Fridge Brilliance: Christian Bale's performance becomes a lot more impressive when you realize that he's really playing two different people. It takes some close watching, but with a second watching, you can detect the subtle distinctions between the Borden twins in the performance—a very impressive amount of work for something the audience is not supposed to notice. Another layer of fridge brilliance comes when you realize that there's another art form that involves the artist doing a lot of work the audience isn't supposed to notice—Magic.
- It also makes the scene where Borden is talking to Fallon about Sarah even more heart-wrenching. On a first watch-through, you just think he's asking a friend to help him out with his marital troubles. On the second watch-through, you know it's one brother begging another to help him keep his beloved wife, especially when said brother is a large part of the reason why said wife is so unhappy.
- When Olivia addresses Borden, he asks her to call him Alfred, and soon she starts calling him Freddy. When you realize that even Borden's wife Sarah only calls him Alfred, you'll realize the second time by that the twin gambit had already been revealed then and there. As the movie said, it's only realized in hindsight because the viewer didn't look closely enough to discover the secret, and didn't want to know it. Those lines are actually Breaking the Fourth Wall. Subtle.
"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."
- When Borden said that he couldn't remember whether he used the new knot, was he lying, flustered, or not the right Borden?
- Borden's journal entry regarding his thoughts on the incident had him saying that he "struggled with himself", two halves insisting that they tied two different knots. Which implied that it was a case of miscommunication between the twins. You can also see hints of this in performance itself, as the twin that causes the tragedy doesn't drop the knot while he ties it, unlike the twin in the first performance. The additional brilliance of that line comes from the fact that both twins are in fact sharing a single life and identity.
- It was the wrong Borden. There's even more Fridge Brilliance here. At the beginning Cutter tells Borden "On some days you just don't get it do you?". You compare that to what Sarah tells Borden about him loving her on some days and not on others - if you just watched the movie and realized it, you'll be hit by a bomb. The night when Julia drowns, it's the second twin on stage and it is easy to see that he ties the double Langford. He and Julia also nod to each other as the knot is changed. And the little doubt in Julia's eyes just before that nod as she is hoisted was so subtle, but it says it all. Angier goes after Borden and Borden insists that he doesn't know, because it was his twin that tied the knot (although it could at the time be easily argued that Borden was traumatized by what had happened, and his memory got fuzzy). Alfred insists he tied the slip knot, but the other twin suspects that it was the Langfort Double.
- Does that mean that Angier ultimately DID get his revenge on the twin who had killed his wife? Or was the twin that he sent to the gallows actually the INNOCENT one?
- As far as I could tell, the one who hung was the second twin, the same one that tied the bad knot and killed Angier's wife. When he's in prison and the first twin (in disguise) comes to visit him, he says something like "I'm sorry. I'm sorry for so many things. For Sarah. I didn't mean to hurt her." which seems to indicate he wasn't the one who was in love with her. So yes, Angier did get revenge.
- The acting also makes it clear that one of the twins is a greater risk taker than the other.
- Read more: http://www.nolanfans.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=6141&start=10#ixzz1x8rgAyYX. Watch out for spoilers if you haven't seen the film of course.
- Several little details also become apparent in the second viewing, when you know Borden and Fallon act as a form of bait and switch. Ever wonder how Borden suddenly appears in Sarah's apartment asking for tea?The twin broke in and waited for her to come home.Wonder why Borden only loves his mistress or family on specific days?Because it's not the same man each day.How come Fallon comforts Borden's daughter when he's fighting with the woman he normally loves?Because he's really her father, and it's her uncle arguing with her mother.
- An additional example: One scene has Borden promising to take his daughter to the zoo after he runs some errands, but when he sees Fallon, he asks him to take her instead as he's busy. Whilst it seems cold hearted initially, it becomes apparent that, since a man who at least resembles Borden took her, he did still technically keep his promise.
- Or possibly, at that moment, the twin being Fallon was her actual father and the twin being Borden thought it'd be best if he took her.
- It wasn't. Fallon was the uncle, "Freddy," and Borden was the real father. You can tell because Borden asks Fallon for help in reminding Sarah that he (Borden) really does love her. If Borden was Freddy instead of Alfred, there would have been absolutely no reason for Borden to say that. Alfred would tell Sarah that he loved her anyway, he wouldn't need his brother to tell him to do that.
- In fact, on second viewing, it was the very last exchange between Sarah and Borden when Sarah figured out his (their) secret...which could very well be why she was Driven to Suicide. She was even going to tell Olivia about it, but Olivia chickened out.
- Just before the twin is executed, his last words are "Abracadabra". We realize what he meant when the real Borden comes in and shoots Angier before revealing in the Tomato Surprise.
- The whole plot of the movie was based on the very same trick at the center of the plot, only not on stage. It was done with twins after all.
- There's a slightly sinister explanation as to why both Bordens love Jess. Although it's probably due to her being a little girl and all, you could argue that they don't know who her father really is!
- So, basically, both Freddy and Borden would often have to watch while the other brother romanced the woman they were in love with, until finally both women were driven away (or to suicide), PLUS they probably confused and traumatized the shit out of the daughter, PLUS one brother cut two of his fingers off, PLUS one brother DIED... all to keep up the illusion that they were one person, for the sake of A MAGIC ACT?!?!? Jesus, talk about Dyeing for Your Art.