Robert Angier – played by Hugh Jackman in The Prestige (2006)
An unconventional choice to begin with, sure, but obsessed magician played so intricately by Hugh Jackman in Christopher Nolan’s 2006 film, The Prestige, marks easily one of Jackman’s better performances on screen. Angier embodies the iconic characterisation evident throughout Nolan’s cinema, as well as taking it to the next level.
This is one of the very few characters in cinema where you (or at least I have) sided with the entire way through the film, but then have an outright opposition to his actions later on, but the rationalisation is clearly understood. A mention of Christian Bale’s character Alfred Borden may be essential, but the key connection is made with Angier and his character depth. The whole concept of the film and its title is built across Borden’s character, which is main twist towards the end of the film, giving us plausible room to shift and debate between them. Also, those who have seen the film, know that a problem occurs when trying to assess Borden, but I’ll keep that to myself for now. Otherwise, see the lengths Angier goes to ‘be the best’ in what is artistry, but the flaws that exist in such a venture, no matter how deep the pain burns.
An intrigue around Angier’s personality and emotions triggers a great deal about the film’s messages, but also highlights the fatal flaw human beings will inevitably carry, that could mark the total end to a relationship of any kind. Robert Angier’s importance, purpose and character twist is an essential element of modern cinema and characterisation, providing a great portrait of endless binaries.