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The 2006 film about rival magicians desperately trying to learn the secrets of each others tricks.

The ending, a different intepretation

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i made this a while ago...the quality isnt good, and before I learned how to make better vids...

But it got alot of views and I thought it would be good to post it here...its about my interpretation of the ending:

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Location: You're pretty good.
For me and maybe for many people the clone/twin twist/secret wasn't a twist/secret at all, nor the actual point of the movie.

The real message and the real point of it for me is... well... pretty much everything else.
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 work it out. You want to be fooled.

Alfred Borden: The secret impresses no one. The trick you use it for is everything.

Alfred Borden: Are you watching closely?

Ackerman: We'll have to dress it up a little. Disguise it. Give them enough reason to doubt it.

Cutter: Obsession is a young man's game

Robert Angier: Would I be the man in the box or the prestige?

Robert Angier: My passion is equal to the task.

Olivia Wenscombe: It won't bring your wife back.
Robert Angier: I don't care about my wife. I care about his secret.


It's all in here. For me personally Prestige's ending isn't much different than Memento's ending or the whole movie.

In both Lenny and Angier i see the same traumatized and obsessed person reaching desperately towards everything that would be a reason for him to go on, constantly refusing to accept what has happened and go on with a normal life, instead of continuing to nurture his own mania. He doesn't want a different life let alone normal life. What he keeps doing is very masochistic and he thrives on that, he thrives on his own tragedy (as many people do) because that gives him a clear purpose. If the accident to his wife never occured he wouldnt have flipped out, yes, but he wouldn't have had the goal nor the motives for getting better at what he does (being a magician). Maybe he would've stayed being an assistant and never a real magician, he wouldn't have had a reason to learn and be agressive enough to get better.

The twin/clone trick was never a secret. We all knew it was gonna be like this and so did Angier but he forced himself to doubt it and to refuse it as a truth. Cutter told him numerous times that Borden used a double (back then it wouldnt matter if its a double or a twin because... well it doesnt really matter because its how he does his trick which is supposed to be the trick). But if he agreed to realise that Borden really used a double then this would mean he already knew Borden's secret which would've been the end of his journey and he didn't want it to end. He got addicted to his own anger and lust for revenge and that's why he went on. Revenge and Anger (i doubt the name Angier is just a coincidence) were the only things that defined him after his wife's death. It was all he had. Just like the search for his wife's murderer was all Lenny had in Memento.

And that's the relation. He wanted to keep on fooling himself so he could keep on having a purpose. Everything was obvious right from the start. The funny thing about the movie (and what's also genius about it) that the viewers also knew about the clone/twin twist but all of them (me too ofc) said... "Naah it can't be it, it's too obvious... Or at least i hope this won't be the twist, Nolan isn't THAT predictive. I mean come on...". We wanted to be fooled as well and we did. To the very end most of us (i guess) thought that this won't be the ending and then we realised it really is the ending. I could hear Nolan saying "HA!".

But that shouldn't be dissapointing because it all fits. We, the same as Angier, refused to agree that this is the truth so we would have a reason to keep on watchin the movie.

And that's how i see the movie as a whole. Another movie like Memento about the little/big obsessions that we give nutrition to, so that we have a purpose, because we are otherwise unable to find purpose in anything, because nothing would make sense. We are unable to 'pick our own destiny' and decide what we really want. Not before something tragic happens and changes our lives forever and we later on misuse and exploit this tragedy so we keep having a purpose.


EDIT: As for who else got a Tesla machine -> I'm not really sure it was Borden because I'm not sure how he would pay for it. He knew what his trick will be from the begining and he was poor then. Therefore his brother can't be a clone and he never really buy a real machine. Well he bought that electric device that added some visual spice to his trick but god knows if it's really expensive and obviously it doesn't clone people. But I'm sure he wanted Angier to see him at the Tesla exhibition so that Angier'll get suspicious and sooner or later go to Tesla (cuz that was a part of Borden's plan). Angier was predictive to Borden and Borden toyed a lot with him and his blindness to the obvious.
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Wow, what a fantastic and thoughtful reply. Thank you!

One thing...and it HAS been a long time, so fogive me.

With all that said, what was the function of Tesla in the movie? I mean, other than to fool Angier?
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sickofsickness wrote:Wow, what a fantastic and thoughtful reply. Thank you!

One thing...and it HAS been a long time, so fogive me.

With all that said, what was the function of Tesla in the movie? I mean, other than to fool Angier?

Tesla was Angier's future if you ask me. They both spoke about obsession and Tesla doesn't seem any less traumatized than Angier (although we really don't know why, but we can safely assume it's his ambition that costed him too much, the fame and the rivalry with Thomas Edisson (Tesla and Edisson are pretty much like Borden and Angier, all they're trying to do is hurt each other's pieces like in Chess)).
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prince0gotham's post is excellent :thumbup:

The tricky thing about The Prestige is that even though you are constantly told and shown how Borden's trick is done, you end up being like Angier and want there to be some greater complexity to the illusion.

The fact that you are told one of the film's main reveals throughout the duration of the film supports Cutter's ending monologue that "you don't really want to work it out. You want to be fooled."

This also raises the issue of twists in films. You mentioned The Usual Suspects in your video and how finding out a twist would "give away" the ending. But for me, a good twist is one that should improve the film once known rather than just be a shock to the ending.


One thing to remember is that the first time we (and Angier and Cutter) see Borden perform the transported man, he does it without using Tesla's machine. In fact, it is implied that Borden's interest in using Tesla's machine doesn't come about until the expo later in the film. But Borden isn't using it for cloning, rather to give the audience "something pretty" and enliven his act (there was little applause the first time it was performed).
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Seriously, each time I think about that 'twist trick' as I like to call it... I just... stand in awe... It's such a subtle detail and it's so hidden and the chances of someone actually understanding this the way it's supposed to be understood are so little... Which makes it even a better ending and a better movie as well.
You never understood, why we did this. The audience knows the truth: the world is simple. It's miserable, 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 really special... you really don't know?... it was... it was the look on their faces...

This.... this this this this this this this... It's not only what I think about the movie, but also how I view CINEMA as a whole!
Just... Magic...
The best way to leave a mark on the world. Making people wonder.
Posts: 163
First off, I still think that the notion of whether one of the Bordens is a twin or a clone is vague. I have no problem with anyone who thinks of it either way. I myself have gone back and forth quite a bit. In the book, it's very clear, and I won't spoil that by telling you which. But I think that's what is great about Nolan's take on this story.. it's so different. So when you read the book, you're not going to think that the setup in the book is the same as the movie.

I did note a copule of issues in your video synopsis.

1. Cutter says that Borden uses a double, not a twin. So its not so much of a reveal as you might think. Again, the genius in the movie is that they throw that out there, but as a viewer you don't really buy it either, unless you were just skeptical to begin with. So throwing it out that early was its own form of misdirection or 'sleight of hand' to use magician's parlance. So to me, it's better than what the usual suspects did.

2. When Angier visits Tesla, he did not say that he already built the machine.. he said that he had already 'begun' to build it. So you don't know if he's done it before or not, but I'll just say that it seems Tesla is figuring out the technology so it seems he hasn't. Again, so much is vague, and its possible that he had an earlier version of it and used it to produce the Borden Clone

3. I wouldn't assume he grew up in London, and that a twin brother was therefore known among the populace. Also, he did not use his name once he became a big time performer. He went by 'the Professor', not Borden, on stage, and he wored a little facial hair to hide some of his facial details. In Victorian England, record keeping and availability (i.e. - birth records that show he may have had a twin) would not be an easy thing to uncover, and most probably didn't care to go looking for such information. Angier had convinced himself that there was no twin because the trick was so good, so its not as if he sought such information.

So, not saying that you're wrong, because Nolan has left a lot of information intentionally vague.. but just consider some of the evidence above. I'm fine with most of your conclusions, but some of the reasoning just seemed a little off base, no offense. :thumbup:
Posts: 163
prince0gotham wrote:
EDIT: As for who else got a Tesla machine -> I'm not really sure it was Borden because I'm not sure how he would pay for it. He knew what his trick will be from the begining and he was poor then. Therefore his brother can't be a clone and he never really buy a real machine. Well he bought that electric device that added some visual spice to his trick but god knows if it's really expensive and obviously it doesn't clone people. But I'm sure he wanted Angier to see him at the Tesla exhibition so that Angier'll get suspicious and sooner or later go to Tesla (cuz that was a part of Borden's plan). Angier was predictive to Borden and Borden toyed a lot with him and his blindness to the obvious.


This is a good point, and something I had not conciously considered.. but.. in spite of my ramblings in my last post, which probably give away that I consider Borden a twin, and not a clone, it is entirely possible that Borden was a stand in for one of Tesla's earlier experiments.. perhaps as a boy. That's how he could have met Tesla, that's what made him think of getting into magic. We see Borden as a man of humble beginnings, and you could almost see his family offering him up to Tesla for his experiments for money. Seems plausible.
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Location: You're pretty good.
Robbman wrote:
prince0gotham wrote:
EDIT: As for who else got a Tesla machine -> I'm not really sure it was Borden because I'm not sure how he would pay for it. He knew what his trick will be from the begining and he was poor then. Therefore his brother can't be a clone and he never really buy a real machine. Well he bought that electric device that added some visual spice to his trick but god knows if it's really expensive and obviously it doesn't clone people. But I'm sure he wanted Angier to see him at the Tesla exhibition so that Angier'll get suspicious and sooner or later go to Tesla (cuz that was a part of Borden's plan). Angier was predictive to Borden and Borden toyed a lot with him and his blindness to the obvious.


This is a good point, and something I had not conciously considered.. but.. in spite of my ramblings in my last post, which probably give away that I consider Borden a twin, and not a clone, it is entirely possible that Borden was a stand in for one of Tesla's earlier experiments.. perhaps as a boy. That's how he could have met Tesla, that's what made him think of getting into magic. We see Borden as a man of humble beginnings, and you could almost see his family offering him up to Tesla for his experiments for money. Seems plausible.

It kind of does tho with such assumptions we're starting to reach beyond what's really related or important for the movie. My point was that to the plot and the twist trick it wasn't important really if it's a clone or a real brother. All that was essential was that he used him as a double. The next important thing is why he wanted Angier and Tesla to meet and what his goal behind that was. How Tesla met Borden seems irrelevant to me and we can think of countless stories about that. Tesla might even be his father but there's no hints on that or anything else, although I know and you know there's nothing wrong just to fantasize about his past, but really, it doesn't change anything, that's why i think it's irrelevant. What is really essential is all there in the movie, that's why they show how Tesla and Angier meet, not Borden and Tesla

And as i said, whether he's cloned himself or just has a brother all it matters is that he just has a DOUBLE that he can use and that he wants Angier to meet Tesla so that his plan goes on into execution.
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You have some awesome thoughts prince0gotham, and I totally agrees with you.
Just wanted to give you thumbs up :thumbup:
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