The film may be titled “Now You See Me,” but I probably won’t bother to see it again.
The newest magic film, directed by Louis Leterrier, hit the box office this past weekend, and garnered more than $29 million in the first three days. The film overshadowed Will Smith’s latest endeavor “After Earth,” but the concept of this movie about magic was cooler than the actual plot.
The story follows four magicians doing independent shows around the country. Our four protagonists, Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), his ex-assistant Henly Reeves (Isla Fisher), Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) and mind reader Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson), each receive a tarot card invitation from a mysterious benefactor.
The film cuts to one year later and the magicians have hit the big time on the Vegas stage in an act where they call themselves “The Four Horsemen.” The story picks up when the main act of the show is finally performed in front of a grand audience, and pertains to an audience member robbing a Parisian bank using a teleportation device. The foursome pulls off the trick, giving their $3 million in stolen goods to their audience—but, unfortunately, are now classified as criminals.
The rest of the film shows the Horsemen on the run from the FBI, led by agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo). Interrogation proves to be hilarious when the FBI tries to crack the talented magicians, and the story continues to get more complex, albeit interesting. The legendary Morgan Freeman plays Thaddeus Bradley, an ex-magician who makes money now through revealing the secrets of magic shows; he quickly becomes an asset to the police in their search for the magicians, who seem to keep vanishing before they can catch them.
This film had a lot of strong points, such as the star-studded cast and the original story and idea. It is definitely worth checking out, but once you hit the end of the film, all the enjoyment is over.
Of course, for the majority of the film, everyone is wondering who the mysterious magician is that originally brought The Four Horsemen together, and provided them with their big time and impressive tricks. Even the Horsemen have no idea who they are really working for.
I’ll tell you this much: this plot twist comes out of left field. If you like a film that leaves small clues you should have picked up on, this film will disappoint. If you like being thoroughly shocked, you will love it. The end has a nice “what’s going to happen to everyone next!?” element, but many questions could have been answered earlier on while still maintaining to keep the audience curious.
This film has more of a feel of an action heist movie than the traditional magician film with a psychological twist like “The Prestige” or “The Illusionist.” The tricks are all very fantastical, but they lack a down-to-earth element that makes you really wonder how what we are witnessing could have been pulled off. Much of the tricks seem so unrealistic that you simply dismiss them. The question of what “real” magic is brought about many times; FBI agent Alma Vargas (Melanie Laurent from “Inglorious Bastards”) seems to believe in magic to an extent.
There are a lot of fast paced car chases, close-call escapes, hand-to-hand fighting, and a long chase scene down Bourbon Street on Mardi Gras, which, to the audience, may seem like a long shaky shot that could induce a headache.
All in all, the film was highly entertaining and a good way to spend a hot afternoon. If you don’t want to spend $10 on a ticket for something that won’t blow your mind and change your life, you might want to skip this one and head to something else.
Veronica may be reached at [email protected]