Magical Game of Cat and Mouse
In Summit Entertainment’s Now You See Me, an FBI agent and a rookie Interpol detective track a team of illusionists who pull off heists during their performances and reward their audiences with the money.
Jason Bourne meets the Three Stooges
Director Louis Leterrier’s new film opens with an Ocean’s Eleven-like montage introduction to four magicians: egotistical card trick pro J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), mentalist Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson), underwater escape artist Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher) and con man and lock pick extraordinaire Jack Wilder (Dave Franco). Each of them receives a Tarot card from a mysterious benefactor with instructions to show up at a Manhattan hotel room at 4:40 one afternoon.
A year later, the Four Horsemen as the quartet is now know, is performing in Las Vegas’ MGM Grand. Without leaving the stage, they appear to rob 3 million Euros from a Parisian bank and shower the audience with the stolen cash.
Following the theft, Rookie Interpol agent Alma Dray (Melanie Laurent) and FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) investigate. Rhodes can’t prove how the Four Horsemen pulled off the theft, but he’s determined to prove they did and stop them at their next performance in New Orleans.
Both Rhodes and Atlas are witty, dismissive and self-righteous. As the show goes on, you learn the four (and their unknown benefactor) are Robin Hood-like, righting a wrong, taking from the rich bank, insurance company executive and safe manufacturer. Who to root for? The cops (who are always a step behind) trying to figure out who is next and stopping the quartet, or the four magicians taking from the rich and giving to the poor.
Mix in a corrupt insurance company chief executive (Michael Caine), a long-missing magician (who is assumed dead but was never found), a former magician who debunks myths on TV and sells DVD (Morgan Freeman), and a budding romance between Rhodes and Dray. Freeman’s pompous Thaddeus Bradley makes Rhodes look like an idiot while explaining (to him and to us) how the Four Horsemen pull off their stunts.
How many heels does it get?
Now You See Me is somewhat predictable and formulaic, and the story doesn’t keep up with the action. The plot is a little outlandish and the heists hard to explain. But it is fun to watch and good for 115 minutes out of the heat. The coolest magic trick comes in the first scene when Atlas flicks a pack of cards briskly, then a bit more slowly, in front of a woman in the audience and asks her to think of one card she’s noticed. You, the viewer, catch the briefest glimpse of the seven of diamonds and choose that one. Atlas hands the pack to the woman and asks if her card is there. It isn’t. As he gestures to the building next door, office lights appear on its glass façade in the shape of the seven of diamonds. He fooled her; he fooled you (and me). Rated PG-13. Opens May 31, 2013
My Rating: 5 Heels