Here are ten of the best Easter eggs secretly hidden throughout Tenet director Christopher Nolan’s psychological thriller, The Prestige.
There is no question that The Prestige is a twist-filled mind-bending experience that takes multiple viewings to uncover all of its wonderful secrets. The Christopher Nolan masterpiece brilliantly kept audiences guessing until the very end with a jaw-dropping reveal that viewers never saw coming.
But that isn’t the only thing they missed when trying to keep up with Alfred Borden and Robert Angier’s spellbinding illusions. Scattered throughout the incredibly entertaining motion picture are some elaborate Easter eggs hidden in plain sight. Here are the ten best-kept secrets found within the Academy Award-nominated film The Prestige.
The Prestige’s 10 best Easter eggs
10. Milton, the Stage Magician, is the real deal
In the movie actor Ricky Jay plays the character of Milton, a stage magician. Jay is actually a magician in real life, however, the magic historian and Guinness record holder doesn’t usually partake in stage illusions. Despite this, his take in the movie is solid and he even provided training in sleight-of-hand-techniques, for the film’s two leads to enhance the authenticity of their performances.
9. There is magic in the main character’s initials
The main characters in the film are Alfred Borden and Robert Angiers. If you take the first letters of their first and last names in that order it spells out “ABRA.” While this could be a reference to one of the 151 original Pokemon, it most likely has to do with the commonly used words from a magician of abracadabra.
8. Borden isn’t the only Professor on the block
In The Prestige, Christian Bale’s Alfred Borden takes the stage name “The Professor” which isn’t just a random designation plucked from thin air. The nickname was issued to several prominent illusionists at the time such as Professor Otto Herman, Professor Tucan and Professor Hoffman. Dai Vernon also adopted the moniker and is widely considered to be the greatest modern-day sleight-of-hand magician.
7. Alfred joined the Disney fan club in prison
When Bale’s character Alfred goes to prison, the last way anyone would describe the institution would be as the happiest place on Earth. But eagle-eyed fans noticed there may be a bit of Disney magic within the jail. Borden’s inmate number reads D-23 which is the official Disney Fan Club with 23 referring to the year 1923 when Walt Disney opened the studio. The plot thickens on this matter when one remembers the film was released by Touchstone Pictures, which is a subsidiary of Disney. It seems the House of Mouse is much more magical than everyone had previously concluded.
6. The Nolan cameo
There is a Nolan cameo in The Prestige that everyone seems to miss their first time watching the film unless they are a close friend or family member of the prolific director. For those wondering when the game-changing filmmaker makes an appearance, he doesn’t. Another member of his family makes their way into the fold in a pretty crucial role: Anne Borden, the daughter of Alfred, is actually played be Christopher Nolan’s daughter.
5. The Prestige averages a time jump every minute
Christopher Nolan is notoriously known for messing with the fabric of space and time in his films and he isn’t afraid to throw chronological order to the wind to give audiences a next-level experience. The Prestige is no strange to the visionary’s storytelling protocols and the narrative perfectly paces out its time jumps. Altogether there are 146 jumps in time throughout the film’s runtime, whether it was jumping earlier in the timeline or full-on into the future. This averages a time jump going down every minute.
4. Dresden sighting
During the excellent bullet-catching scene in The Prestige, an interesting name appears on the poster advertising the spellbinding event. A fellow illusionist named Harry Dresden will also be performing. For those who don’t know, Harry Dresden is also the name of a fictional wizard in The Dresden Files, a series of books written by author Jim Butcher as well as the basis of the TV series. In the story, Harry’s full name is Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden, named after Harry Houdini, Harry Blackstone, and David Copperfield, three of the biggest magicians ever to practice the spectacular art.
3. The script is a magic trick
Christopher Nolan is a mastermind when it comes to story structure and the way he develops his narrative is nothing short of magnificent. This is very apparent in The Prestige. Most films are made of a three-act structure and so is Nolan’s 2006 gem. But the talented filmmaker goes a step further and uses the three acts to represent the three stages of the illusion in the story. This being the pledge, the turn, and, of course, the prestige. So the greatest trick The Prestige ever pulled isn’t in the movie, it’s in the script. Nolan is a cinema magician.
2. An improvised spoiler
Rebecca Hall is a very talented actress and because of this it’s understandable she would do some improvisation when necessary. At one point her character in The Prestige, Sarah states to Alfred “I know what you are.” Hall was so mortified she had spoiled the surprise for the audience accidentally revealing the secret earlier than it was supposed too, but it was left in the film. It does not ruin the movie by any means and almost adds to the mystery. Either way, it’s a great line given by a phenomenal actress.
1. The first two shots
The last Easter egg to make the list happens at the very beginning of the film. In the first two openings shot Christopher Nolan reveals the entire conflict in a matter of seconds. After the opening logos, titles and credits the first image we see is a pile of top hats in the forest. Next, the frame is filled with two birds chirping in a cage. The hats refer to the many clones of Robert Angier and the birds represent Alfred Borden and his twin brother. Nolan wastes no time in letting audiences know this isn’t just a battle of rival magicians happening in The Prestige. It’s also a twins versus clones story. If this doesn’t prove Nolan is a god of cinema, nothing will.
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