In this visually spectacular blend of astonishing illusions and exhilarating action from director Louis Leterrier (Clash of the Titans), four talented magicians mesmerize an international audience with a series of bold and original heists, all the while pursuing a hidden agenda that has the FBI and Interpol scrambling to anticipate their next move.
Cinematic sleight of hand and digital prestidigitation drive Now You See Me, a slick popcorn movie about four magicians coming together to pull off a heist and maybe right a wrong at the same time. Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson, and Dave Franco play the Four Horsemen, who each have their individual skills (Harrelson is a master hypnotist, for example) but have combined to put on an amazing show in Vegas--a show that culminates in robbing a French bank. The authorities don't know how they did it, but an FBI agent (Mark Ruffalo) and an Interpol agent (Mélanie Laurent, Inglourious Basterds) start tracking the Four Horsemen as they prepare a second performance in New Orleans. A professional skeptic (Morgan Freeman), however, suggests that these performances are only the preamble to a much bigger trick, and that maybe the Four Horsemen themselves are misdirection. The excellent cast (which also includes Michael Caine) and the unrelenting pace give Now You See Me the illusion of sense and coherence, and the movie can be fun if you surrender to it. Don't think too hard about the illusions themselves; the real fun of magic is not being able to figure out how it's done, whereas we know exactly how the "magic" in Now You See Me works: editing and CGI special effects. Even the few tricks that are supposedly explained fall apart with a moment's thought--they wouldn't actually work. The most compelling element of the movie is the developing romance between Ruffalo and Laurent, two charming actors who know how to let emotion simmer under the surface. That's a different--and much more enticing--kind of magic. --Bret Fetzer