The Prestige—Buena Vista

Video: 4
Audio: 4
Extras: 2

In the world of magic, nothing is as it seems. It’s only fitting that the same would be true of The Prestige, a film about two rival Victorian-era magicians determined to learn each other’s secrets, regardless of the cost to those around them. Based on a novel by Christopher Priest, the film has been carefully crafted by screenwriters Jonathan and Christopher Nolan to be its own magic trick. Even if you believe (as I did) that you’ve figured out the trick halfway through the film, Chris Nolan’s artful direction—or, more appropriately, misdirection—cleverly toys with you, pulling your attention elsewhere without ever losing its grip on the story.

This film about what goes on in the shadows is, not surprisingly, filled with shadow detail and dark textures that will challenge a digital display. Beyond some instances of edge enhancement, the 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer is pristine, with solid detail. The Dolby Digital 5.1 is quite robust, with clear dialogue and effective use of the surrounds and subwoofer to heighten the suspense. The extras package is disappointing, consisting of an image gallery and six short featurettes covering topics like set and costume design, the filming style, and the real Nikola Tesla. Total run time for all six shorts is less than 20 minutes, and the absence of a commentary track is unfortunate.

As such, a rental will suffice here, although you may want to give yourself enough time for a second viewing—that is, if you truly wish to see how the trick is done.