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Rated NR

Drama, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Director Christopher Nolan adapts the popular novel about two competing magicians (Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman) trying to discover each other’s secrets and, in Jackman’s case, exact revenge for a tragic event. The film is at its best when showing magic tricks from the inside out (cool stuff with birds), and the performers all do a great job. I had a little trouble with the ending. It reveals a whole bunch of secrets—some of them obvious, some of them not—a little too quickly, and the surprises can’t be savored. The book is very complex, and an accurate depiction of the novel would probably take two movies. Nolan omits a bunch of stuff and crams a lot of cool revelations into an awfully small space, making things feel a bit rushed. Of the two big stars, Bale fares the best as a magician who makes a big mistake with a rope, starting a chain of events that leads to the big, confusing finale. Michael Caine is great as an old, wise magician’s assistant. Piper Perabo and Scarlett Johansson (teaming with Jackman again after Scoop) also chime in.

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