The Prestige

Rated 4.0

In Edwardian London, a feud between two stage magicians (Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale) begins while they’re working as assistants in the same act, escalating over the years through a determination to outdo each other professionally, until it becomes an obsession with destroying one another personally. Directed by Christopher Nolan and written by him and his brother Jonathan (from the novel by Christopher Priest), it’s an ingenious Chinese box of a movie, stylishly mounted and teasingly complex, marred only in the last minutes by a sit-down-and-I’ll-explain-it-all ending that is both protracted and unsatisfying. Jackman and Bale are terrific, as are Michael Caine as their mentor, Scarlett Johansson as a woman involved with them both, and David Bowie, cryptically dignified as the inventor Nikola Tesla.