"Are you watching closely?” this engaging magician movie teases in the opening. But if you are, you may just guess the tricks up its sleeve before they’re played.

Adapted from the novel, The Prestige presents a convoluted setup, with jumps in time, different locations and multiple characters. Hey, this is Memento director Christopher Nolan’s show, so the plot’s not gonna be straightforward, but all will be revealed...

Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman star as ambitious illusionists in turn-of-the-century London. They’re friends and partners, along with designer Michael Caine, until a risky trick goes tragically awry, and—presto, change-o—they turn into bitter enemies and rivals.

Though he's the lesser showman of the two, Bale creates a popular new illusion, and Jackman becomes obsessed with besting his competitor. He sends girlfriend Scarlett Johansson to spy on Bale, commissions some wacky machine from electrical genius Nikola Tesla (David Bowie) and finally trades his soul to wreak the ultimate vengeance.

The film’s title refers to the third and final act of a magic trick, which incorporates shocking twists and turns. Ironically, The Prestige’s own prestige disappoints, with a sci-fi element that never quite meshes with the rest of the movie and a not-so-surprising disclosure that other characters, given their Machiavellian minds, should have figured out before you do.

Still, Nolan’s slick sleight of hand creates enough abracadabra moments to make for an entertaining diversion.

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