE OTHER . OR DID HE HVE THE CLOME MADE AFTER THE FINGERS INCIDENT ? BUT THEN HE WOULD NOT HAVE FOUND IT NECESSARY AS THE CLONE WOULD NOT HAVE NEEDED TO HAVE THAT AMPUTATION. BUT, IF THEY WERE IN FACT BROTHERS THEN THE FINGER REMOVAL WOULD HAVE BEEN A NECCESITY ! CAN’T REALLY BE SURE HERE ???

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  115. Zach on said:

    Im pretty sure i understood most of it straight away, i just came here to tidy up my opinion and make sure. But i have 1 question, are you sure that Bolden and Fallon were ‘twins’ and not clones because when Angiere is given the code word for Boldens Diary he writes down ‘TESLA’. So i was thinking maybe Bolden had seen Tesla and had gotten himself a clone and from there the illusion began. I might be missing something but to me this kinda sounds like it fits more. Little help?

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    • Barry on said:

      I can see the possibility for both twins and clones. Bolden gives Angiere the name TESLA, which might indicate that Bolden knows about the cloning machine and because he uses a double he could have used the machine to “create” his double. On the other hand, Bolden (or Fallon) can’t figure out Angiere’s trick an obsesses over it, which eventually leads to his demise. If either Bolden or Fallon had used TESLA’s maching and knew about the ability to clone ones self then why can’t he figure out the trick? After all, he gave Angiere the name. If Bolden and Fallon were clones they would have never ended up in jail because they wouldn’t have been so eager to investigate how the trick is done. Therefor, I believe Bolden and Fallon were indeed twins and just sent Angiere on a wild goose chase, which actually turned out to provide the ability to clone.

      On another note, Angiere or his clone dies every night when he performs his trick. That is why the blind men wheel out that big tank every night and hide it and also why when Angiere talks about “sacrifice” at the he says something to the point of not knowing if he was going to be the one who died in the tank.

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  116. sbannik on said:

    there are some holes in your explanation of the movie you didn’t explain the part where Borden gives Angie Tesla’s name (possibly hinting that Borden has no brother and that Fallon is his clone) and you said that Borden was the one who told Fallon to let Angie have his trick and leave it alone then later you go onto explain how Bordon was being walked away to his jail cell telling Fallon that he was right and that he should have just let Angie have his trick (this is when you said Fallon had his second line in the movie). This can’t be correct because Bordon was the one who initially told Fallon to leave Angie alone meaning that Fallon was the one who was hung not Bordon. I think. Tell me what you think I want to understand this movie.

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  117. Nathan on said:

    The end of the movie where it says “You want to be fooled.” Is not trying to say that you think its magic and that’s really a trick. Its supposed to mean, you think its fake but really its magic.

    By this time in the movie we guess that Angier is cloning himself, because of the scene where he shoots himself, and the scene where it shows all the duplicated hats.

    The end confuses people because it is supposed to “Finally reveal” the trick, which was Angier is really cloning himself. But since we already inferred that we think that there has to be something more.

    For those of you who still don’t believe its a clone. Theres the cloned hat scene, the scene where Angier shoots himself, and all the tanks filled with Angier at the end.
    Even though we can only see one Angier in a tank we can assume the other tanks are also full and are clones and not doubles. We know this because if Angier was using a double and decided to kill him on the night that Borden snuck under the stage, there would only be one Angier (Lord Corblo) and one double (man on the slab). But because there are 3 men: Man on the slab, man in the tank, and Lord Corblo we can assume they were clones because there are not going to be be 2 people who look enough like Angier to be doubles unless they were actually clones :)

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  118. Nathan on said:

    In my opinion Angier really did get cloned. I will explain to you why.

    Firstly, take into consideration a point that was brought up earlier in this discussion. If both parts of the movie where one magician is reading out of the other’s journal. (Borden reading about Angier’s time in Colorado while Borden is in prison. And Angier reading about Olivia betraying Angier and becoming Borden’s mistress)is just lies to confuse the other, than the whole story falls apart.

    It falls apart for this reason. Lets start with Borden’s diary. If Olivia never was really in love with Borden and she was still spying for Angier, then why would she not have either went back to Angier after she told Borden he was inhuman for not grieving over his wife’s death? It makes sense that Borden’s diary was all fact. The fact is Olivia really was mad at Angier for telling her to spy, so she told Borden how the trick was done and she told him who Angier’s double was. Then Borden found him and convinced him to stop doing to show with Angier.

    Now lets review Angier’s diary. I do not remember the duplicated hats being in the actual diary. That was a flashback. (The fact that it is a flashback can basically prove that Angier did really get cloned). The part that was in the diary was basically just saying that Angier went to America and had Tesla make him a machine, it does not specify what kind of machine it was.

    Secondly, there a few types of plot devices in this movie: Flashbacks, diary entries (when ever one magician is narrating while it shows the oposite magician reading a diary), and present tense.

    People get the diary entries and the flashbacks confused. Flashbacks actually happened and are different from the diary entries. An example of the diary entries is when Angier is reading Borden’s diary about Olivia becoming his mistress. You can tell its a diary entry and not a flashback because only that part shows one mans reading the diary with the opposite man narrating when happened.

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    • Lace on said:

      One question I have is that Cutter tells the judge that the machine is real and he believes it must be destroyed, but he also believes that there is a trap door under the stage that Angier fell into. So how does Cutter think he’s been doing the trick for the 100 shows? If he thinks the machine is real magic and works as a transporter, how would he explain the need for a trap door under the stage?

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  119. Marcela on said:

    My only question is; why when “Angier” shoots the “clone” he (the clone) says wait I’m not…?

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  120. bhushiman on said:

    Qustion– explain me the part where Bordan gives TESLA’s name to Angie, and says this is my trick…

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  121. Stu on said:

    I would definitely agree that it’s not the Borden twins but the Borden clones. Wraps it all up much tighter.

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  122. James on said:

    Whats the purpose of the wooden box which Cutter says was built by real ‘wizards’?

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  123. stevezie on said:

    Well I would add that you can make out which brother survives in the end, one brother (the one who loved olivia) was obessed with angiers and his trick while the other was in love with olivia and was more inclined to move on from angiers in the end. You also get this confirmed in the last seen between the twins as Borden in jail says “I’m sorry about Sarah” to Fallon. In the end the brother who love sara lived on with his daughter, or was it his twins? heh.

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  124. Jake on said:

    Mike, could it be that the film does not have a 100% correct answer? One view would be that Borden could have had a clone (the note that he gave Angier that read “TESLA”) OR the other view that Borden had a twin brother? Thus making the correct answer different depending on how each person wants to interpret it. For background, my dad believes the “brothers” side and i believe the “clone” side. We have both come to the conclusion that there is no right answer.

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  125. jay on said:

    How does the clone know not to come out the time when Borden is under the stage? Who told the clone not to come out? It wasnt cutter so who was it? Usually the clone appears few seconds after the “Real Angier” has dropped to waterbox?

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    • Glenno on said:

      It was clearly Angier’s plan to entrap Borden at whatever performance Borden showed up for. We can assume the clones share Angier’s brain, with all thoughts and memories in tact, so it doesn’t matter whether the one who survives is the original Angier or his clone.

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    • stevezie on said:

      I think it was assumed to be his final show so borden was finally driven by obession by his last chance to learn angiers secret. I think they want you to assume that it was all part of the plan, or that Angiers wanted to disappear and return to his life as Caldlow either way so he was going to fake his death upon completion of his final show.

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    • Will on said:

      I thought that too. The only logical way is for angier to have been looking for and seen borden sneak on stage with the crowd. Then he would have the knowlege before being cloned that this is the night without a prestige. There is no other reason for him not to pop out at the end.

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  126. strukler on said:

    Ok, you guys do realize that Angier/Coldlow never visited Tesla and that the machine never worked because there was no machine right? You guys understand that half of the movie didn’t even happen. These guys just wrote journals to tell eachother fake stories. These guys hated eachother with that much passion.
    This is not a science fiction cloning movie. Its a movie about deception and gamesmenship. Go watch it again and everytime someone opens a journal just tell yourself “this part is just fiction and is only there to deceive the reader.” The authors even admit it as in the end of their journals they each give each other the reveal and the middle finger.

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    • thomas mathieu on said:

      I think you are right. Angier could have lied in his journal, and when he is dying. It would be a magic trick meant to fool Borden. At several points in the movie, we are told that revealing the secret behind the trick makes it boring, Cutter even says at the end “we want to be fooled”. That’s why the movie doesn’t explain that last trick. So we can choose to believe or not in tesla’s duplication device.

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    • Glenno on said:

      No. Not everything is from the journals. There’s also a third person omniscient point of view throughout the film. We bounce around among these three points of view. If you watch carefully, you can tell when which is which. In the “real time” of the film (as opposed to the order in which the film is told), once Borden finishes reading Angier’s journal, nothing at all is based on either diary. They’re both finished and revealed.

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    • lumbar on said:

      no, u r wrong. those parts are true. If u think there was no machines and all the cloning part is shit, then how do u explain in the end when borden walks out of the theatre and a thousand angiers are drowned in their water tanks. that was not part of any of the journals. or why he used blind stagemen.

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    • rono on said:

      then explain the water tank with a dead Angier in it, AFTER Borden shoots Angier. That scene was at the end, after both men had finished each others journals.

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  127. Cheryl Stephenson on said:

    My question is, at the end – is Angier no more, him as well as his replicas?

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    • Edwin on said:

      Wolverine told Batman, “Hey I have a dupe machine bitch!”

      And that Wolverine makes sure there’s a watery grave tank waiting right below the false dropping floor. To make sure Wolverine #2 would die and no one would lean Wolverine #1’s secret. In each of his shows.

      Now Wolverine is really dead, all his replicas/doubles are dead too. I mean come on you saw Batman shoot Wolverine and then Batman checking out the joint, checking it more then twice to make sure no Wolverine replicas/doubles are snooping/hiding around the background to kill Batman.

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      • Dave on said:

        I don’t have anything to contribute to the conversation, I only want to say that your Wolverine vs. Batman comment is f’ing hilarious (and correct, as far as I’m concerned).

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    • bhushiman on said:

      yes he is dead

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  128. Gil Scott on said:

    I think you guys are all buying into the illusion. Consider the bird its killed when the trick is done, and the magician creates the illusion that the bird is alive by producing a duplicate. Its not the clone that dies its the Angier that is on stage who dies each time the trick is performed.

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    • D on said:

      Baloney. Even if only because one would rather be living as the prestige (as opposed to actually dying, or worse, as in the earlier rendition of the trick – under the stage wondering what awe looks like on people’s faces). The real question is: as a physicist, what did Tesla invent? Some vague “transporter man” machine? Some replicator? Or rather – a time machine? That’s right. There is no brother. Only one knows the truth, the other is obsessed with finding the truth. Think it over. There is no paradox. It is only corrected. (How might the physics work. Is there some law, or dare one say ethical force that governs and resolves many worlds from overlapping? Tesla spoke with conviction and caution. Who was he and what did he know?) This movie is allegory that raises questions about the nature of time, and its style tells the story with that foremost in mind, indeed with masterful effectiveness. This is not about some magicians. But you want to be fooled, don’t you?

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  129. Megan on said:

    While the plot has a million and one questions to be asked about it, I only want to know one thing:
    Why was there a different knot tied concerning Julia’s death? Why did she have to die? And if the two Bordens didn’t know which knot they tied, which Borden really tied the knot? In short, what the crap happened with Julia and why. I need more detail!
    I hope you get what I am trying to ask here.
    On a side note, if you are twin, while the heck do you want to spend your life doing this? When did the Bordens decide on this? Because obviously their birth parents could have outed them at any moment and ruined the illusion. Lol Was the Borden who impregnated Sarah the Borden who loved her? Please answer xD I’m going crazy lol.

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  130. Will774 on said:

    How did the Bordens know about Tesla and his research to build a machine that clones?

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  131. Royce on said:

    It’s a time travel machine and not a cloning machine. This claim is backed up by the numerous shots of watches in the movie and also the fact that Angier claims in one of his performances that he has travelled into the future. One of Tesla’s real life associates, Arthur Matthews, wrote a book called “The Wall of Light: Nikola Tesla and the Venusian Space Ship – The X-12” which claims Tesla built a machine that could travel through time among other things. In the book Matthews claims he travels to the future.

    Solution: The double is not a clone but a temporal duplicate. An explanation of the phenomenon of temporal duplicates in time travel can be found here: http://www.examiner.com/time-travel-movies-in-national/temporal-theory-101-nbsp-what-is-a-temporal-duplicate-or-doppelganger

    To summarize:
    “If a traveler goes to the future, in the original history he will find that he vanished from the universe at his point of departure and was never seen again; if he then returns to the past, he restores himself to the timeline, such that it is possible for his younger self coming forward to encounter him as his older self.”

    Angier travels to the future and vanishes on stage, but when he comes back to do the prestige, he reestablishes himself in the timeline causing him to exist both as a self in the present and one from the future. This is why the trap door is necessary. Although Angier completely vanishes from the world upon travelling to the future, when he comes back he is reestablished in the timeline and his body must be dropped through the trap door.

    But in order to escape having two selves, which would not only shock people but also disrupt the flow of time and the laws of the universe, he has to kill himself off. Angier kills himself every time he does the turn. Hes unsure whether he will experience himself as drowning or himself as doing the Prestige. A repeated message in the movie that torments Angier is that “nobody wants to be the man in the box”, for to be that man one has to suffer the “agony” of drowning.

    Drowning is described by Cutter as being like “going home” or like “agony”. “Going home” is an allusion for going back in time for the prestige. The “agony” is being the man in the box drowning during the turn.

    At the end, when Borden is talking to Angier after shooting him, he condemns Angier for the terrible things, unspeakable actions hes committed. This is a reference to Angier tinkering with the timeline which could end up altering time and physical laws with disastrous consequences to all of mankind and the whole universe.

    Another thing in the film is the idea of an alternate Angier, represented by Gerald Root. Root is from a parallel universe that is slightly different to this one. Root’s nose and ears are different than Angier’s. His tophat is taller. There are subtle differences due to him being from an alternate universe. Root and Angier are used interchangeably throughout the film, much like Fallon and Borden, before Root is even introduced.

    Root is the one present at Julia’s drowning, not Angier. Root is clearly the one that sees all of Angier’s hats and the cats outside Tesla’s workshop. Root is the one who follows Borden and sees his wife and child. Root is the one doing the first show seen in the film with the time machine. Root is a symptom of Angier drastically tinkering with time and the laws of the universe. It is also possible that Root is “Edison’s man”, the person mentioned by the hotel clerk who was working for Edison’s men.

    The name “Danton” could be a reference to the 1914 french novel Locus Solus. In his novel Locus Solus, Raymond Roussel tells a story in which Danton makes an arrangement with his executioner for his head to be smuggled into his friend’s possession after his execution. The nerves and musculature of the head ultimately end up on display in the private collection of Martial Canterel. John Ashbery summarizes Locus Solus thus in his introduction to Michel Foucault’s Death and the Labyrinth: “A prominent scientist and inventor, Martial Canterel, has invited a group of colleagues to visit the park of his country estate, Locus Solus. As the group tours the estate, Canterel shows them inventions of ever-increasing complexity and strangeness. Again, exposition is invariably followed by explanation, the cold hysteria of the former giving way to the innumerable ramifications of the latter. After an aerial pile driver which is constructing a mosaic of teeth and a huge glass diamond filled with water in which float a dancing girl, a hairless cat, and the preserved head of Danton, we come to the central and longest passage: a description of eight curious tableaux vivants taking place inside an enormous glass cage. We learn that the actors are actually dead people whom Canterel has revived with ‘resurrectine,’ a fluid of his invention which if injected into a fresh corpse causes it continually to act out the most important incident of its life.”

    There are clear parallels with Locus Solus and the movie. A glass cage filled with water and a dancing girl, a cat, preserved heads of Danton that float in water, an invention which causes a “dead corpse to continually act out the most important incident of his life.”

    This is clearly a reference to Julia’s drowning, the event that had the most impact on his life and which drove Angier obsessively for the time machine, both to try and save Julia and to kill Borden.

    It is also hinted that Borden also uses a time machine himself and that Fallon is his temporal duplicate. Borden tells Angier it is a twin, but he is just lying, not wanting to give away the secrets of the trick. It is assumed it is makeup which makes Fallon look older, when in fact it is Borden’s older self from the future.

    Angier mentions to Alley he wants a machine similiar to one of his colleague’s in magic, and Borden is shown doing his trick under a similiar machine with flashing lights at one point.

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    • Zachary on said:

      Can i just say that a *Clone* say was created through this machine after the *original* started it up and used it. If you create and exact copy of yourself the only way you would know who the the “FIRST/original” would be one would knowing hes making a clone, thus wouldn’t put the gun closer to the clone.

      Unless he used it for the first time, then would have no idea if it would transport the original or the new clone…..

      seems flawed and based on science fiction too much to obsess over?

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  132. Azat on said:

    Quick question. If you were Angier and you knew what the machine did (create a clone), why not create ONE clone, don’t kill the damn thing and use it the way Borden/Fallon used his brother for the trick?

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    • SE on said:

      @ Azat:

      Good question, but I think I know the answer. It was his part of his plan to kill his clones, because Angier knew that someday Bordon would come backstage to try to find out how his trick works. Angier was actually waiting for Bordon. Angier knew Bordon would come backstage out of curiousity because every magician wants to know the big secret of his competetor. Angier knew that everyone would suspect Bordon for killing him by changing the locks on the waterbox. It was a set up so Angier could take revenge on Bordon for ‘killing’ his wife in the beginning of the film by using the wrong knot deliberately.

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    • ron on said:

      Because Angier wanted to do the real thing. HE wanted to be the greatest magician and so on.

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  133. mac on said:

    Hi there!
    i just watched the movie and i think that there are no clones. The scene where Angier kills a “clone” is just narrated by Angier. It doesn´t have to be reality! And the film mentioned more than once, that you should NEVER believe a magician!

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  134. mirona on said:

    The movie was great and I received all the answers that I was searching for about the final scene. A very good site!

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  135. smartguy on said:

    1:32:44 – “Olivia means nothing to me,” Borden tells Sarah. This is true; the other Borden is the one who loves Olivia.

    1:34:07 – “Do you love me?” Sarah asks Borden. “Not today, no” he replies. The other Borden is the one who loves her.

    You realize this happens in the same scene and is totally contradictory right? How can he be both bordens? ;P

    But in all seriousness, are you suggesting that Sarah knew about the twin?

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  136. Joe on said:

    I take that back. Cutter nods towards Fallon at the end of the movie in a similar fashion as if he knew there was twin brothers the whole time.

    I also note that Algiers clones seemed to have the same personality, etc. While the Borden/Fallon didn’t…

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  137. Joe on said:

    Borden tells Angier that his “secret method” was the cypher code, and when he wrote the cypher code on the piece of paper it said “TESLA”…

    I think Borden was cloned, too and did not have a twin brother at all.

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  138. Brett on said:

    i think tony and mike are stuck on what to call it a clone or a complete duplicate. I’d have to call it a duplicate with the same everything. It’s the same exact person in every aspect including memories etc. etc. However when the duplicate is made it’s creating another angier which means they are now two separate people. So the angier we know is standing in the machine and the duplicate in front of him. The angier we knew the whole movie died long before borden, he killed himself in his trick. Him killing himself doesn’t matter because his magic lives on through the duplicate. Notice when he did the first test of the machine the “duplicate” Was surprised by the others actions before the shot? Angier the duplicate thought he was the original.

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  139. allen on said:

    Here’s a major clue. Major!! Remember when Angeir tells Cutter, “I don’t want you backstage on this one. I want you up front.” He wanted him up front so his secret stayed a secret. He knew he was going to frame Borden for his death, because Border allegedly took away what he wanted. That was a wife, family and the spot light. So given the opportunity he took advantage of it. But he did not want Cutter to know how his plan was going to work. Because he knew Cutter would not have wanted any part in someone’s death. Thus Cutter’s reaction when he realized Angeir was alive, but not only alive but with Borden’s daughter. Therefore Cutter helped Borden seek revenge on Angeir because Borden’s brother paid the price with his life. Remember before Fallon dies, he says to the prison guard, “Watch closely”. It wasn’t meant for the guard, it was for the viewers.

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  140. Adam on said:

    The problem with the no clone theory is that it doesn’t fit within the narrative.

    The main issue with having the double introduce the act was the fact that he lacked Angiers showman ship. They said this straight out. We can assume that Cutter worked some magic of his own and truly created a great double but that is ruled out because he wasn’t as involved in this trick as he was previously. He was management. Front of the house.

    Also, there was the fact that Angier wanted so much to be part of the prestige. That shot of him finally being able to be the man that steps out of the box is so important in this film. He’s definitely in the Prestige. He HAS to be. Given these two points we automatically see that there is no double involved. It simply wouldn’t make any sense. He speaks in both the turn and the prestige. This goes against everything that went on in the film before that moment.

    And finally theres a line at the end that put some more holes in that theory. “It took courage to climb into that machine every night, not knowing, if I’d be the man in the box, or the prestige.” How does that line work with this “double” theory? How would courage be a factor when Angier supposedly doesn’t ever step into the machine at all? Am I supposed to believe that’s some random throw away line?

    When he stepped into the machine, the original is transported while the clone is left in the machine (“they’re all your hat Mr Angier”). It took courage to step into the machine because if something went wrong and he wasn’t “transported” then he would end up in that tank himself.

    And I think I saw on the last page that Angier had his body dug up so he could put him back in the tank? Uhm… what? To what end? So the viewers at home watching the movie about his life would see that last shot and be completely shocked. The last shot was simple:

    “You just saw Angiers dead body on a slab and now WAIT A MINUTE he’s here in this tank as well.”

    There’s nothing more to it than that. And furthermore, why would Angier motion toward the tanks right next to him when he tells Bordin about sacrifice. “Here… look over here to my left at these dummies. Dont look at the tank over there though. The one with the dug up body of my double. Ignore that one. Look at these dummies.”

    Huh? What? Why?

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  141. Gus on said:

    Since Borden used a double to do the transporting man, how did he know Telsa could make a machine that would actually double Angier? because “Tesla” was cypher key word. Was it because they were both at Tesla’s show?

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  142. Shane Daley on said:

    Its definatly angier that dies but because theyre copies it doesnt matter which one dies or not theyre both the same person remember when he first tries the machine he is still inside the machine and kills the copy which appears outside the machine!

    So he was the one who drowned then copied himself and appeard at the back of the stage.

    Like the hats that would appear away from the machine in the field/garden and the original staying on the floor.

    It doesnt matter that hes a copy because he would copy himslf again then kill himself……..

    The original angier died the first time the trick was done!

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  143. justafriend on said:

    Well we know for sure there were three angiers, the one that drowned and then was sent to the morgue to be identified by cutter, the one that gets shot by borden and the one you see dead in the tank at the end, so that pretty much rules out people saying there were no clones.

    Whether the fact that the original stays in the same spot or transported i don’t know. Id like to think he kills himself every time he does the act just to show his commitment.

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    • Hank Smith on said:

      I agree with a previous poster that we should call copies of Angier something other than clones. A clone is a new enity that is born with all of the same physical characteristics of the original. In the book the transporter machine transports the original and leaves a dead mass in the transporter which must be disposed of to make the trick pleasing. In the movie the mass left behind is living and drops through a trap door to be drowned.

      Angier’s comment about some nights you die and some nights you are the prestige is very interesting. In the book Angier refers to all of the dead masses “as his little pretiges”. That coupled with Tesla saying that the machine is very unpredictable makes for a real mind twister.

      On IMBD.com they say there are four possibilities. Angier could die every night, some nights, no nights, and something else. I believe the something else was that Angier just made the one double or just had the one look-alike. In that case the transporter may or may not have worked.

      I believe that the awards that the book won were for science fiction writing. So, I do believe that the transporter worked. In fact, in the book Borden turns off the transporter once in the middle of the process and the transported Angier turns out very faint and never dies. Also, in the book no one kills anyone or gets them hung.

      Christopher Nolan does change a lot with the way the transporter works and all of the people that end up dying in the adapted screen play including Angier’s wife, Borden’s wife, Borden (one of the twins), and Angier.

      It seems like Angier would have figured out a way to do the trick without having to die any night or every night he performs the trick.

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  144. tony on said:

    Below is an interview with Nolan:

    Q:Does The Prestige have a hook like Memento?

    A:There are plenty of hooks, yes. I haven’t spent a lot of time talking about it yet because I haven’t made it yet, so we’re still finding it. For me, the main hook is really the extraordinary world of magic at a time when magicians were really the premiere entertainers. A lot of the things really in a funny sort of way were the precursor to cinema and a lot of the things they were doing are now things that happen in movies from special effects and so forth onward. So we get to create a world in which the narrative plays tricks on the audience just the way the magicians are.

    Folks, please READ THE LAST 2 LINES OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

    And…the movie is based on the book, NOT a “clone” of the book!

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  145. Gio on said:

    I agree with you Mike

    Angier used teslas machine to clone himself multiple times and finally frame Borden. I also first believed that Borden and Tesla both worked together in the past and created a clone of Borden, but the whole twin brother idea sounds like it works as well.

    the only thing i dont get is when angier was talkin bout sacrifice after he got shot he said somethin like it to courage not knowin whether he would be the man in the box or the prestige…

    how did he not know which 1 he would be? i always thought that he had his clone go into the machine and that he would just be waiting up top so that he could be the 1 to see the audience

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    • Hank Smith on said:

      I’ve been obsessing over the film The Prestige for the last week after my 5th and 6th viewings. So, I read a synopsis of the book from which the film script was adapted at Wikipedia.com. In the book the transporter machine transported the original and killed the copy/clone. In the movie both the original and the copy/clone are left alive. So, the dilema becomes which one is the original and which one is the clone.

      Initially Angier must have believed that the original stayed in the machine (in the film) because he put a gun nearby the machine to kill the copy/clone. And, since the gun was so much closer to him you must assume that the Angier in the machine killed the transported Angier. This was not an iussue in the book because the Angier in the machine would have died at the instant the other (original) Angier was transported. So, in the film, the first copy apparently kills the original.

      At some point the copy/new original Angier (in the film) figures out that the Angier on stage is the next copy/clone and adds the water tank under the stage to immediately kill the new clone/copy. This step was not necessary in the book because as I previously stated the Angier on stage dies when the original is transported.

      At some point in Colorado Tesla tells Angier that the transporter can be unpredictable. I took that to possibly mean that sometimes the original is left on stage and sometimes the original is transported. So, that would explain why Angier commented that sometimes he dies and sometimes he lives doing the trick.

      The real mind bender to me is trying to figure out whether the original is supposed to end up on the stage or transported. If the transporter makes a perfect copy (which it seems to in the film but not in the book) how can an outsider differentiate the original from the copy. And, from that perspective how can the original and the copy even determine which is which. They both have the same appearance and memories.

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  146. manvi on said:

    okay so lets start here: borden gave angier the clue to his trick of the transported man: the sheet with TESLA written on it. this borden was in fact his twin brother: fallon. So how come he – fallon was puzzled at angier’s ‘new transported man’ trick?

    i know its confusing the way ive written it but this has been troubling me for a while!

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    • Hank Smith on said:

      Fallon was puzzled because he assumed that Angier had another double. That would explain one Angier under the stage and one in the audience. However, Fallon/Borden could not understand how Angier could have been getting drown at his final performance. Fallon assumed that something had gone terribly wrong and he even tried to save the drowning Angier.

      I believe that this was Angier’s planned final or 100th performance. So, that’s why the transported Angier did not appear to the audience. Instead, the transported Angier had a planned escape route for this final performance. Perhaps Angier had planned for the authorities to believe that he had died in the final performance. And, the fact that Borden was in the wrong place at the wrong time was all the better.

      Since the big differences between shows 1 to 99 and number 100 were that Angier was dead, Borden was under the stage, and Angier’s arch rival made Borden look like the murderer.

      I think Angier reveled in his good luck that fate had not only allowed him to end his career as a magician but also ended Borden’s life. Angier even came out of hiding and exposed that he was still alive to Borden who was in jail for Angier’s murder. That made Angier “The Prestige” of his own death.

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    • James on said:

      if your refering to the part where angier confronts fallon in jail, then fallon was only ACTING shocked about the trick so he didnt expect alfie borden to confront him

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  147. Sander on said:

    What about this..
    Cutter is behind everything from the beginning on.

    He is actually the one who had the first doubling device.
    But he had to much competition from other magicians. So to get rid of them, he copied a stage-assistant (angiers wife) which died on stage.. So the magician went out of business.

    There are several more things to this:
    -It would explain the final sentences
    -Isnt it cooincedence that Borden has a twin brother?
    -Cutter says several times that he KNOWS borden has a double

    I actually came up with a lot more things that can explain this theory…just think about it:)

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    • Hank Smith on said:

      I don’t think Cutter was behind everything for many reasons. First, Cutter seems as surprised as he can be when he goes to Lord Caldlow’s home with the transporter. Also, the book, “The Prestige”, uses the magician’s (Borden and Angier)diaries to tell the story. The film needs a narrator and Cutter is a good choice to do that.

      While the film is adapted from the book it has differences. But, the differences are more subtle and not something big like Cutter is behind everything.

      In the book when the transporter is used to transport living things the one on stage is killed at the instant the other one is transported. This is easier to understand because you start with one living thing and after the transporter process you have one living thing.

      Since you end up with two living things from one living thing in the film things get more complicated. It seems to me that Angier/Lord Caldlow would have been better off to not kill or be killed each show. How about the Angier with the gun after the first cloning sits down with the clone and outlines a plan.

      We don’t actually see what happens. But, most people assume that the Angier in the transporter shoots and kills the transported Angier. But, since we don’t actually see the killing it opens up other options.

      How about Angier and his clone agree to work together. One falls through the stage trap door into a bunch of pillows and the other sits disguised in the audience. They could have done this for the first 99 shows. The only problem with this theory is all of the dead Angiers we see in the water filled containers.

      For the 100th show the Angier who will be in the audience could have decided to double cross the Angier who will be on stage and move in the self-locking water tank under the trap door to drown the on stage Angier.

      Could the two scenes I’ve suggested be part of the deleted scenes on the new blue ray disc. No, so we have to go with what we are given in the movie.

      So, every show (1 through 100) in the film Angier or his copy/clone gets killed. And, at every show the original or his copy/clone gets transported to a place above and behind the audience.

      To really appreciate the importance of whether the original stays in the machine or is transported above the audience you need to put yourself in the shoes of the magician. On that given night did you get transported or drowned?

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      • JG on said:

        Well, i theorize that the two bordens are clones as only clones… sorry, DUPLICATES could coexist and cooperate so efficiently. Both having an exact train of thought. So it would not be entirely considerate to ignore the “Cutter had the first machine” theory. (this being completely disregarding to the book version). This has to be true as when Sarah says to Borden to “tell the truth”, he did,saying he did not love her today and that, in fact, he is always talking about himself when speaking of the other, under the form of a white lie.(also disagreeing with the review we are currently commenting on, the borden who says he feels nothing for olivia, and the one who says he does not love Sarah today are in fact the same as both quotes are placed in the same argument/scene. Meaning that borden did NOT love Sarah as he was only asked to tell the truth after he had said Olivia was nothing to him.)

        However, you are wrong about the part that Angier would sit and have a talk with the clone, since, as an exact replica even in current thought, he would have no need for explanation. Not to mention that we DO see him shoot the first replica.

        One thing i dont get is, while Cutter and Borden/Bordens know about the transporter, that they do not understand how Angier does his trick or is still alive. YES Borden knows because he gave him Tesla’s name. YES Cutter knows because of his reaction to Angier’s desire to seek Tesla and NO neither of them were acting. I also dont get why the borden who “killed” Julia couldn’t just tell the other brother what knot it was. This bringing me to my own theory. What if, somewhere between Julia’s death and Borden’s first confrontation with Angier at the morgue telling him “he doesn’t know”, he was Duplicated by Cutter (having the transporter secret shared between them two only) This having “split” (for lack of a better word) Borden’s memory causing one “half” to think of having done the slipknot, and the other thinking otherwise.

        Food for thought gentlemen… Food for thought.

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  148. Bruce on said:

    Wow this also just came up in my head. Borden didn’t lie about his secret. He has no twin brother… its a clone! or maybe not idk

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    • Hank Smith on said:

      In the book Borden has a twin. So, it makes complete sense in the adapted film that Borden has a twin brother.

      I like the idea that the Borden’s are real magicians.

      Angier is a magician who is also willing to use real magic. And, in this film real magic exists.

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  149. Bruce on said:

    Okay a few things to clarify/things im foggy on. Everything makes sense mostly :) One thing to point out, these WERE clones dying. When Angier flashes back to the first clone there was no reason for him to lie (hes about to die c’mon) also he let his diary stop RIGHT BEFORE explaining what the Tesla did teasin him about being in jail(a clue as to that Lord Whatever is Angier). Another thing, remember how as part of the act when Angier dissapears he reappears within seconds on the ledge? well how come when he died the other Angier didnt announce his presense again among the crowd? After all he wouldnt have known he finally frammed the guy that specific night based on how many bodies we see at the end. and lastly heres the kicker ;) THEY KINDA ARE AND ARENT CLONES HAHAHA ok so prepare to be boggled! Remember the flashback to the first clone? notice the copy is standing right where he was a minute before ;) and the 2nd hint to clarify this… “IVE SEEN THE FUTURE AND ITS SCARY BLAH BLAH BLAH” as he announces to the audience. DAM STRAIGHT PPL HE LISTERALLY TIME TRAVELS!!! By mere seconds but still! Cuz lets be realistic. If it were a cloning machine would it coincidentally port one of em conveniently to the balcony in the theatre just as he wanted? so anywho the movie is confusing so maybe the clone thing makes more sense, but im game to hear how yall interpret it :) great movie either way -brain cramp- :D 7Stars out of 5 for this one :)

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    • Bruce on said:

      oh and the clones or w.e in the tanks arent dummies, why would he need 30 dummies? lol

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      • Bruce on said:

        oh one more thing to explain about the clones :) despite that Angier was eyes closed on stage while Borden snuk up there. The angier in the crowd probably got a good look and thats how he knew not to announce his presence after the act, he know he finally framed the guy ;)

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      • ron on said:

        i think this part (why angier does’nt appear) is a bit of a weak point in the movie, but can be explained. you can see borden shout when he see the clone drowning and you can see that it is heard above. also, in order to be seen a flashlight is pointed in the direction of angier, and it could be that cutter is the one pointing the flashlight and we see that he arrived very quickly downstairs.

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    • Jal on said:

      ….wait….what about the hats?? in the first cloning scene!..i dont think tesla took the hats out in the open did he?..his assistant mentions the part that he didnt figure the collabirations correctly..

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  150. Amy on said:

    Is the double they find for Angier a clone?

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  151. Matt on said:

    Oh alright I get it now, thanks guys. I was wondering if you could recommend any movies that are similar to The Prestige- thrillers that make you think and keep you guessing?
    Thanks in advance,
    Matt

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    • Mike on said:

      If you haven’t seen Memento (another Christopher Nolan film), you should check it out. It’s amazing, and a mind boggler, as well.

      Others may suggest Inception (yet another Nolan film), but I don’t think that one’s as big of a mind bender as The Prestige.

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    • viz on said:

      I’m totally confused. The problem with mike’s clone theory is that its extremely far-fetched that borden names tesla sayin that he’s the secret to the trick (indeed, to fool angier) but that very person ACTUALLY invents a CLONING DEVICE that solves angier’s problem. I feel that borden and tesla had some deal so that borden could fool angier and send him away so that he would hav no competition in angier’s absence, and tesla could use the funds from angier. But when tesla ran away, angier had to save his face, so he invent this story. How could borden hav a deal with tesla? Well we saw borden at tesla’s exhibition, and also when angier tells tesla’s abt a machine tesla had built for his ‘colleague’, he realizes instantly what was meant. We know he had actually not built any such machine for borden, so unless they had a deal, tesla would never know what angier meant. But the dummy theory is also confusing! Why did angier even NEED any dummy? No one saw any dummy. The audience would see two angiers only.

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      • viz on said:

        …And both angiers would be alive. Plus, root would hav known abt the dummies, if there were any. And if it was root on the stage, why did he look surprised in the water? It was a part of each of the 100 times the trick was done, wasn’t it?

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    • Hank Smith on said:

      Memento.

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  152. tony on said:

    Matt, don’t be bummed out. There is nothing wrong with me (or half the folks here who “get” it). You simply don’t. Nolan set out to fool us, mission accomplished, you are the proof.

    The scene where he shoots the clone is like half of the movie, out of one or the other’s diary, the movie illustrates FICTION written by each magician FOR the other magician.

    Think about this: if he could really clone, why not have 3 Angiers show up somehow at a show, creating the ULTIMATE transportation trick? That would surely blow Borden’s mind.

    Alas, he COULDN”T do that, as he had only one double, Root.

    We never clearly see all 100 bodies, just shadows. If you killed 100 people, would you keep them around for the police to eventually?

    But, 100 dummies, why not?, nothing illegal with that.

    We do see one at the end…I believe a single dummy. The blind stage crew just magnified the “trick”. They wouldn’t know the difference between a real dead body in the tank, or a dummy, so to fool them created a stronger illusion.

    All dummies. All a trick.

    At the end, notice how Borden shows no great interest in the “bodies” in the tanks? Because as a magician, he’s figured it out.

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    • osun thyruss on said:

      Tony,

      Angier and Root look different. Compare their earlobes and their noses. You always know for sure who is who with them because of those slight differences.

      I hate the use of the word ‘cloning’ because Tesla’s machine would replicate Angier. Cloning would require growing a child from a modified egg, and Angier’s magic act didn’t have time for that. And you can’t “clone” a top hat. I’ll say “double” instead.

      Angier clearly kills a double when he first tests Tesla’s machine. Cats and hats were doubled. When Angier demonstrates the trick with his new machine to land the new show, Rook is not present.

      To suggest dummies in the tanks is completely outside of the story. You could just as easily say God filled the tanks with extra Angier bodies, aliens put them there, or they all were squeezed out of Roger Ebert’s ass. The shadowy bodies in the tanks were made of horseshit and licorice whips, or they were just people having a nice soak. Any of those have as much validity because they are all a viewer’s imagination, not a part of the story.

      Abra Cadabra.

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      • tony on said:

        orsun,

        It’s hard for you to believe Root’s nose & ears couldn’t be fixed, dummies couldn’t be made, but a LIVE PERSON could be “doubled”, in an age where they didn’t even have televisions or cell phones?

        As the narrator says. “you WANT to believe…” The hook is fully in your mouth my friend. “Viewers’ imagination?” That’s exactly what Nolan is depending on, that we IMAGINE such a machine could work. I suppose you believe David Copperfield made the Statue of Liberty vanish too.

        I’ll assume the “copy” story line for a moment:

        So explain to me why Angier would keep 100 dead bodies around? It only took 1 to put Borden in jail.

        And why don’t we clearly see the bodies at the end? Truth is we only see 1 face. Why not more?

        The Copy machine would have been the most fantastic, scientific discovery of the era, but Angier ONLY uses it for a simple magic trick? One that could have been done with a look-alike, say Root, vs the Clones?

        And the “shooting of the clone” was PART OF THE NARRATION, not “real” life.

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  153. Matt on said:

    I just had a question… in the incident where Angier drowns and Borden is accused of killing him, wouldn’t there be a clone in the audience? They never addressed this, and it seems like the murder trial would be different if there was another Angier in the audience while the original was drowning. Does anyone get what I’m thinking

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    • tony on said:

      Good thought…but Angier KNEW he was killing his double (Root, the actor), so he knew not to be “seen”.

      No clones at all.

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      • Mike on said:

        It bums me out that Tony is so set to his ways about this “no clones” thing.

        Angier didn’t kill Root. Angier killed his clone. What number clone was it? We don’t know. But we know it was a clone.

        If you’ve watched the movie and don’t believe Angier cloned himself, there’s something wrong with you. The movie clearly shows the scene where he clones himself and then shoots the clone because he’s surprised by the clone’s presence.

        @Matt – there likely was a clone (or the real Angier was transported to the audience), but he knew Borden was under the stage at that show, and knew he had to frame him, so he never revealed himself. He just let everyone think Borden killed him.

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  154. Alexandra and Malin on said:

    If Borden was cloned he wouldn’t be so desperate of figuring out the “prestige” of the trick, and never would have gone down under the stage and risk getting caught for murder.

    But if he wasn’t a clone, when did he and his brother start sharing lives, they seem pretty close to each other, how come no one ever met the other brother before they came up with the “tranporting man”.

    It seems more realistic that he cloned himself after getting the idea about the trick, but how come his surprisement when discovering Angier’s clone? And during the whole movie he’s repeating that “you should never reveal the secret of the trick”, so why would he in the end reveal for Angier that he’s got a clone? Of course he’s pretending it’s his real twin. After all he gave Angier the clue about Tesla. Well.. it doesn’t make any sense neither of it, does it?

    Or; lets say that Tesla’s machine didn’t work and Angier was using a double, the drunk from the beginning for instance, then who was the dead body in the morgue? And who was the dead body in the tank in the end?

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  155. Walker Hall on said:

    I agree with the original author completely, but it didn’t take multiple viewings — just the one. I came here to see if I had missed anything, but after reading the entire page and all these comments, I don’t think I missed a thing. I think the voiceover at the end is just to make us THINK we might’ve missed something.

    I want to take the rest of this space to comment about whether the clone Angier or real Angier gets transported (and questions like “How does Angier not know whether he is going into the tank or not.”)

    You all seem to be missing the point. This is more of a creepy philosophical question. The answer is, BOTH of them are the real Angier, because all the memories and the same brain and everything are replicated. He has a fear of whether he will be in the tank or the balcony, because in reality, he will be BOTH places because he will be both of those people! His fear is legitimate!

    Think about it: Every night, Angier has that fear, and sure enough, his fears come true and he is the one dying in the tank, probably thinking, “Oh no!! My fear was right!!” and he dies while afraid and in agony. But the only memories that get to survive, of course, are of the Angier who is transported to the balcony and lives. So THAT Angier every night thinks “Whew, it was me who lived, yet again!”

    For example, let’s say it’s the 53rd show. When the trick happens, Angier(1) falls into the tank, and while panicking and suffering and dying, he is thinking, “No!! The last 52 times I was the one on the balcony!! Did something go wrong?! This was a terrible idea!!”
    Meanwhile, at the same moment, Angier(2) is on the balcony thinking “Thank goodness, I survived again for the 53rd time!”

    (The next night, same thing happens, just add +1 to the numbers in the paragraph above. And so on… night after night…)

    Angier literally murdered himself every night. He murdered 100 people during his 100 shows. He was a sick person indeed.

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    • tony on said:

      I’m afraid it is you who missed the point. No clones. You were tricked. I guess you think the hats & cats were cloned also.

      it’s all old fashioned smoke & mirrors. Doubles and flash & bang distractions. Nolan pulled one on the audience, and even told us he was doing it, and yet the audience (us) WANT to believe.

      Could a wealthy man have 100 tanks built? Why yes, as no one questions that. So could he also have 100 dummies made to fill those tanks?

      Why 100 shows? SHOWMANSHIP, fame & glory.

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  156. wow on said:

    WOW!!!

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  157. colin on said:

    there is a line in the movie
    are you watching closely
    in the movie borden is in jail and he does a magic trick in front of the guard an says that one day he will look at him and say are you watching closely
    at the end we he is hung he looks at him and says are you watching closely
    does this mean something?

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  158. EDeLuna on said:

    Though I’m not sure, could there have been a mirror under the stage at the end giving the appearance of 100 clones, when actually there were not? I’ve only seen the film once and didn’t check closely enough.

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  159. Lisa Anderson on said:

    Simple thought. If you don’t believe in magic then why would you believe in cloning? Especially back then.Borden had a real twin and Angier went out to find himself a twin. I think in the end, The magician Borden was never in prison (he let his twin take the fall) and Angier killed himself the same way his beloved wife died. The drunk stepped in to fill his spot.

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  160. The real deal on said:

    Well if you paid close attention… Angier wanted the machine that was made by Telsa for the ”other magician”… If you watch and listen and pick out the clues closely you’ll see that The other magician was actually Borden. Pay attention.

    Telsa said it was a dangerous machine right?
    Cutter said that Borden was a real magician-I think :D- (Before Angiers wife died)

    Borden, actually led on Angier to get that machine.
    Borden knew the consequences of that machine.

    I dont think that Borden had a twin… I think it was a clone.
    See how the clone of Angier was in the tank… See how Borden or Fallon said abracadabra?

    Both clones died or was shown dead.
    Cutter knew of Borden because he worked for him.
    Just like how Olivia went to Borden, Cutter went to Angier.

    Think about it… Don’t be afraid to give me your point of views

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    • supaflyz88 on said:

      very interesting idea, but if borden cloned himself, and knew about the machine, why would was he/his brother so curious to find out how angier did the transporting man at the end of the movie? why go backstage to see how angier did the trick, and risk a setup and getting hanged? think about it.

      this movie has many themes, duality being one of them. Borden and Fallon are natural twins – angier scientifically cloned himself, ultimately resulting in his demise. A possible message: When science delves into the nature, into the natural, bad things happen, and nature will always win.

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    • supaflyz88 on said:

      very interesting idea, but if borden cloned himself, and knew about the machine, why would was he/his brother so curious to find out how angier did the transporting man at the end of the movie? why go backstage to see how angier did the trick, and risk a setup and getting hanged? think about it.

      this movie has many themes, duality being one of them. Borden and Fallon are natural twins – angier scientifically cloned himself, ultimately resulting in his demise. A possible message: When science delves into the nature, into the natural, bad things happen, and nature will always winn.

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  161. Lizo Mzimba on said:

    So, basically what you’re saying is –

    Although it’s an excellent film, it’s perhaps not the best film to randomly watch with your mother on a rainy friday night. Mainly because it’s (one of) the most densely plotted, and unbelievably complex films there is!! *laughs*

    Stupid EPG!! :D

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  162. Travis Talavera on said:

    Guys guys.. Don’t you see? This is what Nolan wants. He is the magician wanting to fool the audience (which is YOU). After all, it’s what you want. To be fooled and to wonder.. With no swt in stone explanation. Because it’s not magic.. It’s just trickery.

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    • StreamBornHappy on said:

      Hi, you remember the scene where Tesla leaves a new and improved machine behind for Angier? In the original machine, a clone is created. But what Angier wanted was a TRANSPORTATION machine. So Tesla improved the machine so that when operated, it transports the object in it to another place and leaves a clone in the place of the original. And yes, for 100 shows, 100 clones die. At the very end of the movie just before the dredits, you can see a water filled tank with a dead Angier-clone inside.

      Hope I was of help! :)

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      • supaflyz88 on said:

        except if what you said was true, then the real angier died when he shot by his clone the first time he used the machine! i think every time the machine is used, the user dies and the clone continues to live the life of the original angier.

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    • Lisa Anderson on said:

      I watched that movie for the 4th time. I finally got it! Nolan absolutely left it to each of us to interpret what WE think happened. I have since tried to discuss it with friends and family who have seen it and all of us had a different view of what happened. I think the “good” Borden bro didn’t know how to tie the knot that killed hughs wife. I think Angier was so in love with his wife and obsessed with his “buddy” trying the “new” knot, that all he wanted to live for was to put him in prison and out do bordens trick(not knowing it was the brother). I think he performed his last show and killed himself for bad Borden(really the good bro saw and tried to save him)to see.Notice how the demeanor of “Angier” was just like the drunk who was his double after the drowning. When Borden went to the bar and said what he said to that guy, he took his advice and played the part. But again??

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  163. Jeff on said:

    Everyone is way off here and not paying attention…

    Borden had a twin the whole movie, which they kept in secret so the trick would always work…

    he sent angier to tesla as a ruse a wild goose chase…but it turns out tesla actually creates a machine that can clone solid objects…which was revealed with the top hats and two black cats…

    the part that im confused about is when Angier performs his new trick does he willingly kill himself for the trick and lets a clone take the next performance? or does he already have a clone and lets him take the fall into the tank to die…

    cause you have to remember he performed 100 shows so 100 clones had to die…that part confuses me does angier kill himself and keeps cloning or does he let his clone kill himself?

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  164. Zoszsoz on said:

    Nice summary.

    I however had a different interpretation. I thought Tesla built a machine for Angier that actually transported the original object somewhere else (as that was the intention of the magic trick), however the machine had a fault it left a copy in its place.

    So when Angier still in the machine after it completes the transporting and sees the other Angier across the room, the other Angier across the room is the real Angier and you hear him say near the end ‘NO WAIT I’M…’. I’m assuming the end of his sentence would have been ‘…the real Angier’ before the clone Angier still in the machine shoots him.

    The other clue was that Angier didn’t know whether it was himself or the clone that died in the tank after the machine completes the transfer.

    Though if you were a clone you’d have the memories of the original person right up to the moment of transportation/cloning. So even if you got transported or stayed in the same spot you wouldn’t know if you were the original or the copy.

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  165. Quizmaster J on said:

    The whole movie is a trick on the audience. They forget that every scene with “duplicates” is actually Bale’s character reading Jackman’s journal. The audience falls for “seeing is believing”. The director Nolan exploits the fact that people think seeing onscreen is what really happens in the story.

    They don’t realize what they are seeing is just Jackman’s journal (which is a fabricated story) tricking Bale, and Nolan is tricking the audience with basically a visual representation of what Bale is reading. The audience IS Bale, because the same exact trick is being played on both him AND the viewer: that the machine makes duplicates magically.

    If you accept that it is possible that what you are seeing is just a fabricated story that Bale is reading, written by his rival (who is a PROFESSIONAL TRICKSTER!), then the story all falls into place.

    Tesla’s note saying the machine’s “secret” is that it is just flash and the “mystery” of science being able to do anything, all to sell the trick better. He proves that even he, no magician, can fool Jackman, an experienced magician, with the right setup and props.

    To answer a question right above me: The many corpses in the tanks were corpses made to look like Jackman, probably by Cutter (Michael Caine’s character), who was an expert at such things (his job is to find and put finishing touches on a lookalike). But Jackman didn’t tell Cutter that to really sell the trick to Bale, someone would have to be murdered (Jackman’s drunken lookalike). He did the performance with the machine with himself on stage until Bale was in the audience. Then:

    When Bale showed, Jackman quickly set up the death water tank, and told his drunken double that he would get to do the trick himself for once. He had to time it perfectly so that Bale would see (what he assumed was Jackman) die, get freaked out and not inspect the poorly lit “duplicates” in the stage area, and get the F out of there. It all worked, and Bale was sold completely on the idea that Jackman could really do magic/break the laws of physics. Thus, Jackman proved once and for all who was the better magician, who could make the biggest sacrifice, by completely fooling the other magician with a freaking magic trick.

    The whole movie is explainable with no magic involved. Nolan made the ultimate sacrifice for his craft – his reputation. Most people will think the ending was a cop out, but they are being fooled and don’t want to look deeper. The voiceover at the end is smacking the viewer in the face with the fact the whole thing was a trick on the audience, but people see what they want to see.

    Bear these things in mind and watch it again. It has no holes. It was all trickery in the movie, and Nolan sold it to millions upon millions. Which makes NOLAN the best illusionist, in the end. :)

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    • Preston on said:

      “Bear these things in mind and watch it again. It has no holes. It was all trickery in the movie, and Nolan sold it to millions upon millions. Which makes NOLAN the best illusionist, in the end. :)”

      That interpretation has several holes, the biggest one being that the drunken double had distinctive earlobes and a differently sized nose that aren’t visible on the corpse of Angier in the ending, which Cutter identified to be Angier. Another is all those tanks full of Angier corpses.

      If the machine doesn’t work, then the movie’s themes of sacrifice and obsession no longer exist. The machine is just a metaphor for Angier killing himself every night to try to best Borden. For some reason, Nolan fans try to over-complicate this film to make it seem more clever.

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    • Marcell on said:

      I don’t totally agree with you. In my opinion Jackman as many times he stepped into the machine – made by Tesla – he cloned himself. And as he said he never knew who he will be. The one who appears or the one who disappears so every time he cloned himself he put a water tank under the stage so that his lookalike would die but not him. He (Angier) knew that there was a water tank and can escape from it, but his cloned self didn’t know anything about the water tank so he drawned. And this is why we can see a lot of bodies in tanks.

      Of course this story can be explained a lot of way but I prefer the one I just wrote.

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  166. Zandy8792 on said:

    Borden really did have a twin. If Borden had in fact cloned himself then that would mean that Tesla already knew how to create clones and Angier wouldn’t have needed to stay in Colorado for months while Tesla created the machine. What confuses me is why Borden would give Angier the key word “Tesla”. Was it simply to lead him on a wild goose chase to Colorado? Did Borden have some sort of relationship with Tesla? Or did Borden know how the entire “movie” would play out if he sent Angier to Colorado knowing he would bring back a successful cloning machine, eventually giving Borden/Fallon the chance to kill Angier/Caldlow? I feel that this story is purposefully left up to he viewer to interpret. There are various questions one will inevitably ask and I believe that’s he point. Unlike an illusion, this trick has no true answer, there is no right or wrong, real or fake. All we can do is wonder. Anyway, great film.

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    • benoitvv on said:

      About Tesla,

      Borden went to the same excibition like Angiers. Where they both watched the ‘show’ presented by Tesla’s assistent.

      Now Borden didn’t know anything about the clone-machine, but he was interested in the special effects. To make his show even more ‘special’.

      So Borden bought a kind of machine which just produces ‘lightning’.
      While Angiers bought the duplicator.

      Same builder, different machine

      Hope my answer helps a bit ;)

      (srry for the English)

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    • Lisa Anderson on said:

      Zandy, you summed it all up. Perfect!

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  167. teaukeri on said:

    The best explanation that I’ve heard of this film was from a youtube user and he said that the film is set up exactly like the magic tricks, or rather, how they explain a magic trick in the film. The audience wants to be fooled, so they are and that’s exactly how this film works. Nolan gave us all the answers right in front of our faces and yet we keep searching for them because we want to be fooled. Nolan is a genius.

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  168. Straygoat on said:

    In the book by C.Priest (on which the film is based)…hard to remember, been a long time since i read it, but i think Tesla’s machine DOES work. Borden sees Tesla doing a demonstration involving electricity in London that is startling and revolutionary at the time…but nothing to do with cloning. Borden mentions Tesla in the diary as a deliberate red herring to send Angier off on a wild goose chase. Unfortunately, he doesn’t account for Tesla actually building a machine that does work. So he inadvertently gives Angier a new, incredible means of performing the trick.

    The book also has a modern day element and if memory serves me right, there is a crypt full of dead clones and Angier (or a clone of him) is still alive today.

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  169. Joey on said:

    Borden says that ‘No ONE can do my trick” which means that it takes two of him to the trick fawlessly

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  170. Happy Steinberg on said:

    This is simply a summary of the film!
    The real question is was Borden actually a twin?
    If he was a twin his act was formed from the very begining.
    Why Give Angier Teslas name. What was Bordens relationship with Tesla?

    I dont believe Borden was a twin. He was a clone and his solution to dealing with his clone was different from that of Angiers.

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  171. Adam on said:

    Guys, there is one final ‘prestige’ that you haven’t considered. That the Tesla machine is a diversion technique, both to audiences and to the film viewer. Oh and to Borden.

    See, Angier could also have had a twin, and lied about shooting his clone. Could even have been triplets. In any case, there is no absolute reason to believe that the Tesla machine actually works. The hats and cats are a ruse, perhaps set up by Borden to fool Angier, or by Tesla. Behind the scenes Angier realises this, but goes along with it as he can use his twin – possibly the same man who was a drunk actor beforehand. Perhaps he is ‘living the life’ just as Borden was.

    This interpretation is what the final line of the film is cleverly referring to when it says we are not really looking because we want to be fooled. We want a real element of ‘magic’. But perhaps, like Angiers says, the world is truly solid all through, and it’s all trickery after all. No Tesla magic. Just Prestige…

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    • Charles on said:

      Then where do all the dead Angier in the tanks come from ?!

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    • robert on said:

      I agree with Adam completely. I think this movie has tricked alot of good reviewers. Angier’s line about people wanting to be fooled because the world is solid all through, is a hint at what’s really happening. Everyone seems to think that the machine actually clones, but people forget that all this tesla stuff is just what is written in the journal. We have no evidence to believe anything angier wrote for borden to read is true. In the end we don’t know how he perfected the transported man, but we do know Angier is very wealthy. The whole cloning idea was just a final trick for borden. But in the end, most people do want to be fooled believing Angier had cloned himself over and over.

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      • Marcell on said:

        But then please tell me why we see a lot of tanks within Angier’s body?
        That is not a part of the diary.

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  172. Dara on said:

    Great website.

    I was sure that I saw bubbles come out of the outh of the Angier clone nearest to the camera at the end.

    I think Jon mentioned it above but how would Borden know about Tesla when his trick didnt involve machines but doubles.

    Big hole in the story for me. Still a fascinating movie. Nolan has some imagination.

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  173. Ashley on said:

    So why is Borden/Fallen with Cutter at the end? (Talking to each other) Were they working as a team the would time?

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  174. Damon on said:

    There is no such thing as magic.

    Magicians (in this case the Nolans) have NO incentive to give you any clues as to how you are being tricked.

    Tesla’s machine does not work, except as a prop.

    Both magicians (Mostly Angier) tell lies through their props, diaries (“Flashbacks”) and in person, especially Angier at the end.

    Watch the movie again with these things in mind.

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  175. Gillen Simp on said:

    How does Angier not know whether he is going into the tank or not. Surely he realises. You see him orcrastrating the enitre act with the stagehands so he must know. Also, i think Bordon is cloned. That would explain how he knws tesla caan build a machine like that. (But then why did he give Angier info to go to Tesla) Maybe the movie is not suppose to make sense.

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  176. what if on said:

    what if the Angier the one borden shot death is not the last Angier? What if Angier still alive? out there, not one but 100 of them? why just clone one when you can clone more than that? just in case.

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  177. jon on said:

    But why does cutter say ‘but you have not been really watching’ right at the end and why does Borden give Tesla’s name.. how would he know Tesla? Was Borden cloned by Tesla?

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  178. Osun Thyruss on said:

    Angier didn’t have to invest huge amounts of money to have all these tanks built (as many as 100) and stored somewhere until they were needed.

    If I were him, I would have used Dr. Tesla’s machine to simply clone a new tank before each show. Waddaya think of that?

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  179. Osun Thyruss on said:

    Thanks for taking the time to lay out a synopsis of the film, it helps clarify things and points out lines that I didn’t catch as relevant while viewing the film. Having said that…

    ABOUT DOUBLES & BUBBLES:

    People who think Dr. Tesla’s machine was just a ruse or a prop are not “watching closely.”
    Also, Tesla’s machine does not “clone” objects, it replicates them. There is a huge difference. It’s possible to clone a cat, but impossible to clone a hat. Just want to get that straight to help enlighten any dim bulbs out there.

    HERE’S HOW YOU TELL, WITHOUT A DOUBT, WHO IS IN THE TANK AT THE END:

    If you look closely, you can easily tell Root from Angier. Root has a bump on the bridge of his nose, and huge earlobes. Angier has a straight-bridged nose and tiny (almost non existent) earlobes.

    Knowing this and viewing the film again, you’ll plainly see that the body on the slab that Cutter views and the body in the tank in the final scene both have a straight nose and tiny earlobes, meaning they are replicas of Angier. Also, the person Borden shoots at the end has a straight nose and tiny earlobes. The last time we see Root is when Borden leaves him tied, gagged, and hanging back stage while Angier lays below stage nursing a broken leg.

    About the air bubble that some fixate over: It is simply there to make it clear that the body is submerged in water and not standing there. The bubble clearly comes from his clothing, not from his nose or mouth. The only way we could interpret the bubble as a sign of life is if it was a tiny fart bubble that traveled from his ass up through his clothes. This may inspire a whole new thread of fart bubble theorists, but that is not my intention.

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  180. ded on said:

    Hello,
    Two phrases from the end that I can’t get out of my mind:
    “The world is solid all the way through”- Angier
    “Now you are looking for the secret”- Cutter
    Despite the obsession, we should all remember that this is a movie and there is no real truth, and any theory should have a solid explanation related to the given clues. Both theories about the machine working or not have major flaws, however it’s clear that the director is giving us all reasons that the machine worked, if that was the case then the flaws might just be errors.
    Problems with “The machine works” theory:
    – Tesla is a scientific and not a wizard. He has been asked by Borden to build a nice framing for his trick (two boxes with lightning connection). Tesla then was approached by Angier who asked him to “build the same thing”, but same what ??. Let say Tesla guessed that Angier wanted a transponder, then how a scientific who just discovered alternate electricity, can develop such a device in few months? Did anyone ever thought about why “Tesla”. They could have come up with some crazy scientist who had some notoriety in the field science/magic.
    – Tesla at some point talks about exact science; How duplicating or transporting an object or a body be possible with mere electricity?
    – The Machine, if you notice the machine used by Borden throws lightning between two boxes (In, Out). The relation sender/receiver is necessary even if you don’t know how it happens. However Angier’s machine is special, you see the device that Angier goes in but there is no receiver or re-constructor device (If you see what I mean) it’s like somewhere (we don’t know were) something gets created. This can’t be science, if you argue that it’s not, then again “why Tesla?”
    – Borden, who was carving to discover how Angier was doing the real trick without a double read the journal while in jail, still it seems to me that he didn’t believe that the machine worked, otherwise he’d have suspected that Angier was still alive and that he tricked him. But most importantly his first question when he saw Lord Cadlow was “you got your hands dirty” and not “how did you do?”
    – Another minor glitch, when Angier demonstrated for the first time his new trick to the manager and Cuttler, no one can claim that there was a trap opening to get rid of the double. it seemed really prefect so that the manager asked to dressed it up to make people doubt. What did Angier do exactly to make it less perfect? Nothing, he was still disappearing publicly without going to some kind of a box or hiding behind a curtain. Oh, and in that scene notice that Angier came back as the prestige using his right arm holding the cane, through the whole movie he used the left. Notice also that he got rid of the cane and the vest before performing the demonstration, but he still came back with them, error ?
    – Is a dead body with several weeks in a jar, stays intact with eyes open and mouth tightly close?

    Ok, that was what I think of as flaws with the machine working thinkers. Now, the flaws with the “machine wasn’t working” theory are so many and obvious that refuting them has been just with speculation.

    thnks

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  181. ggg on said:

    The idea that the clone panicking is revelatory is ludicrous. It doesn’t matter whether you expect it to happen or not. Faced with certainty of being drowned you ain’t just gonna sit still!

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  182. Daniel on said:

    Borden deserves to die, both of them, because one killed (albeit accidentally) Julia, and another helped to hide the truth.
    On the other hand, Angier does not deserve to die. He didn’t kill anyone, and he is a victim, caused by the death of Julia.
    That’s why I hate the ending, it is morally wrong. If walking into a theater with a gun and killing someone is so easy, Angier should have killed Borden long time ago after Julia was drowned.

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    • Morgane on said:

      First of all I don’t think we should think abou it in terms of “deserving to die” (in my opinion no one should kill anyone, we’re nobody to decide whether somebody deserves it or not). But I did feel like you do at first : Borden was much more of a “bad guy” to me, and I thought the ending was unfair. But really, this is not so much about morals, but more about the tricks : they both die, and they both come back somehow : the Prestige.
      Also, Angier was destroyed by his obssession, his need to be the best. And he got so eaten up by it, that he was ready to clone himself and kill himself every night (drowned like his wife).
      Sure, his revenge with the bullet was an act of despair caused by Julia’s death, but then he really does things for glory. And he takes Borden’s daughter. He’s not the good guy nor the innocent victim, he does pretty dark stuff. None of them is all black or all white.
      About Borden : the “first” one, was like Angier, obssessed with his tricks and ready to sacrifice other people (Angier’s wife for example) for a better show. He was the one who said that he tied a simple knot (a lie), so the other Borden would never know for sure. He didn’t care for Sarah and kept going after Angier’s secrets, until he was arrested/sentenced to death for his murder. Which is some kind of a justice since, even if he tried to save him, he did accidentally killed Julia.
      The “other” Borden though : loved his wife and kid more than magic. Wanted to leave Angier alone. Had his fingers cut off because of Angier and Borden’s stupid vengeance plans. He lost both his wife and his twin brother (both hung btw) and Angier takes his daughter. He’s definitely not all white either (living the trick with his brother and lying all the time), and he protected his brother like you said, but because he “couldn’t know for sure” if he tied the complicated knot. At the end he shoots Angier to avenge his brother (who didn’t kill Angier and even tried to save the clone) and above all, to have his daughter back, which is really the most important thing for him. Yay morality !

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  183. TKO on said:

    My theory is that there was no cloning at all. Cutter had an identical twin, just as Borden did. That would account for the three Cutters shown (the sheet scene, the gunshot, and in the tank). Cloning would require a plot around science fiction vs. magic, which is the whole basis of the plot.

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  184. Abijah Gupta on said:

    Thanks for the detailed explanation…..

    Now that I have understood the movie completely… I appreciate it even more!

    Regards,
    -Abijah Gupta

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  185. ThinkAgain on said:

    My feeling about the bubble, alluded to above, is that it’s NOLAN’s final illusion and nothing more — or everything — to underscore that we see what we want to see, and want to believe in magic.

    That is, we WANT to believe Angier crawled into the machine somehow, or had done it one last time, or there was a living clone, but in REALITY, he was probably dead.

    The joke is — sometimes a bubble is still a bubble.

    Paired with the final line from Cutter is the notion we don’t want to believe in reality. We want one final reveal.

    Think of how many people hate the endings of their final series, like the Sopranos, or love them (like Lost). The ones with the sappy neat endings suit the ones that people want, and in some ways, the cryptic ones feed the ones Nolan fans want.

    It’s there to make you believe what you want to believe, to hope for one final trick, or to think about what probably really happened.

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  186. @cicero4patpro on said:

    Alright. Big ups to Taylor, Am and Dishitia because they’re comments have all helped me get to this point. So this is just a post to bolster the Machine doesn’t work defense for those that wanna debate it elsewhere..
    Once you accept that the Machine doesn’t work, you realize theres two subtle things that fools everyone that thinks otherwise. It’s just really hard to explain the theory without people getting bogged down in the visuals. I watched it again and of course its all about the first and last shot of the movie….
    The Hats = The Tanks, theyre both the last little diversion to make you believe cloning works. AM was talking about that final shot, what I noticed was the Hats acctually fade into the final shot of the tanks, ironically theyre simillar shapes…
    As an audience, that final shot of tanks(even without bodies) is what leaves you with the feeling that machine had to have worked, why else would he have the tanks right?

    You gotta remember, Lord Cadlow(thats how I spell it damn it,haha!)
    is LOADED. He states multiple times in the movie that money is never an issue. So he bought 100 tanks (100 shows) just to lure Borden. No point in being cheap in pulling off the greatest magic trick ever.

    Last tank point and I’m done for now…Let’s say the machine worked and the all knowing clone (or original depeding on the night right?) fell into the tank. Why did he panic? I mean he is a magician that knows EXACTLY how the trick worked. He didn’t have his hands tied up like his wife, yet he immediately begins beating (and kicking mind you) on the glass to get out….It’s because the man in the tank was suprised the tank was there that night and has no idea how to even TRY the little fake door like Cutter explained earlier……..ROOT!

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    • Bruce on said:

      Look, I kinda wanna believe it didn’t work too, but let’s look at your “defense”…

      1) hats = tanks…well if you think it worked for the hats…then you probably think it worked for the tanks, the idea that they’re similar shapes (quite a stretch)…or that they faded into each other towards the end…could connect them as proof that it works.

      2) Cadlow bought 100 tanks just to lure Borden…well, at least one of them had a body in it…plus the guy that just got shot…and the guy identified on the slab…makes 3 Cadlows. If it wasn’t for that last body shown at the end it would make sense…again, I think that was thrown in just to muddy it up, not to prove anything.

      3) Why did the clone panic? well, just like the clone that got shot when he first tested it…he knew what was going on immediately…he knew it was set-up to kill him…he had all the memories and knew there was no key.

      I’m not saying it worked either…I’m just saying there’s arguments on both sides…and it seems to have been set-up that way.

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  187. Dishita Turakhia on said:

    There was no cloning machine.. it was always a play of doubles…
    there are lot of subtle hints in the movie….
    the whole movie is abt Angier eventually fooling Borden(and the sudience) into believing that Angier did the scientific magic…

    1.
    In the beginning of the movie, when Cutter is explaining to the judge, he says “magicians are showmen who live b dressing up plain and sometimes brutal truth to amaze.” To which judge replies.. “even without audience” and Cutter says, “There was audience”..(referring to Borden)

    Borden was the audience and he was the one fooled by making him believe that the machine was magical science.
    other hint suggesting this is the end, when Lord Caldwell is dying, he says “we did this to see the look on the audience’s face (referring to the look on Borden’s face)
    also, in the end when Cutter is narrating, he says,” now you are looking for the secret…and they show us the hats .. saying thats the secret we assume .. that the cloning was possible.. but we are NOT really looking… and they show Borden looking at the body in the box and he says “because we want to be fooled”

    Clearly Borden was the audience and was fooled.

    2. Now, about Angier, in the beginning of the movie, when he is with his wife discussing the asian man’s trick, his wife says.. ” but you are pretending to be someone else” and he says.. ” changing the name is different… to save my family embarrassment from my theatrical endeavours ” this means Angier was not his real name at all. He was the real Lord Caldwell. This is also hinted in the end when Lord Caldwell comes and meets Borden with his daughter .. and Borden says.. “you must be Lord Caldwell”.. and he says ” I have been Lord Caldwell all along” This means they were both living double lives, Borden lived double lives in a way with one name and 2 ppl.. an Caldwell/Angier lived double lives with one person but 2 names.

    3. Also, interesting and noteworthy point is, Angier’s diary, the keyword being “Enigma” thats means a riddle… everything in that diary was a set up to fool Borden except the part in the diary where Angier is reading Borden’s diary (because Borden would obviously know about what he had written which again was to set Angier up).. and the part where Borden and Angier really interacted (like their sabotages on each others shows)..

    The diary only starts with his Colordo journey … and rest everything described before it comes from Angier’s reading of Borden’s Diary. So when the reading of Borden’s diary ends (with Olivia’s double crossing).. everything after that is fake… which is the part where Tesla machine works.

    4. Now did Borden know about Tesla? and why was the key to his diary and trick called Tesla?

    Ofcourse he knew about Tesla. They had both attended the conference where Tesla was not allowed to present because of the dangers. The machine shown there is an electric conductor which scares the audience and Borden is amazed looking at it.

    He infact even uses that machine in his trick (and this is shown only once) .. its the trick when he is performing in front of a large audience with Olivia just before the attack and kidnapping happened.
    So he had used it in his trick, not to clone, but simply to add showmanship.

    5. About the kidnap, Borden was expecting to be followed by Angier. Because, when he gets out of the show, he is about to step into his carriage but he sees Angier across the street. So Borden says “i will walk” and Fallom says ” but he didnt come” and Borden says, ” i dont care” … and fallom understands and loads his gun. He expected to be interrogated about the book and the keyword. He probably didnt expect Fallom to be kidnapped and was hence baffled about being double-crossed. But he was still successful in making Angier believe about Tesla.

    6.
    Now in Colorado, when Angier first comes to meet Tesla, he says ” I want the machine that Tesla made for a Colleague. He is referring to Borden buying a machine.

    Also, what was the machine doing? There is never any mention in the movie where anyone says that there was a clone, or for that matter he wanted a cloning machine. Its just we were made to believe that there was a cloning machine. Or probably we expected it, believed it and wanted to be fooled.

    The first time Tesla says ” what you want is simply impossible”
    Infact, when he goes tot Tesla for the last time in anger, he tells the assistant that.. “Tesla never made a machine” and assistant said” i never said he did” and Angier says ” but you made me believe he did” AND THATS THE TRICK..
    thats what he decides to do to Borden.. he makes him and everyone(us) believe that machine existed. But it never did. All he machine did was conduct electricity, through body, like in the bulb experiment, when he first meets Tesla.
    Thats why in the end when Borden says” you went half way round the world to get nothing” and Angier says ” its the look on the audience’s face”

    7. Also, Cutter was a very important character. He always said, if you want to achieve he impossible you will have to get your hands dirty. Angier would not gt his hands dirty. It was his double(Root) who was the bad character and would get his hands dirty.
    This also hints to the fact that one person in the end had to get his hands dirty and kill the other.

    8. Now, coming to important character, that is Root. The first time he meets Angier, he strangles him. He is a character that wants “all the power” over Angier eventually. He also can very easily and perfectly perform and get into the characters. This just proves that he was the one in the end, he was the prestige every night. He sets up Borden and kills real Angier/Lord Caldwell. He plays the character oh Lord Caldwells’ Assistant (WHO DOESNT LIMP) and pretends to be Lord Caldwell (pretends to also Limp that time cos since Caldwell was Angier who was hurt and was limping)…
    Basically this just means he had killed Angier and now was living his life. (infact he was living his life ever sicne the stage performance where he says ” i wouold rather Angier form now on.. I find it amusing”

    9. Cutter is the main guy in the story. He knew all along that Borden had a double. He repeatedly even says it. He is helping Angier in the end to frame Borden bacause. Howeevr on the last show, he gets tricked. Root tells him to not be back stage on this one. Because he knows Cutter would be able to tell when there is a switch between Root and Angier. Root tricks all the 3 people- Angier(by killing him.. so now he can live his life), Borden(by framing him in the same way Angier was going to frame him and by using Angier’s plan) and he frames Cutter (by letting him think it was Angier doing this all along). But when Cutter finds out in the end that he had been double crossed too, he lets Fallon kill Root.

    Also about the big doubt about who was the guy killed when machine was first tried. Well that incident was narrated by Angier(actually Root), who wanted Borden to believe about the machine. It was not truth at all.

    So there were doubles for both, the both lived double lives each in their own way, they disappeared and appeared in turns for their magic. But in the end the only difference was Borden and Fallon were twins and cared for each other whereas Root and Angier were just double and hence he repeatedly kept saying.. noone cares about the man in the box.. the man who is gone… cos for them it was the matter of the prestige.

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    • Bruce on said:

      So you honestly think it was Root that Fallon shot at the end? And then sat there face to face and had a conversation with him thinking it was Angier?…after he recognized the difference from the back of the theater earlier in the movie? Also, the body shown in the tank in the final scene is a 3rd Angier…although I’m starting to think Nolan just through that in at the last minute to muddy the waters.

      (0)


    • Daniel on said:

      very long words, but utterly wrong.
      Just simple tell me, when did Root kills Angier?
      It is indeed a cloning machine, if not why are the hats and cats doing there?
      Also, in one of the scene we clearly saw one Angier shot another Angier coming out of the machine. So if you’re right then you are saying the scene is what Nolan wanted to fool us audience. Bad Taste!

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  188. Dishita Turakhia on said:

    There was no cloning machine.. it was always a play of doubles…
    there are lot of subtle hints in the movie….
    the whole movie is abt Angier eventually fooling Borden(and the sudience) into believing that Angier did the scientific magic…

    1.
    In the beginning of the movie, when Cutter is explaining to the judge, he says “magicians are showmen who live b dressing up plain and sometimes brutal truth to amaze.” To which judge replies.. “even without audience” and Cutter says, “There was audience”..(referring to Borden)
    Borden was the audience and he was the one fooled by making him believe that the machine was magical science.
    other hint suggesting this is the end, when Lord Caldwell is dying, he says “we did this to see the look on the audience’s face (referring to the look on Borden’s face)
    also, in the end when Cutter is narrating, he says,” now you are looking for the secret…and they show us the hats .. saying thats the secret we assume .. that the cloning was possible.. but we are NOT really looking… and they show Borden looking at the body in the box and he says “because we want to be fooled”
    Clearly Borden was the audience and was fooled.
    2. Now, about Angier, in the beginning of the movie, when he is with his wife discussing the asian man’s trick, his wife says.. ” but you are pretending to be someone else” and he says.. ” changing the name is different… to save my family embarrassment from my theatrical endeavours ” this means Angier was not his real name at all. He was the real Lord Caldwell. This is also hinted in the end when Lord Caldwell comes and meets Borden with his daughter .. and Borden says.. “you must be Lord Caldwell”.. and he says ” I have been Lord Caldwell all along” This means they were both living double lives, Borden lived double lives in a way with one name and 2 ppl.. an Caldwell/Angier lived double lives with one person but 2 names.
    3. Also, interesting and noteworthy point is, Angier’s diary, the keyword being “Enigma” thats means a riddle… everything in that diary was a set up to fool Borden except the part in the diary where Angier is reading Borden’s diary (because Borden would obviously know about what he had written which again was to set Angier up).. and the part where Borden and Angier really interacted (like their sabotages on each others shows)..
    The diary only starts with his Colordo journey … and rest everything described before it comes from Angier’s reading of Borden’s Diary. So when the reading of Borden’s diary ends (with Olivia’s double crossing).. everything after that is fake… which is the part where Tesla machine works.
    4. Now did Borden know about Tesla? and why was the key to his diary and trick called Tesla?
    Ofcourse he knew about Tesla. They had both attended the conference where Tesla was not allowed to present because of the dangers. The machine shown there is an electric conductor which scares the audience and Borden is amazed looking at it.
    He infact even uses that machine in his trick (and this is shown only once) .. its the trick when he is performing in front of a large audience with Olivia just before the attack and kidnapping happened.
    So he had used it in his trick, not to clone, but simply to add showmanship.
    5. About the kidnap, Borden was expecting to be followed by Angier. Because, when he gets out of the show, he is about to step into his carriage but he sees Angier across the street. So Borden says “i will walk” and Fallom says ” but he didnt come” and Borden says, ” i dont care” … and fallom understands and loads his gun. He expected to be interrogated about the book and the keyword. He probably didnt expect Fallom to be kidnapped and was hence baffled about being double-crossed. But he was still successful in making Angier believe about Tesla.
    6.
    Now in Colorado, when Angier first comes to meet Tesla, he says ” I want the machine that Tesla made for a Colleague. He is referring to Borden buying a machine.
    Also, what was the machine doing? There is never any mention in the movie where anyone says that there was a clone, or for that matter he wanted a cloning machine. Its just we were made to believe that there was a cloning machine. Or probably we expected it, believed it and wanted to be fooled.
    The first time Tesla says ” what you want is simply impossible”
    Infact, when he goes tot Tesla for the last time in anger, he tells the assistant that.. “Tesla never made a machine” and assistant said” i never said he did” and Angier says ” but you made me believe he did” AND THATS THE TRICK..
    thats what he decides to do to Borden.. he makes him and everyone(us) believe that machine existed. But it never did. All he machine did was conduct electricity, through body, like in the bulb experiment, when he first meets Tesla.
    Thats why in the end when Borden says” you went half way round the world to get nothing” and Angier says ” its the look on the audience’s face”
    7. Also, Cutter was a very important character. He always said, if you want to achieve he impossible you will have to get your hands dirty. Angier would not gt his hands dirty. It was his double(Root) who was the bad character and would get his hands dirty.
    This also hints to the fact that one person in the end had to get his hands dirty and kill the other.
    8. Now, coming to important character, that is Root. The first time he meets Angier, he strangles him. He is a character that wants “all the power” over Angier eventually. He also can very easily and perfectly perform and get into the characters. This just proves that he was the one in the end, he was the prestige every night. He sets up Borden and kills real Angier/Lord Caldwell. He plays the character oh Lord Caldwells’ Assistant (WHO DOESNT LIMP) and pretends to be Lord Caldwell (pretends to also Limp that time cos since Caldwell was Angier who was hurt and was limping)…
    Basically this just means he had killed Angier and now was living his life. (infact he was living his life ever sicne the stage performance where he says ” i wouold rather Angier form now on.. I find it amusing”
    9. Cutter is the main guy in the story. He knew all along that Borden had a double. He repeatedly even says it. He is helping Angier in the end to frame Borden bacause. Howeevr on the last show, he gets tricked. Root tells him to not be back stage on this one. Because he knows Cutter would be able to tell when there is a switch between Root and Angier. Root tricks all the 3 people- Angier(by killing him.. so now he can live his life), Borden(by framing him in the same way Angier was going to frame him and by using Angier’s plan) and he frames Cutter (by letting him think it was Angier doing this all along). But when Cutter finds out in the end that he had been double crossed too, he lets Fallon kill Root.
    Also about the big doubt about who was the guy killed when machine was first tried. Well that incident was narrated by Angier(actually Root), who wanted Borden to believe about the machine. It was not truth at all.
    So there were doubles for both, the both lived double lives each in their own way, they disappeared and appeared in turns for their magic. But in the end the only difference was Borden and Fallon were twins and cared for each other whereas Root and Angier were just double and hence he repeatedly kept saying.. noone cares about the man in the box.. the man who is gone… cos for them it was the matter of the prestige.

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    • Anony on said:

      @Dishita Turakhia

      Yeah you completely over-analyzed this and you did it completely wrong.

      (0)


    • Iagree on said:

      I agree completely both Angier and Borden ultimatley had the same trick (as with the transported man) Angier was the showman so he did it better but Borden and his brother understood it all along which is ultimately why he is left standing.

      Bordens and his brothers Convo in jail

      “You were right, I should have left him to his damn trick. I’m sorry. I’m sorry for a lot of things. I’m sorry for Sarah. I didn’t mean to hurt her. I didn’t. You go live your life in full now, go live for both of us.”

      Borden and his brother were trying to outplay Angier it just seemed like bordens brother seemed to be pursuing it more aggressively.

      The only thing i disagree with is that angier was killed by root, I will have to watch it again and see if i can pick up on this but i didn’t see that, although root was one of the bodies in the end of the movie that’s for sure and it would make since and explain when cutter sees lord cadwell he asks why he (root) is alive (he would have expected angier to be) Its chess they just want you to believe its checkers as with most great movies they make it work for those who cant put 4 and 4 together but can put 2 and 2 together.

      (0)


  189. Bear Dawg on said:

    PIETER:

    I admit I do not recall the “Science Fair” scene(s) in the movie. If that was in the book, but not the movie, I would have a hard time agreeing to pull both storylines together (I did not read the book). If it was in the movie and I just missed it, I would agree this explains why/how Borden knew of Tesla and sent Angier on the wild goose chase to try cloning (at great monetary benefit to Tesla). One could propose Borden partnered with Tesla to break Angier monetarily since Angier clearly had more $$$ than Borden ?? I won’t go there since I do not recall the Science Fair scene(s).

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  190. P. George Stewart on said:

    But isn’t the whole point that what you actually see isn’t necessarily what’s real? To search for meaning in what’s literally portrayed on the screen – not sure if that’s right, given the idea that magic is all about complex stuff going on behind the scenes to create an illusion in what’s seen.

    (0)


  191. sdf on said:

    damn, why the heck are you talking about doubles or killing clones?
    1. The tesla machine worked: multiple hats/cats, Angier shooting a clone right after creating it.
    2. The Original was always drowned, and the clone survives (with originals thoughts and memories, except drowning), and comes out at the balcony- that is the beauty of philosophy here. And Angier was always encouraging himself, that drowning is like “returning home”, and at the end he was told otherwise (“agony”).

    It is a simple movie, great though.

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  192. Collin on said:

    Hello all,

    For starters I’d ditch any inference from “the bubble”, it’s meaningless. You’re supposed to be looking at the clone/duplicate/fake copy of Angier in the tank and trying to decide if it’s a clone,duplicate or fake. In other words you’re supposed to be “trying to figure it out. But you don’t really want to. You want to be fooled.” Or in other, other words, you want to believe in magic.

    The machine is a prop. If you watch closely (“Are you watching closely?”), you never see the machine clone something/someone or transport something/someone. You never see the hat move, you never see a clone of the hat created. Same goes for the cat and Angier.

    If I’m wrong give me the minute and second marker in the film that proves otherwise.

    The double of Angier that is shot? You never see any teleportation or cloning, all you see is a light show.

    The cloning/teleporting is in your mind, you create the illusion yourself. At no time in the movie do you actually “see” anything teleported or cloned.

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  193. AM on said:

    I really enjoy discussing with you guys. :) each time i check here for some new replies, theories, missed details, i pleasantly surprise. this movie begins to hunt me. :) now tesla and cutter, huh?! well i am sure that i would never thought of it. really great stuff to think about! tony please give us your theory if you worked it out.

    it is interesting that no one discussed about the possibility that borden deliberately tied the knot, so he should be feeling guilty throughout the movie for julia’s death. from that point in the movie i got the impression some balance was disturbed, kinda felt sorry for angier, really wanted him to beat borden.

    there are some other lines that makes me wonder. for example:

    borden telling (maybe julia or fallon): “how can we not understand his (angier’s) trick?” – and he is talking about his own trick “the transported man”

    and when he tells his brother fallon that he should let angier do his trick! i think that this is really important, but i just cannot understand it,…yet.

    every theory about this movie is incomplete. it can describe some of the parts but not the others. we need a more universal theory.

    borden being surrounded with tanks of water, looking around maybe searching for something, while cutter says: “now you are looking for the secret…” – maybe this line is for borden? “but you won’t find it cause you don’t really want to work it out” – remeber what fallon or borden said to other twin. “we should let angier do his trick” now remember borden saying (to maybe julia or fallon): “how can we not understand his (angier’s) trick?” talking about his own trick “transported man”. so maybe borden/fallon from the last scene didn’t want to understand the last angier’s trick, so maybe angier won. and why the hell is director showing us the hats, then the tanks of water with appear to be silhouettes of clones, then angiers/clone’s dead body lying on the floor, and then the angier/clone body in vertical position, with eyes open, with bubble from the possible fart? xD it has to be something there! and another thing: why is a blind man standing next to a cloning machine???

    (0)


  194. AM on said:

    I really enjoy discussing with you guys. :) each time i check here for some new replies, theories, missed details, i pleasantly surprise. this movie begins to hunt me. :) now tesla and cutter, huh?! well i am sure that i would never thought of it. really great stuff to think about! tony please give us your theory if you worked it out.

    it is interesting that no one discussed about the possibility that borden deliberately tied the knot, so he should be feeling guilty throughout the movie for julia’s death. from that point in the movie i got the impression some balance was disturbed, kinda felt sorry for angier, really wanted him to beat borden.

    there are some other lines that makes me wonder. for example:

    borden telling (maybe julia or fallon): “how can we not understand his (angier’s) trick?” – and he is talking about his own trick “the transported man”

    and when he tells his brother fallon that he should let angier do his trick! i think that this is really important, but i just cannot understand it,…yet.

    every theory about this movie is incomplete. it can describe some of the parts but not the others. we need a more universal theory.

    borden being surrounded with tanks of water, looking around maybe searching for something, while cutter says: “now you are looking for the secret…” – maybe this line is for borden? “but you won’t find it cause you don’t really want to work it out” – remeber what fallon or borden said to other twin. “we should let angier do his trick” now remember borden saying (to maybe julia or fallon): “how can we not understand his (angier’s) trick?” talking about his own trick “transported man”. so maybe borden/fallon from the last scene didn’t want to understand the last angier’s trick, so maybe angier won. and why the hell is director showing us the hats, then the tanks of water with appear to be silhouette, then angiers/clone’s dead body lying on the floor, and then the angier/clone body in vertical position, with eyes open, with bubble from the possible fart? xD it has to be something there! and another thing: why is a blind man standing next to a cloning machine???

    (0)


  195. AM on said:

    I really enjoy discussing with you guys. :) each time i check here for some new replies, theories, missed details, i pleasantly surprise. this movie begins to hunt me. :) now tesla and cutter, huh?! well i am sure that i would never thought of it. really great stuff to think about! tony please give us your theory if you worked it out.

    it is interesting that no one discussed about the possibility that borden deliberately tied the knot, so he should be feeling guilty throughout the movie for julia’s death. from that point in the movie i got the impression some balance was disturbed, kinda felt sorry for angier, really wanted him to beat borden.

    there are some other lines that makes me wonder. for example:

    borden telling (maybe julia or fallon): “how can we not understand his (angier’s) trick?” – and he is talking about his own trick “the transported man”

    and when he tells his brother fallon that he should let angier do his trick! i think that this is really important, but i just cannot understand it,…yet.

    every theory about this movie is incomplete. it can describe some of the parts but not the others. we need a more universal theory.

    borden being surrounded with tanks of water, looking around maybe searching for something, while cutter says: “now you are looking for the secret…” – maybe this line is for borden? “but you won’t find it cause you don’t really want to work it out” – remeber what fallon or borden said to other twin. “we should let angier do his trick” any clue? and another thing: why is a blind man standing next to a cloning machine???

    (0)


  196. jeff on said:

    Tony, you just hit the nail on the head! It was Cutter and Tesla the whole time!!! Run with it!!

    (0)


  197. tony on said:

    At the end, after Cutter does the bird trick for the girl, he looks around at the cages of birds, much like Borden looking at the tanks. Very nicely done, supporting the clone theory, leading us down that path.

    But still, you only REALLY see one Angier in a tank.

    And Borden didn’t have a look of horror on his face when looking around the room, I’d expect more sock from looking at several dead bodies. He did his trick with a brother, I don’t think he was buying the “supernatural” either.

    I think the tanks were there to remind him of how he “killed” Angiers wife, elaborate all the way, but nothing more.

    I’m still not buying the supernatural twist, tempting as it may be.

    It would have been fun to see Cutter & Tesla sharing a pint at the end, no?

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  198. Jeff on said:

    AM, thanks for the reply. I read the Taylor link and it is very persuasive. I agree, you can’t trust either diary or any of the scenes they depict which really doesn’t leave you much to work with. I have done a complete 180 on the machine. Taylor convinced me with the analogy to the “sawing the lady in half” trick. If you accept that the machine works then you have accepted that it is true magic. Even though there’s no evidence in the movie, Tesla had to be scamming Angier. No one can explain Angier’s trick after coming back from Colorado but everything he did after that point was definitely for an “audience of one”. Everything, even the tanks of water and the apparent bodies in the warehouse are all part of the trick all done for Borden’s benefit. Angier alludes to this when he is dying and tells Borden to “look around you”. At this point, Borden just says “I don’t care”.
    I do think Cutter had his own agenda and if you noticed, he claims to have the rights to the “transported man” when he testifies at the trial.

    (0)


    • Taylor on said:

      Pardon me while I dance a jig that I convinced 1 person on this planet. hahah. Sheesh. Most people that hear my theory out from beginning to end pick up the phone to have me admitted. So thanks Jeff!! hahaha.

      take care,
      Taylor

      (0)


  199. AM on said:

    Cutter Character is the key to understanding that but I can’t quite figure it out.
    To what extent was Cutter involved in Borden’s plan? Cutter’s actions seem contradictory.
    Why did Cutter try to stop Borden from breaking the glass?
    Why did Cutter testify against Borden in court?

    Really great observations Jeff! Now I noticed that it is really important to explain his character. We all are concentrated on burden and angier and maybe it is a great deceive from the man who is the main who’s narration opens and closes the movie. some people think that borden and angiers narrations (stories) and diaries are not relevant, just a distraction, cause they wanted to deceive each other and finally us. and cutter could someone who gets away unnoticed. i also think that he could be the key to better understanding. His actions that you describe it are really contradictory and unexplained.

    take a look at this explanation it is really interesting, there are some new aspects to the movie that no one realized before. and this cutter enigma is also mentioned here. also an explanation why the tesla machine could be a fake, a distraction. you should really read it:

    http://taylorholmes.com/2009/08/26/the-prestige-explained/

    we all want to believe that nolan is a director who understands that science fiction elements would destroy the greatness of this movie which is kind of mystery drama. and i also think that sf elements are not necessary here for creating that mystic atmosphere for several possible endings to the story. i believe that if nolan intended to create a mystical atmosphere he wouldn’t put some crappy sf elements like working cloning machine and such… i don’t know. i always think of that final step called prestige in magic tricks. how can any magic trick be successful? if magician convince the audience (fools them, us) that for moment to think that it could be a magic. if he manages to make audience believe even for just a moment (like angier said in the end) then he is truly great! so another important part of the magician work is a deceive. with left hand he is showing us something, and assuring us that what we see is actually real, even when it is not. but to deceive us he must be skillful with hands and persuasive with words at the same time. because that is the part of the prestige that makes difference between good and great. so while doing that, with his right hand he is already preparing the ground for his next magic while we are fascinated by the “magic” of his left hand. i am sure that most people who attended some magician show saw the common joke that magicians usually sell to the audience there. this could also be in this movie and maybe we are missing it. this one is really common: the magician preforms several tricks successfully and then at the end of his show, he says to the audience that he will finally reveal his last trick, and that “magic” behind it. so then everyone concentrates and watches him closely expecting to see what they really wanted to see the whole evening. this way they are missing something else. magician starts to tell lies convincing the audience that he is willing to show them the trick step by step. but in fact he is just doing another trick right in front of their eyes. and this time he’s not even bothering much cause the audience are fooled thinking that they seem to understand what they are looking at. and then, finally at the very last moment (like in this movie :D) the audience understands that they are being fooled again, that magician didn’t explain the trick at all, instead he show them more of his “magic” the biggest trick of the whole evening! all that is left to do is to applaud him – he really show them magic. well that is a prestige.

    so likewise the director himself want to make us believe that there’s a magic here somewhere in the movie. we can smell it! and would the real magician ever reveal his tricks to us? of course not! because it wouldn’t be a trick anymore! everything we think of after this nolan’s magic trick, we will eventually be fooled! no matter how strong some theories may look like i can’t get rid of that impression, that we are missing something and nolan (if he is really genius) works it out, so that we’ll never find it.

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  200. AM on said:

    Cutter Character is the key to understanding that but I can’t quite figure it out.
    To what extent was Cutter involved in Borden’s plan? Cutter’s actions seem contradictory.
    Why did Cutter try to stop Borden from breaking the glass?
    Why did Cutter testify against Borden in court?

    Really great observations Jeff! Now I noticed that it is really important to explain his character. We all are concentrated on burden and angier and maybe it is a great deceive from the man who is the main who’s narration opens and closes the movie. some people think that borden and angiers narrations (stories) and diaries are not relevant, just a distraction, cause they wanted to deceive each other and finally us. and cutter could someone who gets away unnoticed. i also think that he could be the key to better understanding. His actions that you describe it are really contradictory and unexplained.

    take a look at this explanation it is really interesting, there are some new aspects to the movie that no one realized before. and this cutter enigma is also mentioned here. also an explanation why the tesla machine could be a fake, a distraction. you should really read it:

    http://taylorholmes.com/2009/08/26/the-prestige-explained/

    we all want to believe that nolan is a director who understands that science fiction elements would destroy the greatness of this movie which is kind of mystery drama. and i also think that sf elements are not necessary here for creating that mystic atmosphere for several possible endings to the story. i believe that if nolan intended to create a mystical atmosphere he wouldn’t put some crappy sf elements like working cloning machine and such… i don’t know. i always think of that final step called prestige in magic tricks. how can any magic trick be successful? if magician convince the audience (fools them, us) that for moment to think that it could be a magic. if he manages to make audience believe even for just a moment (like angier said in the end) then he is truly great! so another important part of the magician work is a deceive. with left hand he is showing us something, and assuring us that what we see is actually real, even when it is not. but to deceive us he must be skillful with hands and persuasive with words at the same time. because that is the part of the prestige that makes difference between good and great. so while doing that, with his right hand he is already preparing the ground for his next magic while we are fascinated by the “magic” of his left hand. i am sure that most people who attended some magician show saw the common joke that magicians usually sell to the audience there. this could also be in this movie and maybe we are missing it. this one is really common: the magician preforms several tricks successfully and then at the end of his show, he says to the audience that he will finally reveal his last trick, and that “magic” behind it. so then everyone concentrates and watches him closely expecting to see what they really wanted to see the whole evening. this way they are missing something else. magician starts to tell lies convincing the audience that he is willing to show them the trick step by step. but in fact he is just doing another trick right in front of their eyes. and this time he’s not even bothering much cause the audience are fooled thinking that they seem to understand what they are looking at. and then, finally at the very last moment (like in this movie :D) the audience understands that they are being fooled again, that magician didn’t explain the trick at all, instead he show them more of his “magic” the biggest trick of the whole evening! all that is left to do is to applaud him – he really show them magic. well that is a prestige.

    so likewise the director himself want to make us believe that there’s a magic here somewhere in the movie. we can smell it! and would the real magician ever reveal his tricks to us? of course not! because it wouldn’t be a trick anymore! everything we think of after this nolan’s magic trick, we will eventually be fooled! no matter how strong some theories may look like i can’t get of that impression, that we are missing something and nolan (if he is really genius) work it out, so that we’ll never find it.

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  201. Jeff on said:

    I don’t know, I think it was just a fresh clone body in the tank and I don’t put much stock in the bubble. If you look, it appears that there might be a clone body in every tank (one for each night the show was performed). I agree that the movie does flirt with science fiction with the Tesla machine but I don’t think we are given enough information to argue whether or not the machine really worked. I just accept that it did because of the scene where Angier tests the machine and then shoots the clone. For me the big question is what was Borden’s whole plan and what was Angier’s whole plan and in the end whom was used by whom. I still feel that Cutter is the key to figuring that out. Many of his actions seem contradictory. Why did he stop Borden from breaking the glass on the tank and then testify against him in court. As I said before, he definitely switched sides but at what point in the story.

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  202. Jeff on said:

    I think it was just a fresh clone body in the tank and if you look, it appears there might be a clone body in every tank. I’m not putting much stock in the bubble. The movie did seem to flirt with science fiction but I don’t think there was enough information to say whether the Tesla machine really worked or not. I’m just accepting that it did because of the one scene where Angier tests it and then shoots the clone. For me the big question comes down to what was Borden’s whole plan and what was Angier’s whole plan and which one was used by the other. I feel that the Cutter Character is the key to understanding that but I can’t quite figure it out.
    To what extent was Cutter involved in Borden’s plan? Cutter’s actions seem contradictory.
    Why did Cutter try to stop Borden from breaking the glass?
    Why did Cutter testify against Borden in court?

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  203. nils on said:

    Hey jeff. go see the ending again. the last 5 seconds. watch very!!!! closely. you see an airbubble in the tank and (what i think) dead angier opening his eyes (!!!). Theres another key scene in the movie i think:
    when cutter go to see angier in London and he enters the theatre where angier and the tesla machine are in there is an old man who’s blind staring in his (cutters) direction. just in the next frame you see the old blind man again sitting next to the tesla coil. angier cloned that man for trying the machines possibilities. and because he’s blind he has’t noticed that he has a clone. that old man is the key i think. and its a great metaphor for our minds. we are “blind” for what is really happening. see that scenes again and tell me what you thought guys.

    i love this movie so much. Nolans movie are the best i know. i love open endings or great confusion.

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  204. Jeff Davies on said:

    The Cutter character is interesting to me. Was he wise to it the whole time? I thought he was truly on Angier’s side in the beginning but at what point in the story did he switch over to Borden/Fallon’s side?
    Also, did the Fallon/Borden who was hanged know the full story. It would seem that in order for the plan to be played out, he had to be sacrificed. But why would he scream that he was innocent as he watched Angier walk away with Jess?
    Sorry, all I have is questions.
    Jeff

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  205. AM on said:

    Your rational theory is really strong and it could be the truthful one. It seems that you really get deep into the movie, and your thoughts really helped me better understand one of the rational solution to this movie. But, I think (or maybe like to think :D) that director wanted to have more than one rational and mystique (magical) explanation to this movie. Maybe for this director the point of the movie is not a twisted flashback story with genius ending suggesting that every trick is just a simple three way practice, that works with the premise that audience want to be fooled. maybe the point of it is creating a situation where everyone questions his/her rationality and belief at the same time, therefore trying not to be fooled. maybe he crated a balance between any possible ending, without only one solution, but 2 or more! it could have been both way, or as more as you think of the duplicates involved, it could have been even more then two epilogues! it is unsatisfying thing to live with this thought, but if this movie gets everyone thinking what might be the meaning, then that it is really one masterpiece of art! we are all finite beings so we like to see the end of something, the explanation to put things to rest, therefore not realizing that it could be more then one (both rational and mystical) possibility. i like to think that that director deliberately created a plot for two parallel endings that could be possible and explained. he also provided a doze of mysticism for people who are more of the believers. every line in this movie is important to get a bigger picture.

    I want to point out that there are some details in the film that might be crucial for our understanding of it.
    I see that some people say that there are no more that two doubles of both magicians, that the clones don’t exist. well take a look at this video in the end at and look at the shadows in the water tanks. that must be the clones. from 1:09 to 1:11 of the video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZc3EsElqeA&feature=related

    I can’t believe how details are important part of the movie! Sherlock Holmes was right! xD

    These are also things that you didn’t mentioned in your theory and I would like to discuss it.
    throughout the movie there is a competition between two magicians to surpass one another.
    There are always three step rule that magicians use, although it appears that angier is more believes in magic (attracting bigger crowd to the show is magical thing), then a practical borden who knows what he knows.

    Three steps:

    -the pledge
    -the turn
    -the prestige

    We can understand what first two steps means, but when it comes to a “prestige” if we try to explain the word “prestige”, we will realize that it has both concrete and abstract meanings! “the prestige” could just appeared to be the forth (in fact the fifth) ace from the sleeve of poker mind angier that could be a decider of life and death. how does he got up there we don’t know! It’s a magic better see it is unexplained science.

    When I listen the final quote, I always ask myself these questions. Why aren’t we looking? We don’t need to work it out. Why? And finally why do we want to be fooled? Trying to answer them is not easy at all.

    I think that this final sequence with Cutter’s monologue is more then explaining the basics of the three steps. Cause at that point we (viewers) already know what happened two angier and his double/clones. This last trick is performed right in front of our eyes, and magician Christopher Nolan through the voice of Cutter is asking us “are we watching closely”, “are we going to be fooled?” the answer is yes! cause he is magician and we are the audience.

    Final line says could be anyone’s but let’s see them as angier is telling them: “now you are looking for the secret. (twin brother looks around water tanks, the hats showed up and then again the water tanks showed up) “but you won’t find it, cause you of course you don’t really looking (we are just making analogy with the hats, and not looking the final trick, we don’t look closely to see clone shadows in the tanks in the final scene). “you don’t really want to work it out” (thinking, instead we should only watch closely for the air bubble going up in the water tank of angier). you want to be fooled (believing that what you’ve see that angier is dead) is real.
    I would suggest that in the book “the prestige” by christpoher priest angier is not death at the end.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZc3EsElqeA&feature=related

    shadows of the possible clones you can see from 1:31 to 1:32
    air bubble is in this same video from 1:33 to 1:35

    So are we fooled thinking that we are not? How can director (the master magician)always fool us (the audience)? Easily by convincing us that we understood his prestige. would chirstopher nolan as a magician let us (the audience) understand the magic of his film (trick)? Of course not he wouldn’t give us his prestige! :D

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  206. Andy M on said:

    After reading all of this discussion and watching the movie again (for the 4th time) yesterday, I’d like to chime in with my own thoughts on the ending.

    I think The Prestige is mostly a great movie, however, I’ve come to the conclusion that the ending is fairly unsatisfying whichever way you look at it. One interpretation seems to ask too little of the audience, and one asks far too much…

    When I first saw The Prestige about 18 months ago I never really questioned the idea that the machine worked as we were shown – that it actually creates clones and that Angier was murdering one of his clones each night that he performed the trick. I basically understood it the same way as the author of the original blog post above explained it.

    However, as much as I enjoyed the movie at the time, I was always left feeling a bit unsatisfied with the ending – mainly because, as many reviewers noted, it seemed very odd that the movie would inexplicably turn into a science fiction film so close to the end. I know that Tesla was a genius and way ahead of his time but the idea that he could have invented a cloning device belongs in the realms of pure fantasy and is not plausible in the slightest.

    Then last week I saw Inception and was reminded again of what an absolute genius Nolan is. He’s clearly a very intelligent film maker who likes to confound his audiences ideas and expectations. The ending of Inception is already causing a great deal of debate in forums and blogs, and I’ve already read about 5 plausible explanations on what was really going on in that movie.

    So then I started thinking about The Prestige again and decided to re-watch it and also research what other people were saying about it (which is what led me to this discussion).

    It was here that I came across the idea of the machine not working and that Nolan basically fooled about 99% of the audience who believed the machine worked as we were shown.

    I have to admit that I’m totally in love with the idea that the machine never actually worked, it would seem to be classic Nolan, and absolutely the kind of thing that he would do. In many ways, that idea makes the most sense, and it’s that idea that I most want to be the correct interpretation.

    However, I’m still not totally convinced of it…

    We basically have two ideas to play with. Either the machine was a cloning device, or it never worked.

    If the machine really works as we were shown, then not only is that idea a bit dumb in my opinion, but it also seems to ask far too little from the audience (not something you would expect from a Nolan movie). The entire explanation seems to be handed to the audience on a plate in the last 5 or 10 minutes and it appears to leave you with little doubt as to what happened.

    But isn’t the whole movie supposed to play out like a magic trick? And shouldn’t a magic trick leave you trying to work out what really happened?

    From the opening line of “Are you watching closely?” to Cutter’s closing words of “Now you’re looking for the secret, but you won’t find it because of course you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to work it out. You want to be fooled” would strongly suggest to me that Nolan is playing with the audience and that he’s just played some kind of trick on us. Those lines suggest to me that what we’ve just been shown might not actually be what happened, and that somewhere there is a much more sensible explanation than the idea that Angier really had a cloning device.

    So when I read the interpretation that the machine never actually worked, that was music to my ears. Now we have an explanation that takes the movie from fantasy back to the real world.

    So I watched the movie again yesterday with that idea in mind, hoping it would all make sense at last. Unfortunately I finished the movie not completely convinced of that idea and still feeling very unsatisfied.

    If that interpretation is indeed correct then I think Nolan is asking a little too much of his audience (even the most intelligent members of the audience) and there are a few things that don’t make much sense.

    If the machine didn’t work then there still has to be a plausible explanation of what we were shown.

    First of all, if the machine didn’t work then he must have employed a double. Perhaps it was a sobered up Root who was paid enough money to be trusted to do 100 shows. And given that it was clear that Angier intended to set up Borden for murder it meant that Angier always intended to have his double murdered so I guess he didn’t have to worry that his double would ever reveal the secret.

    However, if it was a double then it must have been the double that introduced the trick in order for him to be on the trapdoor (with the real Angier being back of the audience and becoming the Prestige).

    So (if the machine didn’t work) we’re being asked to believe that not only did Angier find a perfect double, but that double was also able to impersonate Angier so well on stage (introducing the trick) that no one was able to tell it wasn’t him – including Borden. We were told that Root was an actor so it was plausibly him I guess – but only just.

    We’re also being asked to believe this double was so similar to Angier that even Cutter couldn’t tell the difference when he identified the body. It does seem a little bit of a stretch to be asked to believe that Angier found an absolute perfect double that even had Cutter fooled. Also, if it was Root he must have had plastic surgery (ears were very different in previous scenes) and I’m not sure if cosmetic surgery was possible back then.

    There’s been some debate about the cats and hats at Tesla’s laboratory and whether they prove the machine works, however, as someone noted, that was all from Angier’s diary which was written entirely for the benefit of Borden – and seemingly all written after Borden was incarcerated. So we shouldn’t take any of that at face value, and I don’t have a big problem with that.

    However, if the machine didn’t work then we’re also being asked to believe that everything Angier told Borden after he had been shot was also a lie. To me that’s a little unsatisfying, but still plausible I guess.

    If Angier was using a double it would also seem very odd that he would cart what must have been an empty water tank from the theatre every night.

    If the machine didn’t work then the biggest mystery is who (or what) is in the water tank in the final shot. I absolutely do not buy into the idea that Angier found 100 doubles (that could also impersonate Angier’s voice and mannerisms), that’s far more ludicrous than the idea of the machine actually working, and I give Nolan far more credit than that. So if Angier used a double, who was then drowned and presumably buried afterwards, who was in the tank? Someone, possibly in another forum, suggested they were wax dummies, presumably made to fool Borden. However, that doesn’t really make sense either. Angier didn’t know (or believe) that Borden had a double, so Angier must have thought Borden was in prison and about to be executed. He was never expecting to see Borden again, so the idea that he had wax dummies made doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Neither does the idea that he might have dug up and ‘pickled’ the body of the dead double.

    So in conclusion, as much as I love this movie, I don’t feel very satisfied with either explanation of the ending. I prefer to believe that Nolan is too clever a film-maker to have intended the sci-fi/fantasy ending. However, the explanation of the machine not working also doesn’t make a lot of sense within the context of what we’re actually shown, and seems to provide far more questions than answers.

    If the machine didn’t work then basically Nolan is asking the audience to invent what really happened, because he gives the audience almost nothing in the way of clues or hints that there is an alternate explanation. Although I suppose you could argue that real magicians don’t usually provide any clues about how they perform their tricks.

    So ultimately I’m not convinced of either explanation, I just hope that one day, Chris Nolan sheds some light on it.

    As a final note, I can’t help but feel that there’s something that we’ve all missed. Something else hidden in the movie that would unlock the mystery of what really happened (if there really is a mystery to be solved). Is it true that Christian Bale said in an interview that there was a hidden story in the movie (or something along those lines)? If that’s true then what’s the hidden story? Is there something we’re missing?

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  207. taylor on said:

    If you’ve seen the movie inception you may appreciate this – I just did a dream map of the various dream layers throughout the movie. My count… wait for it… SEVEN. Check it out here:

    http://bit.ly/93UtQm

    Love to hear your thoughts.
    Taylor

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  208. the butler did it on said:

    Mike,

    Point taken.

    This may not be the proper forum to post the following comment, so I will feel no ill will if you were to remove this, but I wanted to share that I just saw a 3:30 am showing of “Inception.” It is every bit the mind bender you would expect it to be, coming from Christopher Nolan (especially at that hour of the day).

    I think everyone on this forum who enjoyed “The Prestige” will enjoy “Inception.” I also think it will take no less than 10 viewings before I can even begin to grasp all the nuances of the plot, so perhaps you might like to start up a thread to explain “Inception.”

    Cheers

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    • Mike on said:

      I’m very much looking forward to checking out Inception this weekend. Should I have even a tiny bit of understanding, I’m sure there’ll be a tread about it here on MovieSnobs.

      However, it may have to wait for the DVD, as I’m sure it’ll take repeated viewings of the film before anyone “gets” it.

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  209. Taylor on said:

    I think this movie as abso-flipping-lutely brilliant because everyone commenting here on this page is correct. Christopher has worked so diligently to walk the line and obfuscate the raw truth from all of us for a reason.

    a) For those of you who love to go to the show and be dazzled – by the amazing abilities of the performers on the stage – this movie will not disappoint. You will be completely caught off guard.

    b) For those of you who want to know how it works – its there for the taking – if you don’t mind working for it.

    For me personally – I am a member of the former group – I want to know how those pesky magic tricks are done. Nothing else will satisfy. Don’t give me the slight of hand. The dazzling untruth won’t do. So, in my opinion, you either have here the absolute worst movie ever made that was accidentally mislabled as a period piece drama when it should have been labeled as sci-fi tripe or you have one of the best movies ever published. Ever.

    But that is the beauty of this movie. You can either believe the hype and bedazzlement of the magic trick that is The Prestige – that somehow 100 years ago Tesla really did create a cloning machine capable of cloning an adult, something well outside our scientific capabilities even today – or you can realize that the movie itself is a magic trick itself and you really do need to watch closely to understand it.

    But the choice is all yours. What kind of entertainment are you into? As the movie states – are you one who wants an escape from the confines of reality if only for a few moments… or do you want something more? Christian Bale himself even says so on the DVD extras – that the movie itself is a magic trick. But I’m ultimately not attempting to convince anyone as everyone is looking for something different in their entertainment.

    One subtle difference I have with Tony’s comments above is that we do in fact see quite a number of bodies in the tanks. But it wouldn’t matter if you had 200 bodies all of them finger printed and autopsied, I still wouldn’t believe they weren’t cloned. The magic trick can be pulled off any number of ways – though difficult – it is not only possible its the only logical explanation. Otherwise, Tony, well done on your defense of the non-magical explanation of the movie.

    [LINK REMOVED – no spamming please]

    Taylor

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  210. Mike on said:

    Gentlemen – I’ll say this once and once only; play nicely.

    I will have no issue removing your comments and banning you from the site if you continue to name call and act like children.

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  211. tony on said:

    Well look at the Big Brain on the Butler!

    I’ll play. Even though apparently your intellect so far superior to all, you can’t admit you’ve been fooled by a movie.

    1) The movie is the movie and the book is the book. The differences between the 2 are tremendous. You can’t compare the 2. if you start now, Angiers wife didn’t die, and the movie isn’t what Nolan created it to be. And this entire thread is a waste of time.

    2) No, we can’t trust ANYTHING in both journals, but don’t you get that. It’s YOU who picks and chooses to defend your point, your threads are filled with contradictions. Angier shooting Angier is in the journal. it’s a fable. Brilliant fiction too, but Angier “blew it” by letting Borden know he wrote the journal just for his viewing. Not a true journal, but a fictional account to mess with the jailed Borden.

    You claim WE SEE IT WORKING, but you don’t, it’s colorful narrative from Algiers journal!!!!

    3) Go see Momento. See what Nolan can do with his story telling.

    4) The cloning is the distraction. Remember OJ? “if the glove don’t fit, you must ….” Cloning is the red herring Nolan spoon fed us. Consider this: Borden did the trick first in the movie, Cutter said “he uses a twin, or double”. The person he creates tricks, was not all that impressed. You can make the jump that others magicians in the past have done a similar trick, no?

    The flashbacks at the end assemble the clues of the “cloning” for ingenious viewers like you (and other 5 year olds) to go “AHA-clones” if you were too slow to pull it together yourself during the movie. THAT was the closing o the sale. You were sold on what Nolan wanted to sell you, the suspension of reality, the “magic” people go to see. Nolan is the master car salesman, he sold you the loaded Lexus when you went in to by the Prius. And your convinced you bought the Prius as you drive away.

    I’ll pretend to buy your theory for a moment: IF the cloning machine DID work, all Angier has done with his show is the duplication of Bordens trick, with the difference of appearing in a balcony.

    Cloning: that would then (and now) be equivalent to discovering fire, and yet you believe it in this context? if Angier could clone himself, why do a trick that most would think about and say, like Cutter, “oh, he used a double”…If he could REALLY clone, and REALLY wanted to one up Borden, a third Angie may have appeared on another balcony.

    But you defend it by stating it’s the “simplest” explanation”???

    5) Don’t focus on my plastic surgery comment, it’s as you say, only a “minor player” in my theory. But Cutter says something when presenting the cleaned up Root the first time, alluding to “not bad for the time I had, or if I had more time with him”… Also, it didn’t take appear to take too much effort to find Root the first time. Finding another double may be easier than inventing a machine that breaks all the laws of physics.

    6) Cloning could simply be a “Deus ex machina”, but where is the trick or magic in that? I give Nolan more credit. I wouldn’t have to “WATCH CLOSELY” to come to that conclusion, it’s spoon fed to us.

    7) Again, YOU can’t have it both ways: you preach that just because you didn’t see it, it could have happened, but when I repeat your same line, I’m a simpleton? So just because we didn’t see 100 dead Angiers in tanks, we believe there are…again you were fooled.

    Your football stadium is a nice way to defend you taking the bait. Why don’t you ask the team to pull the hook out of your cheek?

    8) And try to have a discussion without the insults. My original posting you replied to didn’t include name calling, I’ve resorted to matching your comments to point out your form. You are defining “internet tough guy” nicely.

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    • Bear Dawg on said:

      TONY & BUTLER:

      I jumped in on this a week or so ago and I am impressed by both of you (in earnest) as to how deeply you look into this movie. I have NEVER done a blog before and this movie has inspired me to get in there and spar. I am also glad you are both agreeing to play nice from now on (smile).

      I will keep my question as brief as possible. I believe everyone has agreed Angier and Borden “planted” diaries for eachother to read. In my original “post” I was admittedly perplexed as to how Borden came up with T E S L A as the “key” to his journal of secrets? He never met, spoke or knew of Tesla and we know he did his trick with a double as Cutter described (all agree on this).

      If you did happen to read my post, I am intrigued by Tony’s “Root” theory because Tesla represents the supernatural, not magic. I have now had more time to think about it (thanks to both of you). I believe there was a Tesla (Bowie) and Tesla was never able to clone – but Angier did pay him some serious loot to try.

      I now think Angiers DID reference Tesla in his journal in hopes Borden might waste whatever money he had in chasing the Supernatural (i.e. try to get him to bankrupt himself – like Angiers almost did to himself). Borden knew he had a bogus Angier journal and thus threw the T E S L A code back at Angier as the key to his own (Borden’s) journal. This would make Angier think Tesla could still do the clone thing (and maybe get Angier to throw even more money down the rabbit hole). Borden didn’t have the money or the desire to chase the supernatural – he had the trick.

      I again focused on the Borden/Fallon tongue-lashing, when Borden gets angry at Fallon for not “out-smarting” Angier. The simplicity of the story (in my humble brain) is not that the cloning is the obvious trick (like Tony says, the description of shooting the clone after the zapping is done is a recital of Angier’s “journal” which is written for Borden – to lure his money and passion into chaing Tesla).

      The simplicity of the story is that once Borden/Fallon failed at bankrupting Angier (because he did not outspend his obssession), Angier had a 100 show booking and he (Angier) by all accounts, was a better entertainer (stage presence). Borden said to Fallon “it’s done -it’s over.” He meant the battle was over, Angiers had won (as a better entertainer and with more money).

      All of the above absolutely presumes Root or anyone else who could imitate Angier would appear “wherever” it would be most entertaining for the audience. My “guess” is that Root was trained to be the stage guy who drops into the water so Angier could enjoy the Prestige. They probably ran it this way for several performances BEFORE Borden went backstage and got framed for the murder. It was a matter of time and did not have to be exactly predicted as to when Border would go backstage/under stage. When he did, Cutter was there to jimmy the lock shut, kill Root/Angier double and put Borden in the hangman’s noose (out of loyalty to Angier/Lord Coldwell, who had the money).

      Borden/Fallon settles the score in the end by shooting/killing Angier as the magic tricks were done and Fallon was just seeking an eye for an eye (since his Bro was killed by Angier).

      That’s one man’s opinion. I did not read the book, but I love reading all of your analyses and welcome any thoughts or “holes” in mine.

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      • tony on said:

        Bear Dawg, glad you’ve joined the party!

        The journals: Neither can be fully trusted, but the best way to sell a lie, is to pepper it with truths. Borden knew Angier knew of Tesla. But, Borden fooled Angier with the journal first, just as he could do the transported man first.

        The director Nolan on Tesla:

        The Supporting Cast: “They were an incredible bunch. I mean, [David] Bowie, particularly, was a very essential figure in that casting because Tesla’s a small part, but a very important part in the film. The audience has to see him on screen and immediately invest a tremendous amount of belief in his abilities as some kind of, well, magician, wizard. I felt that to get a movie star to do that would be very distracting. Bowie’s presence and charisma comes from a different place. It’s harder to define, but very palpable. I’m very lucky to have convinced him to do it.”

        Notice he described Tesla as a “Magician, Wizard”, not an inventor, scientist or physicist.

        Both Borden and Angier saw Tesla’s doomed exhibition. I do think Angier-told Tesla visit occured, but Tesla tricked him in a big way. When Tesla saw that Angier bought the hats & cats, his knew had had Angier fully hooked.

        I don’t think Cutter was in on the death of Angier (Root). I think he was duped by Angier, and didn’t like being used as a pawn to help convict Borden.

        The last time was saw Root (that we are sure of), he was hanging, fighting very angrily due to Borden. He, being an actor who wanted the limelight, must have been humiliated, and betrayed by Borden.

        The water tanks. How Angiers wife died. Angier wanted to rub it in the face of Borden, what better way than to make him re-live the tragic mistake that put them on this track. All of this was set up to frame Borden and his brother, Angier knew one of the twins would come looking for answers. Even as he was shot, he wanted to sell his “story”, as the Chinese master, Borden and even Tesla sold theirs.

        Angier hurt his leg by falling where pillows/tarp should have been. In order to make a perfect standing drop, perhaps Angier convinced root that this was the only way to do it in the confined space under the stage. I’ll have to watch the beginning again (my dvd is with a friend), to see if he immediately and instinctively went to the lid, (like he may have night after night), only to find it locked.

        Another thought: Borden(or his brother) died by hanging, like his wife. Angier (or root) died in the tank, like his.

        Yes, I know, I may be reaching on some of this stuff, trying to rationalize my “machine did not work” theory, but the director showed us the mechanics of several tricks, I believe he left this movie open to interpretation for us to try to figure out.

        I also believe this is why forums like this are used: bouncing opinions off each other. Thanks for reading!

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  212. the butler did it on said:

    Wow, if you really think I believe that then I have severely overestimated your ability to discern sarcasm. My apologies. Let me stick with simple ideas for a simple mind then.

    You don’t see Cutter actually leave the theater. You don’t SEE Borden’s twin firing the gun either. Using your logic, anything not explicitly shown on screen is open to whimsical interpretation. Who’s to say then that it wasn’t Cutter who shot Angier if we are to follow your logic?

    Of course no one actually believes that. That’s my point. Just because it isn’t shown on screen doesn’t mean the story didn’t intend it to unfold that way. We could play this game all day: do you actually SEE Fallon buried underground? No, but you assume it happened anyway. You don’t see Cutter exiting the theater, but you assume he did. You assume Borden’s twin shot Angier because the film shows him holding the gun. Not everything has to be spelled out. Use your imagination. The one visible clone could be representing a whole host of clones in the distance. It’s called filmmaking. You don’t hire an entire stadium of extras to tell a football story, you only film the front rows and allow the audience to fill in the rest with their imagination.

    Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. And sometimes a cigar is more than a cigar.

    The tanks at the end of the story are a gray area. I’m willing to buy that the appearance of a single clone is significant ONLY if there is a plausible explanation for doing so. Your theory about Root exceeds the bounds of credulity. The biggest hole in your theory: contrary to what you say, we in fact SEE the machine working. The film explicitly shows Angier using the machine for the first time and then shooting his clone. Did you miss that entire flashback or do you only choose to acknowledge what fits in with your theory?

    You can say that the flashback was part of Angier’s ruse, but if you believe that, then you have to allow for all sorts of possibilities. If everything in the two journals is just a flight of fancy, then who’s to say Angier ever met Tesla? If you don’t trust anything that’s presented on screen, then maybe the entire second act where Angier goes to America is part of his ruse. Maybe nothing in the journals happened the way they were shown to have happened on screen. Maybe there was no Tesla at all.

    Or maybe you should just watch the film the creators made, not the one in your head.

    In this case, the cigar is just a cigar. You’ve misinterpreted, and sadly it is you who is conned. Angier didn’t believe Borden was using a double. He wanted to believe there was more to it. But there wasn’t. That’s what the narration is saying. You want to believe there is more to the ending then cloning. There isn’t.

    Whether you like it or not, that’s what the script says. Read the screenplay. Read the book. There is no question that cloning exists in the reality of this particular story. On the other hand, there’s nothing at all to suggest Root got facial reconstructive surgery and was ever more than a minor character.

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  213. tony on said:

    Mr Butler did it: Why the anger? Is it because you were fooled?

    Did anyone actually SEE the machine “work”? No.

    Did you SEE dead bodies in tanks? How many? What night was this show on? What number? It’s never said. Borden refused to look at the tanks the dying Angier wanted him to, as HE knew better than to fall for the distraction.

    Minor character’s screen time: How much time did Tesla have? Not much, but without him, where is the story? Tesla is the master magician here, he sold the machine to US the audience, and “we” along with Angier bought it hook line and , well you know.

    No, my theory is based on the what the narrator tells us.

    Cutter knew Borden had a twin the first time he saw the trick. I knew when he “magically” appeared in the apartment. That was easy.

    You want to believe a machine could clone someone, in an age where they barely had indoor pluming.

    Get it? “YOU WANT TO BELIEVE”…

    The directors trick was to lead down the path. You believe the hats. You believe the clone? The movie shows us that all the “magic” is purely tricks: The dead canary, catching the bullet, the chinese master and Bordens transporting man.

    I’ve read your string of what you believe, YOU also allude to what “wasn’t shown”, so why slam me for my explanation of Root?

    You stated the simplest answer is most likely THE answer. Simple. It was a trick.

    Not so simple: Tesla invented a machine that could something the modern man can’t do. And yet you defend this to be the “prestige” of the movie? You were fooled.

    Simple: The director placing clues to distract you into thinking you solved the riddle. You are not as clever as the director. (nor am I).

    Do you think your “imaginative” little Cutter story above adds anything to this discussion, other than making you look even more foolish?

    What time does the Easter bunny show up at your home?
    Colored eggs appear, your butler-parents sold you the story, so wow, it must be true!

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  214. tony on said:

    Machine did not work. You were all conned. That’s the “magic” here. Only one body was visible in the tank at the end, not 100.

    Root was so humiliated by Borden (first befriended, them betrayed-hanging him in public) that it’s easy to see that the egotistical Root decided to dedicate himself to Angier to get his revenge (and become wealthy to boot). Angier was wealthy enough to have Root’s slight physical differences fixed, creating a true “twin”. Root drowned. Root was in the last tank. (yes, Angier could have PAID to have his body dug up and put in a tank of something to “pickle” him.

    Clue: Angier buried Fallon alive, only to have him dug up….

    Far fetched? Not compared to a machine that can duplicate humans, that many of you bought.

    Most of the movie is “acted out” narration of either Borden or Angier, so most of the movie can not be trusted as fact.

    Do you really think such a machine worked back then? Go back to watching Startrek.

    Nolan set up us viewers to think we figured it out, but again, it was a set up from the beginning, and he TOLD us from the beginning he was going to trick us.

    I find it funny, the lengths many of you have gone to explain the clones, doubles, etc. Think about it: if Angiers truly had such a device, would he still only use it for the sake of a “magic trick”?

    Would you?

    Great movie.

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    • the butler did it on said:

      So you’re basing your entire theory on the fact that only one body was visible in the end.

      You choose to believe that Angier had his double, Root, “fixed” with plastic surgery of some sort–a fact one would assume happens offscreen since NOTHING REMOTELY IN THE FILM substantiates this–somehow figured out the exact night Borden would attend his show, drowned Root on that night, somehow disappear from the theater without anyone knowing, had Cutter identify Root’s body as his in the morgue–which you claim he paid to have dug up instead of what would make logical sense; i.e., the police took the body away from the theater and brought it straight to the morgue. Am I getting that right?

      No, you’re right. That’s much more plausible. I don’t know why the film makers even bother writing all the thematic stuff about TWO MAGICIANS dueling each other when it all makes so much more sense having some minor character who appears for three minutes of screen time turn out to be the lynch pin on which the entire story hangs.

      Hey, while we’re choosing our own adventure, I want to throw this into the pot: It was Cutter all along pulling the strings! He set the whole thing up from the beginning of the movie, staging the “accidental” drowning of Angier’s wife, thereby manipulating Angier to frame Borden, thereby manipulating Borden’s twin to murder Angier. If you think about it, we never actually SEE Cutter leave the theater at the very end. I mean we see him walking away, but do we actually SEE him walking out of the theater. In fact, we never SEE Borden pulling the trigger either. We only see him holding the gun after Angier’s been shot.

      If you think about it, it’s pretty obvious that Cutter pretended to walk away, hid behind the tank and shot Angier himself because Borden’s twin didn’t have the nerve to pull the trigger. That’s why you only see him holding a gun at the end and not actually firing it. Borden’s twin then takes pity on the dying Angier and decides to explain the whole thing to him. MEANWHILE, Cutter runs off to bang Scarlet Johanson, which was his goal all along but he had to get rid of the two magician’s first.

      He then meets up with Borden’s twin, giving him back his daughter, who he has been holding hostage in order to blackmail Borden’s twin into doing his bidding. And that’s why you see Cutter at the beginning and end of the film–because he was the mastermind all along.

      It makes perfect sense! None of that is shown on screen, therefore by your logic it must have happened!

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  215. Mario on said:

    Personally, I prefer to go with the most evident theory. The machine made a clone of Angier, identical in thought and memory until the time of separation. As he says in the end, he never knew if he’d be the man in the box or the Prestige. Technically, he was both. Once the machine cloned him, one mind became two, but only one new consciousness was created: the previous one either wound up as the Prestige or in the tank.

    Start with A. With the machine, A becomes A and B, randomly decided. One time, A is the Prestige. The next time, A becomes A and C (B died…), but C is randomly picked (by nature/chance, etc.) to be the Prestige, while A drowns. In the end, the man we know as Lord Caldlow is some offshoot of the original Angier.

    It’s impossible to tell the difference between the clones, though, because the Prestige will always assume he is the original one, since his memories (all of Angier’s, plus all of the clones up to that point) suggest so.

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  216. One of Angier's clones on said:

    All the people who are looking for an explanation, you are just looking to be fooled! Just like Angier tries to find the secret behind how Borden does his Transported Man and refuses to believe it’s as simple as using a double, you viewers (well, some of you) refuse to think that Angier really used clones in each of his performance, because it’s to simple, and perhaps you aren’t fooled enough by that!

    And one quote that I found interesting, is when Borden says to the little kid in the beginning: “the secret impresses no one.. the trick you use it for, is everything.”
    Angier was so determined on finding Borden’s secret that he failed to see the trick behind it all.. So who cares what’s his secret, what he used, whether he used a clone or his twin, it’s what he used it for that means everything in the end!

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  217. Logan on said:

    i have just one question, on the day Borden decided to investigate the trick and got set up for the murder of Angier.

    How did Angier know not to appear at the top of the balcony cause Borden was watching his clone drown.

    of course you cant have Borden see the Angier and then hear another Angier on the top of the balcony.

    (SORRY FOR THE DOUBLE POSTING I FORGOT TO CLICK THE NOTIFY ME ABOUT COMMENTS TO MY POST. SO PLEASE RESPOND TO THIS ONE IF BOTH OF MINE ARE ON THE SITE)

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    • the butler did it on said:

      Clearly it was not explained in the film makers, so we are left to make up our own explanations.

      We are shown a shot above the stage of the audience waiting for Angier to complete his trick. The audience notices that something has gone wrong when they hear Borden’s muffled yells underneath the stage. This alerts Cutter who then rushes under the stage to witness Borden standing next to the tank as Angier is drowning. Cutter says to Borden, “What have you done?” before trying to free Angier and failing, yet again, and not realizing that Borden was calling for help and also trying to save Angier. Cutter will go on to testify in court, leading to Borden being sentenced to hang. All of this is shown unequivocally in the film.

      I think a reasonable and plausible explanation for what we don’t see would go something like this: Angier is either cloned or teleported to a hidden area in the balcony. Each night, he waits for signs of something to go wrong. If no signs are presented, he reveals himself in the balcony and finishes the trick. On the night that Borden goes underneath the stage to investigate, he hears Borden yelling beneath the stage along with the audience. While everyone is distracted, he escapes from the premises, leaving everyone to find one drowned Angier. He then resumes living as Lord Caldlow.

      When he resurfaces as the Lord, only three people in the world now know that he framed Borden for his own murder: Borden, who no one will believe, Cutter, who will not reveal his secret because of the fraternal code of magicians, and Fallon, who is mute and who also would not be believed because of his association with the “guilty” Borden. What he didn’t count on was that Fallon is in fact (also) Borden.

      This seems to be a reasonable explanation that does not defy logic. It does have a weakness in that in order for the plan to work, Angier would have to take a gamble that Borden will cause a commotion beneath the stage. If Borden were to simply watch Angier drown without calling for help, or simply turn around and run out of there, he could not be pinned for the murder. (The only witnesses behind the scenes would be the stagehands, who are all blind. I suppose the bouncer would have seen Borden go backstage, but he was semi-disguised, and without directly being witnessed standing next to the tank watching Angier drown, Borden would probably not be convicted.)

      However, it is not implausible that Angier, who is so obsessed with revenge, would be willing to take that gamble. It is also not implausible that Borden would succumb to his own obsession to know Angier’s secret. Since Borden has disguised himself and gotten backstage in the past in order to sabotage Angier’s tricks, it is reasonable to believe that he would do it again. Angier is counting on this fact to frame Borden. He is further counting on Cutter and the judge to draw the same conclusion in court.

      I admit, it is a bit of a stretch. It require a measure of suspension of belief to buy that Angier, who does not trust his own clone as an accomplice, would leave the success of his plan open to so many variables out of his control. However, it is not entirely implausible (even if a bit improbable), and requires no more suspension of belief than it takes to buy that cloning is possible. Now THAT’s the real challenge.

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  218. the butler did it on said:

    In response to Fmalchemist: thanks so much for reposting word for word your spam that was originally posted somewhere else. It’s so convenient to not have to go searching for the original post so I can ignore a second time the same paranoid, crackpot theories that cannot be supported by the film and which blatantly disregards any of the thematic issues presented by the makers of the film in favor of your own pet axe to grind. Let’s go for a third repost so we can ignore that one too!

    P.S. You seem to have Michael Caine’s character confused with Ricky Jay’s character.

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  219. Fmalchemist on said:

    all of you are arguing over the wrong thing…why? Because your not really looking, cutter was his OWN side, look at this, and it will make your personal rating for that movie go up ten folds.

    Here is the trick you didn’t see. A magician starts off with three assistants and trains them work in his act. They do the work he gets paid. One of them dies in the act and the magician disappears telling the other two how to make acts of their own all the while he is getting paid. One magician steals an act from another magician. He gets the other magician to steal the act and he gets paid. The two magicians start trying to kill each other to be the center of the act and still he gets paid. When the big act is finished he gets paid yet again. Each magician has died over and over again in one way or another and yet nothing has happened to him. Now who is the real magician and who is the magic trick? He has the machine and all the count’s fortune. All the magician has is his family and no way of providing for them.

    Here’s a thought. Did you ever think that maybe, just maybe, the old magician drowned the girl on purpose to start this feud so that he would never be out of the money? He send them out to steal the chinese man’s magic trick. He warned them about the knots. He warned them about the kissing. They switch places for a night. A different person ties the knot. The old magician , however, hooks up the girl. She drowns. The old magician stands idly by with the axe. What says that the knot was the problem? They killed alot of clones in that tank. It must be possible to lock the tank so you can’t get out. What says the old magician didn’t lock the tank that night?

    Hmmm.

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  220. the butler did it on said:

    I meant to add that the “original” Angier has to die at least once over the course of all that cloning to give the film thematic sense. If he can manipulate the machine so that it is always a clone who dies, then there is no sacrifice being made, hence no theme. The whole point is that he is willing to kill himself to satisfy his obsession. Borden/Fallon is willing to never live a full life to satisfy his obsession. Both sacrifice the people around them for the sake of art and revenge.

    So that’s my two cents.

    The only thing I don’t understand is at what point did Cutter know that Borden had a twin brother, and why did he decide to help him in the end?

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  221. the butler did it on said:

    2) Everyone seems convinced that the clone is the one that is transported. Am I missing something here?

    I only watched it once, but it seems to me that we, the audience, can’t tell if the “original” remains in the machine or if a clone is created in the machine and the “original” is teleported. There’s really nothing to conclusively prove either theory. I think it is meant to be left ambiguous.

    What I don’t understand is why everyone is so sure that it is the new clone that is drowned each time. He explicitly states in dialogue that each time he steps into the machine, he doesn’t know whether he will end up as the man in the box or the prestige. Doesn’t that tell you that even the character within the story is not sure how the machine functions?

    I, personally, thought while watching the film that the “original” hat/cat/Angier in the machine never teleports, thus it is a clone that is created some distance away. In this interpretation, the “original” is drowned each night while the clone is teleported to the balcony, takes over, and becomes the new “original.” I believe this because Tesla and his assistant never realized they had made clones. Tesla’s assistant explicitly states that he didn’t think to take measurements because the “the hat never moved,” leading me to believe the original hat remained in the machine.

    Either way, it doesn’t matter because a clone having the same memories and personality up to that very moment will not really know if he is the clone or the “original,” and will, therefore, presume to be the original and carry on with the plan. This would explain why he doesn’t know if he will become the man in the box or the prestige.

    This also makes thematic sense, because that whole dying speech is about sacrifice. Angier realizes in the end that the whole point of performing is to see the look on the audience’s faces. The theme of the story is about how obsession has taken over these two men’s lives that they sacrifice everything to perfect their art to the point that they lose sight of the ends they had originally wanted to reach. The means become everything to them.

    Angier is unfulfilled in the earlier trick with the hired double because he is left beneath the stage while the actor sops up the glory of the prestige. In his new act, he is still unfulfilled because he enters the box each night not knowing if he will die or live to be in the prestige. That is the horror of what he has done. Otherwise, who cares if he murders 100 clones? The point is that by not knowing, he could be killing a clone or he could be killing HIMSELF, and he is willing to take that risk night after night all in the name of his art and revenge.

    Borden, too, lives only half a full life. That is the sacrifice he makes to his art. Both men’s obsession preclude them from ever finding fulfillment. That is the main theme of this story.

    To throw in some backstory of 100 clones would render everything silly and meaningless.

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  222. the butler did it on said:

    I just watched the movie and came across this webpage. I agree with pretty much everything you guys (there seems to be a few authors to this page) put forward.

    I don’t understand why everyone is so fixated on a few points, but I would like to throw in my two cents:

    1) 100 shows — people seem intent to interpret 100 shows to mean either he had 100 doubles or 100 clones stashed away. This violates the character we are presented with in Angier/Caldlow.

    His character is one who is obsessed with the performance of his trick. He sacrificed everything for his art: a possible romance with ScarJo, his friendship with Cutter, even the pleasure of seeing the audience’s faces when he is left beneath the stage while the drunk actor reaps the glory of his performances. Such a character would not endanger his act by recruiting 100 accomplices. You wouldn’t do it to rob a bank either because the only way to truly get away with any crime is to have NO accomplices. The more people who enter an equation, the more variables there are, the more likely a plan will fail. This is supported by the film when we are shown how even ONE double ends up blackmailing him. In fact, this is probably why he decides to murder his first clone: he doesn’t want accomplices, and he doesn’t trust even what is essentially himself. He didn’t even trust his old friend Cutter for his final trick, the one played to trap Borden.

    To suggest that there are 100 clones waiting around, watching tv, hanging out, waiting for one to disappear each night and never return (since one is drowned each night as evidenced by the multiple tanks with dead clones in them) and not ask any questions and be totally cool with that plan is just absurd. Not to mention that at least one of them would likely slip up and be discovered, and–whoops–there goes his whole meticulously crafted plan for which his entire continued existence is built around. The same goes for 100 hired doubles. He couldn’t trust one, how do you expect him to procure and trust 100? Have you met 100 people who look like you in your lifetime?

    Ocham’s Razor states that the simplest solution is usually the correct one. There’s no reason to go inventing backstories of stashed doubles that cannot be supported by what is actually in the film when a simple, unadorned explanation will do. The simplest explanation is that each time he performs a trick, one of him (either a clone or an “original”) is drowned while the other lives to finish the performance. The one that lives disposes of the body and sets up the next performance over and over again until finally Borden attends one of his performances. This can actually be supported by scenes and dialogue presented in the film.

    The reason there is 100 performances is most simply explained by the fact that he needed a limited time engagement to ensure Borden will cave in to curiosity and attend one of the performances. That’s it.

    It’s not the sexy answer you want to hear with 100 clones sitting around, ordering delivery, playing xbox, but that’s exactly why it’s the right answer. In 99.99% of the time, it’s the simple, plain answer that is correct, not the elaborate, far-fetched one.

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  223. Tom on said:

    I keep hearing a lot of people saying that if the machine works then it ruins the magic. The movie isn’t about magic its about obsession and its destructive nature. This is made clear in the dialog, especially through the character of Tesla who has already been destroyed by his own obsession.

    The machine works. Read the book. The machine is real. But is immaterial because its not about magic. Its about human nature.

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    • Charlotte on said:

      Tom,

      That is exactly the point! It IS about human nature which is why having some sort of magical entity ruins the entire “natural” premise and downplays the philosophical message the story intends to portray. If you truly have magical powers, you do not necessarily need to be obsessed or driven to such extremes. True magic is a short-cut to trying. It’s a cop-out.

      I’ll admit that I have not read the book, but am now intrigued to do so. However, I would be surprised to learn that the book explicitly states that this machine is of true magical power. And even if it did, I would still be swayed to think the author is trying to trick me, much as was the screen writer’s motive.

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      • Mike on said:

        Don’t try to make the book match up with the movie when you read it. They’re very much a completely different thing from one another.

        Many comments here have tried to compare them to one another, when they shouldn’t be. The Prestige (in movie form) is a completely different thing. The Nolan brothers took the book and added to it, and changed quite a bit of the story to be more movie-goer friendly.

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  224. GRL570810 on said:

    Actually guys if you just read the book it all makes perfect sense. But I know that’s not a popular option in these days of short attention spans.

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  225. marco on said:

    How about if the actor double took over from angier after angier’s leg was broken and from then on impersonated him?

    Cutter realized this eventually and hence turned against him?

    The actor double says in the end that he is not interested in borden’s trick! this is a giveaway because Angier or any angier clone would die to get borden’s trick. the initial actor double couldnt care less because he was in it for Lord caldlaw estate!

    In the end the real villain of the movie – the actor double – is killed and Angier who is dead and in the box has his vengeance in death. Cutter is satisfied now and teams up with bordin.

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  226. Jackson on said:

    In my own personal opinion, I believe that Nolan never meant to give the audience a specific answer to the end of his movie. One of Cutter’s last lines is that the audience doesn’t really want to know the secret, which is parallel to Borden’s line about not revealing the secret, they will beg and flatter you but once you do you’re nothing to them, as well as Angier stating the world is simple, miserable, but if you could fool them just for a second.

    Nolan is trying to state that part of the magic of his film is that no one knows the true secret. Did the machine actually clone him? I agree the science fiction element does seem out of place in this aspect. The whole theme of this movie revolves around lies, deception, and illusion, and Nolan’s storytelling reflects this perfectly.

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  227. P. George Stewart on said:

    Hehe, just seen this, very late in the day. Great film. One thing I’d say, just to forget about the concept of teleportation altogether. Tesla’s machine has got nothing to do with teleportation of anything, it’s simply a COPIER that places an exact copy some distance from the original. Each copy picks up exactly where the original leaves off in terms of memories, so the copy remembers being in the machine and everything before that. But the person in the machine (who disappears/is drowned in the tank below) is also the real person – which is why it’s a SACRIFICE. Every time Caldlow goes into the machine, he knows that one “he” will experience death AND another “he” will experience continuing to live. The last living Caldlow copy (the one who’s shot at the end) remembers everything except the few moments of death/drowing of each “original” along the way. I think Priest and Nolan must have read a famous philosophy book called Reasons and Persons, it goes into this mind-bending stuff in great philosophical detail.

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  228. JT on said:

    What I don’t get is how did Angier come to know about Tesla in the first place. I thought he got it from Borden but if Borden had a twin, how did Borden know about Tesla work? :s

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  229. Dan on said:

    I’m under the impression that the story makes note of the obvious fact that no matter what, both magicians will always be competing, thus leading to the ultimate assumption that both magicians are equally gifted. At the end of the movie, Cutter revamps the anatomy of “the magic trick” to parallel with Borden’s successful ending trick against Angier, but is there any evidence to show that Borden shoots one of Angier’s clones? I believe that we are supposed to assume that no magician was better than the other, regardless of the validity of my hypothesis. I think the movie relates to life, just as everything else does. Everything is created to offer multi-interpretation. That’s the beauty of art, right?

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  230. vince on said:

    thank you for writing this it explained a lot, but not quite everything, this line-NOW – They bring Borden to be hung.
    Cutter helps Angier lower the machine into the basement, where his other props are.
    Borden’s last word is, “Abracadabra.”
    Fallon enters Angier’s theater, as Cutter leaves.
    Ball bounces to Angier, Borden shoots him……………. didnt borden die anf fallon lived and shoots him becuase borden got hung… second question, is the little girl bordens or fallons or is that just irrelevant

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    • Logan on said:

      the kid belongs to the one who loved Sarah (sorry if i got her name wrong names are the hardest part of movies for me).

      And since the Borden Bros. were both people (borden and Fallon) it’s not really relevant. The brother who was hung was the one who loved Angiers assistent.

      Both the brothers were just as interested in magic and were both living “Half of a Full Life”

      ———————————————————————

      So to just answer the question the brother who is going to raise the daughter is the one who loved sarah (and had the baby with her which is why the other brother said “we should have told fallon”)

      ———————————————————————
      MORE RAMBLING – so the brother that said that line was the one who didn’t love sarah, saw was to obsessed with the trick to resist going behind stage, and the one who got hung.

      hope this helped more than confused

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  231. Alistair Lim on said:

    Hi Guys

    I haven’t read all the comments as it would take a very long time however this blog has certainly helped, I don’t know if this theory is correct or has already been stated but this is it:

    The trick at the end did not go wrong at all, this was how the trick always went, when cutter talks about the drowning sailor he says that the sailor said it was agony when he had previously told Angier that it was like “going home” I think I forget the exact words so if the trick actually went right then “The Clone” always died just this time Borden was unfortunate enough to go down stairs and thought it was the real Angier.

    What really confuses my though is how Angier continued to live through his clones.

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  232. Bob on said:

    -I’m to tired to write a coherent story so I’ll just scribble down
    some thoughts.

    -In the movie it’s stated several times it’s about creating the
    illusion that make the people believe what they see.

    -Tesla understood that that’s the idea behind magic, thus he planted
    the cats and hats so Angiers actually believed he had made a
    cloning device.
    It isn’t until he runs from Edison he leaves a note in which he
    says his assistant will explain how the machine “works”.

    -For those wondering why Tesla would know it; Fallon/Borden
    might’ve explained it when they ordered a tesla coil to improve
    their show.
    When Olivia Angiers and Cutter discuss Borden’s trick for the first
    time, Cutter already mentions that the “show” part was dreadfull.
    So when Olivia is sent there, she knows how that there needs to be
    a bigger show aspect. Borden went to see Tesla’s work and figures
    that should add to the performance.

    -Earlier in the movie you see Angiers visiting the exhibition of
    Tesla’s work and notices Borden there. Borden, aware of the publics
    emotion towards Tesla’s work, knows that claiming Tesla’s work made
    his trick possible will be enough for Angiers to believe that thats
    the key to it all.

    -Cutter’s comment about getting your hands dirty (regarding the bird
    at that point) was quite clear.
    Angiers gets his hands dirty by using/killing doubles. Hence the
    1000 tanks, the blind stagehands and it’s the reason why Cutter
    wasn’t allowed backstage.

    -Regarding the part where Angiers went to test Tesla’s machine and
    shoots the double, the double (or as we’re ment to believe, clone)
    screams “No, no wait I’m not…” at which he’s supposed to say
    clone/what you think I am/ whatever.
    There’s 2 reasons however why Angiers would shoot him.
    1. It was actually a clone (which I don’t believe).
    2. It was somebody who could jeopordize his trick (like what
    happened earlier).

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  233. Hoo on said:

    Your minds only take you to all the wrong places like the way Regena seems to be going. Lets start again, how big is the Universe? If you can answer the question, you will know the plot… the director’s illusion is – “the look on your faces!” – The Prestige!

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  234. Scott on said:

    Hey Mike! Cheers for getting this thread up and running! I know you don’t respond to all questions here but I’d love to hear your views on a couple of points personally.

    Could you just elaborate slightly on Angier’s comments regarding having always been Lord Caldlow (I know this is trivial compared to a whole lot of other questions posted here)?

    Why does Lord Caldlow seem to have almost adopted Borden’s daughter?

    Lastly, do you think that while the use of “real” magic (the machine) in the film may at first appear to be a “cheat” allows for any concepts to be explored which would otherwise be impossible?

    Kind regards!

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  235. Chris on said:

    Okay, haven’t seen the movie in a while and also realize this thread is so old nobody is probably reading. That being said, my two cents:

    I think it is an interesting idea that the story is told through Angier’s diary (until the “now” parts) so it’s possible he is lying to Borden/Fallon. However, the way the characters are presented, it seems far more likely that the cloning machine is real and Angier is killing himself each night in order to pull off the trick.

    Borden/Fallon have devoted their lives (from at least before they’ve met any of the characters in the movie) to studying illusions, tricks, and misdirection. Of course they are capable of writing an encoded diary that ultimately leads Angier on a wild goose chase.

    Angier, on the other hand, is an outsider to magic, a rich boy obsessed with the validation (or whatever) that comes with performing successfully on stage. Even after he witnesses the old chinese man, he can’t understand the kind of lifelong 24/7 commitment it takes to truly pull off the illusions. Even going back to Julia’s death, the reason Borden ties the knot instead of Angier is because Borden’s the better technician. Also, Cutter prepares all of Angier’s tricks, while Borden/Fallon prepares his own. So Angier is presented as incapable of something as clever and subtle as has been suggested.

    In order to outdo Borden/Fallon’s Transported Man (which is the exact same trick Angier has already done in the exact same way with Root) Angier has to literally kill himself every time. (For the purpose of the movie, it doesn’t matter whether it’s the clone who dies or the original because they are exactly the same in form and spirit, hence Angier’s lament that he never knows if he’ll die because in fact he always dies and is always the prestige.) He thinks his trick is better because his sacrifice is greater and there actually is no trick. To use the sawing in half example, this is like thinking you are the better illusionist because you actually saw a woman in half every night and have to live with the knowledge of your murdering ways. My point is, this is who he is. He is incapable of concocting a con clever enough to trick Borden and the audience (fake diary, some crazy and COMPLETELY UNSEEN third way of doing the Transported Man even though until this point he has been utterly unable to create a single illusion on his own).

    Further evidence of Angier’s inability to pull a deeper con than what we see: he reveals his secret to Borden before Borden is hanged. Even though Angier clearly didn’t factor in Borden having a twin, he might have at least figured Borden could get a message to someone to do what Fallon did. Not to mention Angier revealed himself to Cutter with no fear of further repercussions. Borden/Fallon, on the other hand, doesn’t reveal his secret until he is sure Angier will take it to his grave (because he shoots him, watches him die, then burns down the building).

    To believe the intent of the movie is some further underlying deception on Angier’s part is to disregard his character as it has been built throughout the film. All of the other characters remain consistent in their motivations and reactions. So for the movie to be alluding to a further deception through Cutter’s final statement, that deception has to be perpetrated by Angier.

    I believe the conclusions I’ve drawn come directly from the movie without considering facts not in evidence.

    Also I might as well address a few of the other crazy assertions: The 100 doubles theory means that although everyone, including Angier, is stumped and befuddled by Borden’s use of one double, the reality within the movie is such that Angier could find 100 doubles (that is 100 identical men) in a limited timespan. The necessary incidence of “accidental twins” in this universe would lead me to conclude an audience within this reality would not be impressed with the Transported Man as an illusion.

    Borden/Fallon as clones and the existence of a second cloning machine: This contention seems to be that it is implausible that Borden sent Angier on a wild goose chase that accidentally turned out to benefit Angier. However, since we know Borden wrote the diary knowing Angier would read it, why would he give him the one clue Angier would need to get his own cloning machine if Borden knew such a thing DID exist and Tesla could build it? This is just as implausible and not supported by the rest of the movie.

    The “Angier uses one or two doubles differently until the one night Borden shows up” theory: We know only the blind men help behind the scenes and Cutter is never allowed to see behind the scenes (hence Cutter thinks the machine is real). Why would Angier leave Cutter out of these illusions? To make Cutter believe he is actually teleporting when it’s just the old double through the trapdoors gag? Throughout the movie, Cutter has proved a mostly willing accomplice and not been afraid to get his hands dirty, and really, Cutter could be aware of the doubles without knowing Angier’s plot to murder one and frame Borden. And if it was to keep Cutter from knowing his secret use of a double that he would eventually kill, why would he allow Cutter to meet him again after he was supposedly dead? The only conclusion is that he kept Cutter away because he was actually dying every night.

    Finally, I am disappointed that the movie hinges on a real cloning device when the rest of it is seemingly grounded in reality. I wanted there to be some other explanation that I was just missing, but after reading everything here I have to conclude that is the case. But I think that is actually the meaning of Cutter’s parting statement. We all are searching for some additional layer, some way that we were all tricked into having to accept the existence of such a clumsy macguffin device. But that’s what the movie came down to. Angier was given a simple answer to both of his questions: Borden has a twin. So Borden doesn’t remember which knot he tied because it was the other twin that tied it (it is likely the one that shows up at the funeral is probably the one that misses his friend Julia, not the one that is probably wracked with guilt over accidentally killing her). And Borden uses a double (just like everyone tells Angier) to do the Transported Man. But Angier WANTS to be fooled. He can’t accept this simple and straightforward explanation for both events so he takes off on this ridiculous quest that leads to everyone’s ruin.

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  236. Tommy Ray on said:

    If Falon was Bordens clone and vice versa or whatever, why did they cut his finger off. Obviously when someone or something gets cloned in this movie they/it comes out exactly like the original thing that is cloned. That being said, why would Borden cut off Falons finger. He lost his finger before he started the transported man when he was just doing the bullet catch. So if he were to clone himself afterward his clone would be missing fingers just like him. That being said, we all know they were brothers and that Angier had clones.
    The End

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  237. Al on said:

    I’ve watched The Prestige many times now and have begun to read the novel (so far it appears to be quite different from the movie, but there evidence re: the movie later on). In my opinion, there’s not really enough evidence to fully confirm or negate either explanation for the end of the film. I personally prefer the no-magic ending as it seems to keep more in line with the message reiterated throughout the movie; there is no “real” magic, no sorcerers, there is only misdirection and illusion. My theory about Tesla and Angier is that either Angier made up a large part of the story for Borden to read or that Tesla played a magic trick on Angier. He could easily have found many black hats and a few black cats in the years he was building the machine. I also think that Edison’s men at the hotel could have been hired by Tesla to convince Angier that Tesla’s work was all burnt to the ground and that Tesla had to run. Not very likely because I’m not sure Tesla would have enough money to pay the men to do this, but it’s possible. Or Tesla could have used Edison’s men as an opportunity to escape.

    As to the ending, I haven’t been able to reach a conclusion about two things: 1. Did Angier really shoot his clone or was this scene fictional, as told by Angier, or was it a double that was shot, etc. etc.? 2. Cutter’s identification of Angier on the slab. I don’t think Cutter would mistake a double for Angier at the mortuary . So who is in the tank at the end of the film? It cannot be the person we saw drown b/c he’d been extracted for identification or autopsy or whatever. Theoretically Angier had enough money to make just about anything he wanted to happen happen (bribes, etc.).
    In any case, that’s where I’m stuck. I don’t think Cutter would misidentify Angier on the slab, I don’t think Cutter would have been in on a plan with Angier to have Borden hung, and I don’t believe the movie was intended to suddenly become science-fiction in the last few minutes of the film. Maybe if I watch it a few more times I’ll figure something out..

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  238. henry on said:

    borden/fallon tied the other knot because it was his twin. the man being talked out of tying the knot was not the same one that actually tied the knot, he did so because he wasnt told not to. and proves the twin over clone theory because it was prior to even their rivalry.

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  239. Eva on said:

    thx for some explanations

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  240. benosh on said:

    Hi can someone explain to me what cutter’s explanation about the three stages of an act signify…I think this is the answer to how Lord caldron executed his trick? Would that mean there was caldron a double and the clone? Hence the double and the clone were the ginny pigs?

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  241. benosh on said:

    Hi can someone explain to me what cutter’s explanation about the three stages of an act signify…I think this is the answer to how Lord caldron executed his trick?

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  242. Aiden Bond on said:

    the only question that i have that isnt answered is this:
    when Angier first used Tesla’s machine, was the man that shot the other man the original angier or was he the clone left behind in angier’s place. because i dont know how the transported clone/angier would know that angier/clone was going to shoot him otherwise….

    damn

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    • Val on said:

      I’ve struggled with this as well, and I think it’s meant to be deliberately ambiguous, which is why Angier says at the end that it took courage to get in the machine each night, not knowing whether he’d end up in the box or in the prestige. As for which Angier shot the other Angier after he first used the machine, I think that the clone would have his memories, and the same thought patterns, so that even if the clone ended up in the machine, he would have remembered and/or known that the original Angier’s intent was to kill the clone if it worked. Or if the original Angier ended up in the machine, he could have just killed the clone as planned. I watched that scene carefully the second time around, and the realization of both Angiers of what is about to happen seems simultaneous. I’ve tried looking for his limp after that as well, but even the clone would have limped, since Angier already had the limp by the time he cloned himself.

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  243. T Steel on said:

    Excuse me for writing some months later from the last comment. And if you may, excuse me for my English.

    I haven’t read all the posts but you really got me with all these explanations. There is just a minor thing I disagree with. Why would you call Tesla’s work fictional. He is really a man to admire for what is said to be done by him. All I’m saying is that if you thoroughly examine all his projects you will find that he might have possibly created(then) quantum teleportation which is fully possible nowadays. Here is a link if you haven’t heard – http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3576594.stm
    And you could always check for more info on Tesla and his projects(including the teleported ship) on the internet. I just wanted to slip in a little possibility that the movie could actually be 100% plausible. In a brief i will explain that one of the problems with nowadays teleportation is the fact that the machine copies from point A(not cut) the atoms of an objects and then pastes them to point B so there are 2 same exact objects. But afterwords the object at point A is destroyed. That’s all! Hope this makes the movie a bit more legit to people who say it’s a total fiction.

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  244. Val on said:

    Just saw this movie for the first time – loved it loved it loved it. Hubby and I debated it the rest of the evening, trying to figure it out. We definitely need to watch it again, but we finally reached an explanation that enabled me to go to sleep. When the cat was cloned, didn’t the assistant take its collar off before releasing it? And then when there are two cats in the pile of hats, one of them definitely has a collar on. Which would mean that the original gets transported, and a clone is left in the machine. Assuming it works the same way every time, the first time that Angier clones himself, it would have been the clone in the machine who shot the original Angier, immediately realizing that the original had intended to kill the clone. So then each time he performed it onstage, it would have been the first clone being transported, and killing each new clone in the tank. As for Angier saying that it “takes courage to step into that machine every night- not knowing whether you’ll end up the guy in the box, or the guy in the prestige,” maybe it didn’t actually work the same way every time, or maybe he was just nervous/guilty about what he was doing. Or maybe, as Christyie suggested, it’s just symbolic of him killing a part of himself every time. Anyhoo, I think it’s the cat’s collar.

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    • Val on said:

      Okay, I’ve watched it again, and the assistant didn’t take off the cat’s collar, but just the leash that was holding it in the machine. And when there are two cats in the pile of hats, they both have a collar on. Phooey. In that case, I think it’s intentionally ambiguous about which Angier is alive at the end, and his statement about taking courage to step into the machine can be taken at face value. It’s like with Voldemort’s 7 horcruxes though, once you split your soul that many times, you become so inhuman that it doesn’t really matter anyway. Oh, and also when Fallon is explaining everything to the dying Angier, he does say “he loved Olivia, and I loved Sarah,” so it is Jess’ dad who does continue to live.

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  245. Abhi on said:

    First of all I would like to say this is a completely awesome movie. The true story of it will never be set in stone and people will argue about it forever…

    IMO, Bordon did have a twin, as most of the story suggests and the lighting effects were probably created by Tesla as just effects.

    Now about the infamous bubble; I think that Angier knew that Bordon was going to kill him, so he cloned himself right before. The clone was the one who got shot because he wouldn’t have figured out that Bordon had a twin (but the real one did).

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