The silver screen has never been able to easily capture the brilliance of magic tricks and illusions – the camera’s stationary viewpoint makes misdirection difficult and the audience’s removal from the scene frequently eliminates the necessary aura of mystery and wonder. However, director Louis Leterrier (“Transporter,” “The Incredible Hulk”) decided to take on the difficult task of bringing sleight of hand and smoke and mirrors to the big screen in his latest film, “Now You See Me,” which was released today, May 30, 2013.
The film opens with the acts of three talented magicians and a mentalist – all of whom are at different points in their careers. J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg) is a popular rising magician who is quickly making his way to the top. Merritt Osbourne (Woody Harrelson) is a once world-renowned mentalist struggling to return to his previous status after facing tax problems. Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher) is J. Daniel’s former assistant working diligently to make a name for herself with life-threatening performances, and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) is an unknown street magician who is still honing his skills.
The group is mysteriously brought together and encouraged to join forces to perform one of the most intricate and elaborate illusions in history – an illusion that they announce will include three separate performances. They form a group known as “The Four Horsemen” and put on their first massive performance in Las Vegas, which they conclude by robbing a French bank in less than ten minutes.
Unsurprisingly, the group is immediately pursued by the FBI and is forced to avoid the fiercely dedicated agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) and Interpol specialist Alma Vargas (Mélanie Laurent) while still working to put on their next two shows.
The film suddenly goes from a simple depiction of illusions to a thrilling mix of a heist film, a police procedural, and a mystery whodunit, which keeps the audience guessing and makes it easier to portray the occasional tricks on the big screen.
“Now You See Me” is so full of possibilities that it’s impossible to guess what will come next, and, as Jesse Eisenberg’s character J. Daniel Atlas so often repeats, “The closer you look, the less you’ll see.”
Director Leterrier fills the plot with so many misdirection’s that you stop trying to guess what will come next and just wait excitedly to see what the next performances will hold and how the action will unfold. The film’s shocking conclusion brilliantly ties the plot together and makes for a thoroughly entertaining and engaging experience.
The plot is strengthened by the brilliant performances by the film’s star-studded cast. Ruffalo does a great job in his role as an angry and dedicated FBI agent as he struggles to keep up with the brilliant Horsemen. His performance is perfectly countered by the horseman, primarily Eisenberg and Harrelson, who bring their egotistical, confident characters to life. The two most experienced actors in the film, Sir. Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman hold the film together with their roles as secondary characters without demanding too much screen time.
“Now You See Me” is a thrilling, intelligent and extremely engaging summer film that’s absolutely worth seeing (especially considering its current competition of “The Hangover 3,” “The Fast and the Furious 6” and “After Earth”). The film offers and exciting and unpredictable thrill ride that is sure to keep viewers guessing until the very end.