Now You See Me: Rated “PG-13” (116 Minutes)
Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Jesse Eisenberg, Morgan Freeman, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher
Directed by: Louis Leterrier
Do you believe in magic? Well, if you don’t then after seeing this swiftly-moving action-packed thriller you just might. J. Daniel Atlas (Eisenberg), Merritt McKinney (Harrelson), Henley Reeves (Fisher), and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) are four street magicians and hustlers who are somewhat down on their luck who are approached by an unseen benefactor who turns them into high-profile Las Vegas-style headliners who have been set on a course to pull off one of the greatest magic tricks ever orchestrated. Their rise from near-obscurity to obtaining the attention and apparent backing of multi-millionaire Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine) rockets them to stardom, and yet, on their initial Vegas gig they do the impossible. They rob a bank in Paris of millions.
Not only do they rob a bank half a world away, they distribute the proceeds to the Vegas audience. Almost immediately the FBI and Interpol are called in to arrest them, only since no one can pin anything on these “Four Horsemen” they are allowed to walk. From Vegas they head to New Orleans where they pull off the second act in their trilogy of tricks as they steal even more money. Needless to say, this is still just the set-up for the third act, where they…ah, but that would be telling.
As these four tricksters, loaded to the gills with attitude and self-worth, ply their tricks and screw with FBI agent — and magic doubter — Dylan Rhodes (Ruffalo) who has been partnered (against his will) with novice Interpol agent Alma Dray (Mélanie Laurent) remain one step behind playing catch-up even as they are played for chumps by both the magicians and magician debunker Thaddeus Bradley (Freeman). This is truly is a film that you have to watch closely (in fact, several times during the film one character or another defies you to look closer, for the closer you look the more you will miss, the more you will be deceived. The reason for this (again stated over and over again within the film) is that magic is really nothing but sleight of hand, misdirection, and clever deception. Whatever you think you are seeing you are really not. When your attention is specifically directed in one direction, the real action is happening somewhere else.
So, like magic, the plot has you running all around the place always staying one step ahead as the film makers simply screw with the audience while they set everyone up for the big fall. This film works on multiple levels as the camera (like the action it is filming) never quite stops moving. Jump-cuts and matching action abound as the move rushes pell-mell from start to stop. However, if that (and the most-excellent CGI employed throughout) were all that this film had going for it we would call that a fail. However there is so much more pumping this film up, the excellent A-List cast, their top-flight performances, and a wicked-smart storyline that will have you guessing throughout the length of the film as to what the heck is really going on here.
Yeah. This one really hits on all the numbers as it delivers a first-rate story, great acting, and characters we want to win throughout the entirety of the film’s running time. This is seriously one good film with drama, humor, and slam-bang action.
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing films for some 30 years. During that time, his movie reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web. Subscribe to receive regular articles and movie reviews.