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(2006), PG-13 ["Hard" PG-13*] (2hr 3min)

Analysis Date
CAP Final Score
CAP Influence Density
October 20, 2006
57 out of 100

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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2006), PG-13 ["Hard" PG-13*] -- ...the modern teen who, on a daily basis, is battling corruptive attitudinal and character shaping forces beyond description already.

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Newmarket Productions, Syncopy, Touchstone Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures
Distribution (US): Buena Vista Pictures, Newmarket Films
Director(s): Christopher Nolan
Producer(s): Christopher Ball, Valerie Dean, Christopher Nolan, Aaron Ryder, Charles J.D. Schlissel, Emma Thomas, William Tyrer
Novel: Christopher Priest
Screenplay by: Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan
Cinematography/Camera: Wally Pfister
Music: David Julyan
Film Editing: Lee Smith
Casting: John Papsidera
Production Design: Nathan Crowley
Art Direction: Kevin Kavanaugh
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6

In spite of the high wattage cast and expertly engineered period settings, The Prestige  was, subjectively speaking, only so-so. While the film had a pledge and a turn, there was no prestige to speak of.

Note that during this 2h 3m film I had to step out at 1h 20m through 1h 24m into the film. I might have missed something in those four minutes. If I did, the scoring shown is, however slightly, higher than it should be.

Master illusionist Rupert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and his rival Alfred Borden (Christian Bale), vying for that great trick that would catapult the performer to the top, are also audience plants of an underwater escape act. The two would volunteer to assist with tying the knots around the lovely girl assistant's wrists and ankles before she is plunged into the airless tomb. The lovely assistant is, by the way, Rupert's wife Julie (Piper Perabo).

Special knots must be used so Julia could slip them open to escape the briny deep. In what appeared to be almost a dare, Borden, who tied the wrist knots while Angier tied the ankle knots, tied a different knot which Julie was not able to untie. She drowned. From that moment on, Angier and Borden are bitter rivals ... and enemies.

In another subplot, Angier meets with real-life scientist Nikola Tesla played by David Bowie. Tesla was the electrical inventor who invented, among other things, the Tesla coil used in early automotive ignitions systems. Tesla was a rival of Thomas Edison, particularly for electrical distribution to consumers. Edison wanted to use DC current. Tesla wanted to use AC. In this film, Tesla invented a duplicating machine. I'll say no more about the duplicating machine since it is still the opening weekend for the movie. Tesla had built a machine Borden used in his act.

Each of Angier and Borden is completely obsessed with out-doing the other. They vied for top magician so viciously that it is a wonder the both lived. In one act of entering one door to exit another a second later, Borden removed the cushioning under the stage floor of Angier's act, causing permanent injury to Angier. In another act, how this is configured I will not reveal, Borden is seen as murdering Angier and is sent to prison. It is a wonder how they both lived? Borden is seen murdering Angier? You'll figure it out if you decide the content of this film is acceptable.

There is much more intricate detail to the weave of the story and the subplots and there are a number of additional prestigious actors such as Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson and Rebecca Hall serving vital parts. But since I must keep these Summary/Commentary sections to a minimum to conserve funds, I will not go any deeper into the story.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
This investigation area found a number of firearm threats and gunshot injuries plus some irresponsibility with firearms. But most severe in influence are the scenes of a hanging and a suicide hanging. A staged suicide, arson and self-amputation round out the violence/crime envelope, causing a loss of nearly 80% of the starting 100 points.

Impudence/Hate (I)
It is rare nowadays to find a PG-13 that is not saturated with profanity [2 Tim. 2:16]. The Prestige  is one of the rarities with only three uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary. However, marital fighting, abusive authority and lies were expensive to the otherwise high score in this investigation area. Note that I do not mention lies (or any other demonstrated affront to God's Word) in passing. By His Word, God is quite adamant about lying. Not only is condemnation of lying one of the Ten Commandments, God also promises condemnation to hell of the unforgiven liar. [Rev. 21:8] One should remember His Word when an opportunity for one of those little white lies comes up again. Or for one of those opportunities for simply not speaking the truth. And those "I just can't remember" when you can.

Sexual Immorality (S)
Likewise it is rare to find a PG-13 without tons of sexual innuendo, sex talk and crude sexual "humor." The Prestige  is one of the rare ones with just a few matters of sexually oriented material: a man and a woman in bed but clothed; dressing to maximize the female form and/or skin exposure, an example of excessive cleavage; implication of cohabitation. While these may seem to be of the "big deal" type, in and as entertainment they each serve to desensitize the impressionable viewer and break down bit by bit the natural inhibition against sexually immoral deeds and thoughts. Though these examples of sexually oriented behaviors are seen day in and day out in every form of entertainment known to man, In God's eyes the first does not excuse the second, not the second the third ... nor the thousandth. All God's admonitions against sexual impurity may be summarized as any sexual contact (including visual), conduct or activity outside of a monogamous heterosexual marriage is immoral. [1Ths. 4:7, 1Cor. 12:23, 1 John 2:26]

Drugs/Alcohol (D)
Now we get to the most invasive properties of The Prestige. There is enough booze, drinking and drunkenness in this film to be fully equivalent to the same in many R-rated films, possibly even more. This film, whether intentional, reaches the early teen years and late preteen years -- the ages of highest impressionability. A study by the American College of Physicians (ACP) has found an undeniable link between the presentation of alcoholic beverages (and tobacco) in and as entertainment and abuse of them and arrogance/defiance with them by adolescents. And teaching/causing youth to abuse alcohol/tobacco (or drugs) by emboldening youth with them in and as entertainment invokes Luke 17:2. If alcoholic beverages in entertainment were not a problem for our young, why is there and why has there been such a push to get and keep booze commercials off prime time broadcast TV? Even the University of Connecticut corroborates the ACP finding.

Offense to God (O)
This is not a film of "magic." It is a film of prestidigitation, science and technology. There is no evil "magic" in it. There are no "magicians." Just illusionists. But in addition to repeated portrayals of adultery [Prov. 6:32, Hebr. 13:4], twice a character calls another "You fool!" Mr. T(tm) of A-Team fame made calling others "Fool" popular. It is no more than a cpnversational snippet, right? Well, let us see what God has to say about calling another "You fool!" [Matt. 5:22]

Murder/Suicide (M)
In addition to two gunfire murders, this film presents a suicide hanging, a punitive hanging, terrible material for the modern teen who, on a daily basis, is battling corruptive attitudinal and character shaping forces beyond description already. [1 Cor. 15:33] Shame on you, Nolan, et alii.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • 2 Tim. 2:16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
  • Rev. 21:8 But the [unforgiven] fearful [deilos {di-los'}; timid, cowardly], and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
  • 1Ths. 4:7 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.
  • 1Cor. 12:23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty,
  • 1 John 2:26 These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. ["These things I have written" includes lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes from 1 John 2:16. An example of "them that seduce you" includes they who demonstrate sexual sin in and as entertainment which can "seduce" the viewer, can lead one astray by desensitizing one and emboldening him/her to believe sexually immoral deeds, thoughts and display are acceptable OR by eroding one's natural inhibition against sexually immoral deeds and thoughts.]
  • Eph. 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. ["Wine" can be any intoxicating substance including illegal drugs or abuse of prescription drugs. The issue is do not get intoxicated and not abuse the body. Though it is not a sin to drink, it is a sin to get drunk OR to influence to get drunk or to drink in defiance such as underage drinking.]
  • Prov. 6:32 But a man who commits adultery lacks judgment; whoever does so destroys himself.
  • Hebr. 13:4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure [which includes before AND during marriage AND gender], for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. [Whether we believe it or not. Whether we like it or not. Whether we care or not.]
  • Matt. 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment [krisis: accusation, trial]: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca [senseless, empty headed: a term of reproach among Jews at the time of Christ], shall be in danger of the council [sunedrion: adjudication]: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool [moros: impious, godless], shall be in danger of hell fire.

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, pay for it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil [kakov: of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be] communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    The Prestige (2006) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
  • firearm threats, repeatedly
  • irresponsibility with a firearm
  • gunshot injury, repeatedly
  • death by drowning, graphic
  • performance peril
  • physical assault
  • abduction
  • buried alive
  • arson
  • staging suicide to frame for murder
  • proceedings for hanging
  • hanging by the neck
  • self-amputation

    Impudence/Hate (I)
  • three uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • abusive authority
  • lies to enable adultery
  • marital fighting

    Sexual Immorality (S)
  • inappropriate touch
  • man and woman in bed in bed wear
  • dressing to maximize the female form and/or skin exposure
  • excessive cleavage
  • implication of cohabitation

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • bar, repeatedly
  • drinking, repeatedly
  • drunkenness, repeatedly
  • alcoholism

    Offense to God (O)
  • three uses of God's name in vain without the four letter expletive
  • "You fool" twice
  • adultery, repeatedly

    Murder/Suicide (M)
  • suicide by hanging
  • two gunfire murders

  • Christian Educators Association International



    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our more than eight years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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