"Every great magic trick consists of three parts or acts. The first part is called, "The Pledge". The magician shows you something ordinary: a deck of cards, a bird or a man. He shows you this object. Perhaps he asks you to inspect it to see if it is indeed real, unaltered, normal. But of course...it probably isn't. The second act is called, "The Turn". The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. 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 know. You want to be fooled. But you wouldn't clap yet. Because making something disappear isn't enough; you have to bring it back. That's why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call, "The Prestige." This is the part with the twists and turns, where lives hang in the balance, and you see something shocking you've never seen before."
"Secrets are my life."
— Alfred Borden except not really.
"You are familiar with the phrase 'man's reach exceeds his grasp'? It's a lie. Man's grasp exceeds his nerve. [...] Nothing is impossible, Mr. Angier - what you want is simply expensive."
"You never understood - why we did this. The audience KNOWS the truth. The world is simple. It's miserable. Solid - solid all the way through. But if you could fool them, even for a second; then you can make them wonder. And then you... Then you got to see something very special. You really don't know. It was - it was the look on their faces... "
— Robert Angier / Lord Caldlow gives his Final Speech
Nikola Tesla: "Mr. Angier, have you considered the cost of such a machine?"
Robert Angier: "Price is not an object."
Nikola Tesla: "Perhaps not, but have you considered the cost?"
Alfred Borden: "You must be -"
Robert Angier: "Lord Caldlow. Yes, I am. I always have been."