We’re all familiar with how heist movies work, since Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s franchise broke down every step of the heist to show how clever the writers are for coming up with such an elaborate heist, so despite the twists and turns of Louis Leterrier‘s Now You See Me are clever and well thought out, playing on the ingenuity of magic and slight of hand, they’re also incredibly (unfortunately) predictable. It is, however, no less enjoyable.
The basic premise, a mysterious benefactor brings four street magicians, each with their own talents and skills, together to form a magic supergroup if you will, named The Four Horsemen. Their heists have them robbing millions of dollars, which they give away to their audience, putting them on the world stage. After the first robbery, the FBI enlist Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) to investigate the quartet and to uncover the truth behind the illusion. He is sent a beautiful assistant from Interpol, Alma Dray (Mélanie Laurent), who acts as a sort of spiritual guide in debunking the myths behind the magic. The pair are assisted in their quest to catch the crew by magician turned magic whistleblower Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman) who is following the four horsemen very closely in order to bust their miraculous deeds wide open to his millions of adoring fans. Ironically, Thaddeus supposedly started his debunking business to rebuild the publics enjoyment and interest in magic, and now that people are interested again, he is doing everything in his power to shut them down.
The ensemble cast work very well together with Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg) the self appointed leader of the group with his wanky pretentious speeches about the merits and particulates of magic and the human psyche, Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson) the small time mentalist who can really get inside a persons head and likes to goof around with everyone, Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher) is the sassy potential love interest for Atlas and wears some nice, tight, revealing outfits, and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) the small time pick pocket who acts as a sort of rookie outsider in the group but is in fact a really smooth fingered badass.
The twists and turns are varied, many red herrings are thrown at us from all angles, and while the scripting is often chaotic and a little clunky, the final reveal neatly wraps the film in a nice big bow, with a final bow to the mysticism and tradition of magic and the men and women who give their lives to bring a little of it into our lives.
Now You See Me is in Australian cinemas from 8 August through Hopscotch Films.