YMMV: The Prestige

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Rule Of Sean Connery: David Bowie and Michael Caine, the former of whom only appears for maybe ten minutes.
  • 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: 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.