YMMV: The Prestige

  • Adaptation Displacement: You'd be forgiven for not knowing the film was based on a book. After all the book came out in 1995 and the film came out in 2006 (and Christopher Priest's name was nowhere on the advertising).
  • Award Snub: It was nominated for only two Academy Awards - Best Art Direction for Nathan Crowley and Best Cinematography for Wally Pfister, losing both. Some accused the Academy of consciously snubbing the film to ensure that The Departed finally delivered Martin Scorsese an Oscar after several Award Snubs of his own, though Christopher Nolan himself said that he wouldn't have expected this film to beat The Departed even if it had been nominated, and that if anything the problem was that The Prestige got released a little too early to take advantage of the usual "Oscar Buzz" season.
    • Some people are still miffed that Christian Bale didn't get an Oscar nomination for his work for this film. Though to be fair, his performance is something that you really need to watch at least twice, in order to fully understand how subtle and brilliant he was, given he is actually playing two characters.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Even though Borden and Angier are the main characters of the movie, it's hard to figure out which one is the protagonist and which one is the antagonist. Both go so deeply into their art, even to the point of alienating their loved ones, that their acts of sabotage make it very hard to choose a person to root for. When the winner is finally revealed, your reaction is likely to just be "Huh, so I guess he was supposed to be the good guy the whole time."
  • Foe Yay: Borden and Angier pretty much personify this trope. Lampshaded in the book when Olivia tells Angier that he and Borden "are like two lovers who can't get along together."
    • In the movie, the words are "You should go to him. You two deserve each other."
  • Magnificent Bastard: Both Angier and Borden.
  • Moral Event Horizon: The Reveal. The fact that Lord Cauldlow killed his clones hundreds of times just to beat his long-standing rival. Though, on the other hand, its a little unclear if thats what happened, or if the machine worked the same way it always did, with the clone created some distance away. In that case the real Angier died ages ago, and he and his clones have been committed suicide over and over again, until Borden could be framed, and the surviving one at the end is another clone. This makes him more insane.}
    • The first time Angier cloned himself, he killed the other Angier that appeared some distance away, with us not knowing if he killed a clone, or his real self. Which means, if the real Angier appeared outside the machine, or if he was inside the machine all along, it doesn't matter; the real Angier was dead the first or the second time he used the machine himself.
    • The REAL Moral Event Horizon was letting Borden take the fall for his murder, and then taking his daughter Jess into custody.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • The extents that both Angier and Borden went to to pull off the Transported Man.
    • The final shot of the seemingly endless pile of hats and the rows of dead clones shows just how far Angier went for vengeance.
      • However, Michael Caine's narration at the end makes it all the more disturbing. We only get a clear look at the one tank.
      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 know. You want to be fooled.
  • Rewatch Bonus: In spades. This film is even more interesting to watch once you know Christian Bale is playing two characters. It takes some careful analysis of the plot and close attention to the performance, but the two twins have very distinct personalities, and Christian Bale plays them differently, in a subtle way. Even their accents are slightly different, especially when angry or drunk (when the facade is weakest). This is particularly impressive, since it is a subtlety of acting performance that not only won't an audience likely get the first time through, they're NOT EVEN SUPPOSED TO. Which leads to an extra bit of Fridge Brilliance when you realize there's another art form that involves the artist doing a lot of work that the audience isn't supposed to notice—magic.
  • Rule of Sean Connery: David Bowie and Michael Caine, the former of whom only appears for maybe ten minutes.
  • Slobs Versus Snobs: Working-class cockney Borden and aristocratic Lord Cawdlow (Angier)
  • Tear Jerker: On a second viewing Borden and Fallon's final goodbye is heartbreaking.
  • What an Idiot: not realizing that every time he will be the man on stage AND the man in the box.
    • YMMV because it's a matter of philosophy: Angier, during his trick, would think about whether he would be the one that was dead or the one that was the prestige. After the trick, one of him would be in the tank, going through drowning, and the other would be the prestige. Both Angiers wouldn't feel the same thoughts after the cloning, and only one of them would be alive. After the cloning, they are two different people with different thought processes.
  • The Woobie:
    • Sarah. Having to put up with a husband who loves you one day, then is emotionally abusive the next will take it's toll on anyone.
    • Tesla. Just consider this exchange:
    Tesla: Go home. Forget this thing. I can recognize an obsession, no good will come of it.
    Angier: Why, haven't good come of your obsessions?
    Tesla: Well at first. But I followed them too long. I'm their slave... and one day they'll choose to destroy me.