Now You See Me

WRITTEN BY: Ed Soloman, Boaz Yakin, Edward Ricourt
DIRECTED BY: Louis Leterrier
STARRING: Mark Ruffalo, Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Melanie Laurent, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine
RATING: 3.5 stars

Now You See Me raises questions, for those interested in magic, about looking closely at the details and paying attention to tricks of misdirection. It is an interesting point because the closer you look at the film the more it crumbles. But, if you are willing to suspend some reality and immerse yourself in the film, you will actually enjoy Now You See Me. There is a strong, likeable cast that holds it together and a twist at the end. Even though I saw it coming, I know many others will not. As far as magic films go, it is not as impressive as The Prestige, but it is still full of clever tricks. In fact, it has an Ocean's 11 vibe about it, which keeps the humour and intrigue flowing.

We are first introduced to four magicians – arrogant J. Daniel Atlas (Eisenberg), his former assistant Henley Reeves (Fisher), mentalist Merritt McKinney and pick-pocketing card trickster Jack Wilder (Franco). Each magician receives a tarot card that leads them to an old apartment. The films jumps to one year later as they are enjoying the success of their magician supergroup called the Four Horsemen, sponsored by Arthur Tressler (Caine). Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman) is also watching their every move as he tries to solve how they perform their magic. But when they perform a show in Las Vegas, they manage to use their magic tricks to rob a Paris bank. They are then pursued by FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) and Interpol agent Alma Dray (Melanie Laurent).

The cast includes an impressive list of actors, led by Ruffalo. He never plays it safe and is always a completely different character in everything he does. His performance in Now You See Me is brilliant. Eisenberg is also convincing and Harrelson is quite funny. Laurent is good but the sexual tension between her character and Ruffalo's character was hardly necessary. A better love story was the one between Henley and Daniel, which was not explored enough. In fact, while Fisher's character was interesting, she was unfortunately underused. Franco's motivations are also one-dimensional. It would have been good to flesh out their characters more. Nonetheless, both give solid performances. Perhaps we will learn more about them in a possible sequel. Caine and Freeman are reliable actors and are also a welcome addition to the film as pivotal characters.

Perhaps Now You See Me over-reaches with its story and falls flat in some areas, but it sure is fun.