Sleight of hand, comes in terms of writing by the screenplay of this.
The dexterous Christopher Nolan has mad a movie on Magic and he reveals how intricately and deceptively can a movie on Magic be made. With so many intercuts, mis-en-scenes, it's tough to grasp the pace and understand reason behind everything till the very end. The intrigue builds up with each passing scene but Alas, it falls flat in the end. The only thing I did not like is the last 2 minutes when so much revelation is done is so less time. For the rest of the time, its stupendously outstanding.
The cast has done a prime job, especially Christian Bale. Hugh Jackman and the beautiful Scarlett Johansson have played their parts convincingly well. I cannot name the characters here, as Bale and Jackman play multiple characters in the film and it's tough for me to putting them and taking away the intrigue and mystery. Scarlett Johansson plays Olivia Wenscombe and adapts to it extremely well.
The art direction is one that is extremely commendable and needs more than a thought, the setup entirely needed vision and the director Nolan had all that and more. The music is extremely situational and wonderful as it does not interrupt the narrative and still holds a place in the memory of the viewer.
Mind you, this is not a film to watch for fun, it needs some brains to decipher this, to contemplate this and to get this into our head. So the prime most thing it demands is attention and some concentration, you give them to the film, it rewards you overwhelmingly and that's a great thing for a film. The cinematography is wonderful, some long shots at Tesla's place are really wonderful. The dark and intriguing atmosphere is well built up. Kudos to the cameraman Wally Pfister.
It's a wonderful film and indeed one of the best film made on magicians. Having said that, it's a must that we have our brains intact while watching this. A 4/5 for this.