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Much of their conflict throughout the film is via proxies: Olivia, the glamorous assistant who becomes a shared love (Scarlett Johansson, struggling so hard with an English accent she forgets to engage her audience, trilling the film’s only bum note); Cutter, the sagacious mentor who believes it’s pointless getting into magic unless you’re prepared to get your hands dirty (a superb Michael Caine); and Tesla, the reclusive electrical pioneer who possibly holds the key to the mystery (David Bowie — the quirky casting only just paying off thanks to his discomfitingly glassy delivery).
His crowd-pleasing instincts initially stink, but his devotion to his art is powerfully all-consuming, much to the detriment of his marriage.
As he does so, we cut to a grave-looking Hugh Jackman, as Rupert Angier (aka The Great Danton), performing a spectacular trick that features blue crackles of electricity writhing around a towering array of machinery that wouldn’t look out of place in Dr. The audience gasps in half-fearful anticipation; Angier invites members of the crowd on stage.
One of them is Christian Bale, as Alfred Borden (aka The Professor), in disguise, face swathed in shadow. Soon after, something terrible has happened and Borden is charged with murder. He begins reading it, triggering a flashback in which we see Angier reading Borden’s memoirs, which triggers yet another flashback.
Her father, William Sayre, was a direct descendant of the famous Irish witch Morrigan, an Animagus whose creature form was a crow.
William nicknamed his daughter ‘Morrigan’ for her affinity for all natural things when she was young.