Mixing parts of ‘The Illusionist’, ‘The Prestige’ and a healthy dose of ‘Ocean’s Eleven’, director Louis Leterrier’s ‘Now You See Me’ is a heist movie involving four magicians. The illusions in the film are over-the-top but incredible, and despite the film’s flaws, its super fast pace helps its problems vanish from memory. With an all-star cast and decent dialogue, this magical caper might be one of the summer’s biggest surprises.
Getting things started quickly, we’re individually introduced to our four magicians: J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), a cocky sleight-of-hand illusionist who could put David Copperfield to shame; Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher), a beautiful escape artist who can slip out of a glass box full of hungry piranhas; Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson), a hilarious and quick-witted hypnotist; and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco), who’s basically the equivalent of Matt Damon’s role in the ‘Ocean’s’ movies, a terrifyingly good pickpocket.
All four characters are first brought together by an unknown person to pull off a high-tech illusion. Fast forward to their first heist. Now dubbed the Four Horsemen, the team somehow manages to rob a bank in Paris, France while live on stage in Las Vegas, then makes the arena rain with cash over their audience. FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) is hell-bent on taking down this band of thieves with the help of Interpol detective Alma Dray (Melanie Laurent), who seems to have a few secrets of her own. On top that come Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman), a television personality famous for debunking magic tricks, and Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine), the financier for the Four Horsemen.
These characters move quickly from state to state performing shows that draws hundreds of thousands of spectators. Meanwhile, several law enforcement agencies track their every move and Bradley tries to cash in on their mistakes. A car chase and a decent fight scene later, the film climaxes in New York with a twist ending that would put M. Night Shyamalan to shame. I can’t wait to watch this movie again to see if I missed any hints to the twist along the way.
The illusions are such an unbelievable spectacle that you have to watch the movie with a childlike sense of wonder and fascination. Much like the audiences seen in the film, you too will turn to putty in the Four Horsemen’s hands. This incredibly fast-paced movie succeeds with fun banter between the actors. It’s like a ‘Zombieland’ reunion with Harrelson and Eisenberg, and a ‘Dark Knight’ homecoming for Freeman and Caine, complete with witty insults and threats. It’s a real treat.
‘Now You See Me’ is one hell of a fun movie and definitely invites a second viewing. I don’t think this will win any awards, and maybe it has a few issues here and there, but as quickly as this picture moves, you won’t pay attention to the problems, because there’s a bigger surprise up its sleeve.