Now You See Me is a silly magic-themed heist picture that works in the moment but evaporates on further inspection. This is a movie that positions itself as The Usual Suspects lite, sharing more in common with the Ocean’s Eleven pictures than The Prestige or The Illusionist. A group of four freelance street magicians, who specialize in different arenas of the art form, are brought together by a mysterious benefactor to pull off the greatest trick in history. The group, now dubbed The Four Horsemen, will rob a bank while never leaving the stage of a Las Vegas showroom.
The troupe bands together to perform sold-out shows on the Las Vegas Strip. During one of these performances, they claim to have robbed a bank in Paris without leaving the center stage. This of course grabs the attention of the F.B.I., who assign a skeptical agent (Mark Ruffalo) on the case. Aiding the Federal agents is Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman), an outcast in the community for his televised specials revealing ‘tricks and illusions’ to the public. Yet, even he is baffled at the intricacies of the heist. This builds over a series of well-written scenes in a script from Ed Soloman and Boaz Yakin that is greatly aided by delivery from some of today’s best actors.
So is the set-up for the twisty action thriller that sports a distinguished cast in virtually every role, all of whom seem to realize they are slumming the waters of B-Movie material. If you disagree, I ask; Would this same film be worthy of a theatrical release if it had featured an unknown cast and less elaborately designed set-pieces? Director Louis Leterrier loves his moving camera and in this case the hyper energy caused by the rapid tracking shots, give the stage scenes a heightened surrealism that the film is constantly striving towards.
Now You See Me is a great one-off, I thought of other films in the category, Primal Fear and The Usual Suspect to name a few. Each share a surprise ending that is well deserved and achieved through audience investment and intelligence in the writing. Now You See Me is the kind of movie that becomes a word of mouth hit for good reason, I don’t think I’d ever re-visit the film, but I’m glad to have seen it.
Director: Louis Leterrier
Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman