At the dawn of the 20th century, rival magicians Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) endeavor to reveal each other's secrets. Obsessed by the escalating competition, the two illusionists begin to perform increasingly risky tricks, which soon turn deadly. Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson and David Bowie also star in this taut psychological thriller from director Christopher Nolan.
Surprisingly lifeless. 2 hours and 10 minutes to determine that all is not what it seems in the world of magic. Multiple trick endings, one of which becomes obvious at about 1 hour and ten minutes and the other that becomes obvious at about 1 hour 30 minutes, that only raise our interest by causing us to ask, "Are they really going to use that as an ending?" Yep. Also, I didn't think Bale could play lumpy and dull, but he nails it here.
So a couple suggestions. If you're going to focus on two amoral characters, then the plot has to move quickly enough to remain interesting, otherwise you start to notice how small they are. And if you're going to reveal the mechanisms of the ending through the dodgy method of flashbacks, you can't reveal the ending with an hour still to go. David Bowie and Andy Serkis as Tesla and his Igor are diverting but not enough so, and as the movie drags along the increasing boostiness of Scarlett Johansson's bustiere probably reveals they knew they had a problem with maintaining interest. It helped, but not enough.