I had a lot of hope for The Prestige after being so disappointed by The Illusionist. It's not a flawless film, but it does improve over The Illusionist in several ways. First, though there are twists, The Prestige doesn't rely on them to carry the entire plot the way The Illusionist does. Once you figure out The Illusionist, there's nothing else about the story to keep you interested in the rest of the movie. With The Prestige, the characters played by Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman are fascinating, complex men all on their own. The intrigue and rivalry that surrounds them is extra.
But where secrets are concerned, The Prestige does a lot better job of hiding them than The Illusionist. If these movies were magicians and the plot twists were their tricks, The Illusionist tries to misdirect you by amateurishly pointing behind you and yelling, "What's THAT?!" The Prestige, on the other hand, is a master magician. By using the non-linear storytelling that Christopher Nolan loves so much, The Prestige has no problem keeping your mind busy thinking about other things. You're too busy trying to figure out what's going on to spend any time predicting twists or guessing mysteries.
That said, the movie seems to reveal the same secrets several times for no reason. I really don't think I figured anything out before the movie made it obvious, but once I knew something, the film would explain it again later on as if I didn't know it. I don't know if that was on purpose for a reason I can't figure out, or a flaw.
The acting in The Prestige was also more impressive than The Illusionist. That's no fault of The Illusionist's cast, it's just that The Prestige's cast had more to work with in their script. As awesome as Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti, Jessica Biel, and Rufus Sewell are, there's no beating Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson, Andy Serkis, and David Freakin' Bowie. Especially David Freakin' Bowie. The man deserves an Oscar for disappearing into his role the way he did.