The Prestige brings two turn of the 20th century magicians to a level of competition and obsession that damages many lives as their final actions occur due to Michael Caine who is the catalyst for the final twist on a twist, on a twist, on a twist, on a twist.
The players in this game of one-up-menship are Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale who begin together but quickly separate when Bale's character ties a knot too tightly and Jackman's wife is killed on stage in a water coffin.
The dark world they both descend into is plagued by jealousy and envy on both sides and the anger and revenge travel far beyond what we might expect from two men who are obviously intelligent and who would logically be the best if they worked together.
Each has his day in the sun out maneuvering the other in theaters across the street from each other. Each destroys a trick by the other in an attempt to discredit the competitor.
All of this is played on a tapestry of opulence and a world that places those they love in danger. In many ways they have little love to give beyond the need to be the best magician of their time.
As the tricks and the twists mount it takes imagination to follow and the plot becomes both clarified and muddled by Tesla, a scientist who creates a machine that can multiply from an electrostatic generator. The generator is spectacular on the stage as is the two door entry and exit by Jackman who only hires blind stage handlers.
But it's Bale's character who is crushed by the double door trick when he attempts to learn the secret and his daughter is placed in danger of loosing her father.
Scarlett Johansson is one of the women the two pass around but she suffers far less than the two wives of the obsessed duo.
The climax filled with twists brings an end but not true peace to either.