The Prestige (12)
+ Presentation by Peter McOwan
Computer science professor Peter McOwan explores the parallels between magic and science, and the strange places where magic has helped science and vice versa. He discusses recent research in artificial intelligence generated magic trick design, and the usefulness of card tricks to help people of all ages explore maths, computer algorithms and computer coding.
Christopher Nolan’s clever and visually stunning film tells the engaging story of two rival magicians (played by Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman) and their competitive quest for the ultimate trick. Through twists and flashbacks the film unpacks like a puzzle box to show how they exploit the science of the day, and the people around them, to outdo each other.
David Bowie appears as the real life scientist and inventor Nicola Tesla, who has a reputation shrouded in the sort of mystique that would make a stage magician want to hang up their linking rings.
With exquisite period detail the film evokes the feel of the great bygone age of the superstar music hall magicians and technology as theatre, while seamlessly blending science and science fiction into a thumping human tragedy. Are you watching closely?