Country: United States, United Kingdom
Genre: Drama, Thriller, Mystery
Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Christian Bale, Scarlett Johansson, Hugh Jackman
In nineteenth century London, illusionist Alfred Borden is on trial for the murder of fellow illusionist, Robert Angier. Borden’s indictment is largely possible because of the eyewitness account of John Cutter, who saw Borden backstage in the area where Angier was killed. At the end of one of his shows, Angier fell through a trap door in the stage floor into a clear water-filled tank below, that tank which was a prop for one of Angier’s tricks performed earlier in the show. Angier ended up drowning, as the tank was locked after he fell into it. Borden, Angier, and Cutter have a shared largely turbulent history, which also provides motive. Early in their magic careers, both Borden and Angier worked under “Milton the Magician”, while Angier’s wife Julia worked as his on-stage assistant, and Cutter as his ingénieur, staging the tricks and providing the apparatus required, work that he still does for others. Based on a specific incident during this stage of their relationship led to both Borden and Angier striking out, creating their own shows, and them having a feud, which was not only in the professional realm, but a personal one, where each man wanted to ruin the other. While Borden is arguably more accomplished in the technical aspects of the illusions, Angier is the more accomplished showman. In the professional realm, they tried to outdo each other, especially in the illusions considered either the most dangerous and/or mysterious, those two being catching-the-bullet trick, and more so, the transported man trick. In the process of their feud, they seemingly were not averse to any means, even with collateral damage of others. The question is if those means extend to murder, especially of the other.
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