The Presige (Christopher Nolan, USA, 2006)
The Prestige is a perfect piece of screenwriting, something that Christopher Nolan has proven quite good at over the decade. That his screenplay mirrors much of what is going on in the film, a back and forth game of one-upmanshipship with a rousing twist that the magicians themselves would be proud of. This is clearly a film built on the strength of its plot and it works to great effect. The film tells the tale of two magicians, Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Borden (Christian Bale) as their friendship turns to a reckless rivalry as one tries to top the other's last trick. Besides focusing on the magic, Nolan also digs deep in to each man, how their jealousy, egotism, and macho nature blind them to everything but being able to top the other. Besides the story, this is the best looking film Nolan has made, full of great use of light/dark contrasts and getting a realistic portrayal of Victorian England. All told, I feel that The Prestige was one of the most underrated films of the decade and should be worth the time for anyone who likes taut storytelling (which I happen to do once in a while).