In the scene where Borden was performing a bullet catch trick he gave the gun to an audience member. So, he was really expecting the audience member to shoot the bullet.

Then Angier gets the pistol and shoots Borden. Doesn't that mean a random audience member could also, possibly, really shoot Borden?

1 Answer 1


The audience member was supposed to be shooting a blank; and then Borden would have pretended to catch the bullet while producing a hidden bullet. Angier slipped something else in the barrel that struck Borden; you can briefly see him messing with the barrel right before the shot.

Cutter indirectly explains this in the film:

Cutter: A bullet catch is suicide, all it takes is some smart-ass volunteer to put a button in the barrel...

This implies that a real bullet was not expected to be fired; because if it were, putting a button in the barrel wouldn’t add danger.

  • 1
    They even explain the bullet trick at some point. Right after putting it in Borden secretly grabs the bullet from the barrel with the stick that he stuffs the powder into with (or whatever it's called).
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Sep 9, 2018 at 14:49
  • 9
    There's actually a "blink-and-you-miss-it" shot of Angier sliding his fingers along the opening of the gun right after he gets it (notably after Borden turns his back). That's when he puts something in the barrel. There's even a small sound effect of something clinking against metal. Commented Sep 9, 2018 at 15:48
  • 3
    You can see the action here: youtu.be/LTmPV3AhhnQ?t=1m11s To be clear, Angiers does not replace the blank. He slips something into the barrel such that the blank will propel it.
    – Dancrumb
    Commented Sep 9, 2018 at 17:22
  • 5
    @Graham you've not seen Penn & Teller then?
    – OrangeDog
    Commented Sep 9, 2018 at 19:07
  • 5
    @Graham - you need to watch Penn & Teller's bullet catch trick where the participating audience members have firearms experience and they clearly differentiate between the bullet and the cartrididge case. Commented Sep 10, 2018 at 2:00

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