I was hugely anticipating this film. Magicians using their skills to pull of crimes. It’s a great idea. But does it live up to my expectations?
Now You See Me is a crime caper following a group of magicians called The Four Horsemen who use their stage show to rob a bank. They come to the attention of FBI and Interpol who start investigating them and asking how four street performers could suddenly have the money and knowledge to commit these crimes. Is there a fifth Horseman pulling the stings?
The best part of this film is The Four Horsemen themselves, street magician J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), escape artist and Atlas’ former assistant Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher), new magician Jack Wilder (Dave Franco), and mentalist Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson). The film starts off great as we are introduced to these characters, seeing their respective skills and them being brought together to eventually perform in Vegas.
However overall Now You See Me is a mixed bag of tricks. Director Louis Leterrier has collected a great cast but fails to really use them effectively. The Four Horsemen are an intriguing bunch, unfortunately they get sidetracked in the film so we can follow Mark Ruffalo’s grumpy FBI agent Dylan Rhodes and Interpol detective Alma Dray (Melanie Laurent). In supporting roles Michael Caine (as the Horsemen’s Vegas investor Arthur Tressler), and Morgan Freeman (as Thaddeus Bradley an ex magician who now reveals the secrets behind the magic) are reliably good as always but they don’t seem to have much to sink their teeth into.
The film starts off strong and The Horsemen’s tricks are involving but they do seem to get bigger and ridiculous as the film goes along, which goes for the film in general. Also a lot of their magic acts are spoiled in the trailers.
The film’s main problem is with the ending. When you watch a magic trick you want to be blown away by the performance wondering how the hell they did that and then be amazed by how simple and clever the revelation is about how it was all done. Here the film’s revelations just seem a bit ridiculous and relying a lot on blind luck.
It would have been a much more interesting film if we had been following The Four Horsemen as they perform their tricks while they wonder who they are actually working for. Considering the trailers seem to show the Four Horsemen as the main protagonists it’s a shame they are missing for great chunks of the film. Harrelson, Fisher, Franco and Eisenberg work well together bouncing off each other and light up the screen when they are performing their acts. There are hints at back stories for some of them but not enough for my liking. There is also a great fight scene involving Franco’s Jack, whose uses weapons such as card tricks and sleight of hand to evade capture of two FBI officers.
Perhaps it will be improved on repeated viewings and things might make more sense when you can go through and see how everything was done. However it’s not as good as films such as Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige (which also starring Michael Caine).
There was potentially a great film about these Four Horsemen but unfortunately this is only an entertaining but average one.