The only limits on scientific progress are those imposed by society. The first time I changed the world, I was hailed as a visionary. The second time I was asked politely to retire.
You're familiar with the phrase "Man's reach exceeds his grasp"? It's a lie. Man's grasp exceeds his nerve. The only limits on scientific progress are those imposed by society. The first time I changed the world, I was hailed as a visionary. The second time I was asked politely to retire. The world only tolerates one change at a time. And so here I am. Enjoying my "retirement". Nothing is impossible, Mr. Angier, what you want is simply expensive.
Don't forget your hat.
I hope you enjoy the mountain air, this will take some time.
Every great magic trick consists of three parts or acts. The first part is called "The Pledge". The magician shows you something ordinary: a deck of cards, a bird or a man. He shows you this object. Perhaps he asks you to inspect it to see if it is indeed real, unaltered, normal. But of course...it probably isn't. The second act is called "The Turn". The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. Now you're looking for the secret... but you won't find it, because of course you're not really looking. You don't really want to know. You want to be fooled. But you wouldn't clap yet. Because making something disappear isn't enough; you have to bring it back. That's why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call "The Prestige".
Every magic trick consists of three parts, or acts. The first part is called the pledge, the magician shows you something ordinary. The second act is called the turn, the magician takes the ordinary something and makes it into something extraordinary. But you wouldn't clap yet, because making something disappear isn't enough. You have to bring it BACK. Now you're looking for the secret. But you won't find it because of course, you're not really looking. You don't really want to work it out. You want to be fooled.
Cutter: They're magicians, your honor. Men who live by dressing up plain and simple truths to shock, to amaze.
Judge: Even without an audience?
Cutter: There was an audience. You see, this water tank was of particular significance to these two men. Particularly awful significance.
Freddy Borden: Everything's going to be alright, because I love you very much.
Sarah: Say it again.
Freddy Borden: I love you.
Sarah: Not today.
Freddy Borden: What do you mean?
Sarah: Well some days it's not true. Maybe today you're more in love with magic. I like being able to tell the difference, it makes the days it is true mean something.
Robert Angier: I thought you said I'd have to get my hands dirty.
Cutter: Maybe someday you will; I just needed to know that you could.
Olivia Wenscombe: [referring to Angier] He wants me to come work for you and steal your secrets.
Alfred Borden: What does he need my secrets for? His trick is top-notch. He vanishes, and then he reappears instantly on the other side of the stage—mute, overweight, and unless I'm mistaken, very drunk. It's astonishing; how does he do it?
Sarah: Alfred, I can't live like this!
Alfred Borden: Well, what do you want from me?
Sarah: I want... I want you to be honest with me. No tricks, no lies, no secrets. (pause) Do you... do you love me?
Alfred Borden: Not today. No.
Cutter: Take a minute to consider your achievement. I once told you about a sailor who described drowning to me.
Robert Angier: Yes, he said it was like going home.
Cutter: I was lying. He said it was agony.
Alfred Borden: So, we go alone now. Both of us. Only I don't have as far to go as you. Go. You were right, I should have left him to his damn trick. I'm sorry. I'm sorry for a lot of things. I'm sorry about Sarah. I didn't mean to hurt her, I didn't. You go and live your life in full now, all right? You live for both of us.
The pledge of Nolan's The Prestige is that the film, having been metaphorically sawed in two, will be restored; it fails when it cheats, as, for example, if the whole woman produced on the stage were not the same one so unfortunately cut in two. Other than that fundamental flaw, which leads to some impenetrable revelations toward the end, it's quite a movie — atmospheric, obsessive, almost satanic.