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The Big Clue Everyone Missed In The Prestige

Among the many brain-breaking films in Christopher Nolan's back catalog, it's one of his earliest entries that is a favorite for those who love a jaw-dropping reveal. Starring Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale, "The Prestige" packs a delicious cocktail of twists and turns that go down even sweeter the second time around. The star-studded story of revenge and rivalry between magicians in 1890s London stands as one of Nolan's most underrated efforts and is probably one of the most rewarding films to rewatch after the narrative's tricks are finally revealed, mainly thanks to the numerous subtle clues dropped throughout the film.

In a story of doppelgängers, debated rope knots, and Sir David Bowie, Nolan puts down some of the most delicate breadcrumbs worth savoring during repeat viewings. It doesn't even take long to start noticing these clues, as images of hat piles and queries of "Are you watching closely?" tease that there's more going on in "The Prestige" than audiences are first led to believe. In fact, in one of Christian Bale's earliest lines in the film, one of the movie's biggest twists is revealed in a subtle way, which creates a powerful eureka moment on repeat viewings.

The big Borden twist is hinted at early, if you know what to listen for

Toward the beginning of the movie, magician Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) is reading the diary of his friend-turned-rival Alfred Borden (Christian Bale), which begins shortly after the two first met. In what could be misconstrued as a commentary on the dissolution of the relationship between the two magicians, we hear a bit of voiceover narration from Borden that says, "We were two young men at the start of a great career, two young men devoted to an illusion, two young men who never intended to hurt anybody." The scene that plays out during this voiceover shows Angier and Borden during the early days of their career, specifically a moment where a stage illusion they took part in turned fatal for the magician's assistant (Piper Perabo). Thus, on first viewing, you'd be remiss for thinking that in his voiceover, Borden was referring to himself and Angier. However, once you know the truth about Borden's character, you realize the line actually may be an illusion in and of itself.

One of the several major twists revealed at the end of the film is that the man viewers came to know as Borden is, in fact, a pair of identical twins, Alfred and Freddy, who kept their twinning a secret in order to pull off a seemingly impossible illusion. While Borden's early narration is technically still open to interpretation, considering how the events of the film unfold, it's likely that in this early voiceover, Borden was not referring to himself and Angier, but rather, himself and his twin brother. That seems especially possible when you consider that he describes them as "two young men devoted to an illusion." That makes this misdirect in a movie about illusion a truly great trick of the mind and an absolutely classic Nolan moment.