From the opening words of Morgan Freeman in the trailer Now You See Me has gained great interest for audiences. The film focuses on four street magicians – all top craftsmen in their areas of expertise. There’s a magician, a hypnotist, an illusionist and a thief (probably the weakest out of them all in terms of talent). The audience are introduced to them separately but it isn’t long before the four become connected and summoned to be part of something greater – the biggest trick ever pulled.
J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg) is the magician, pulling brilliant card tricks and attracting the women. Eisenberg is his usual self, except this time he has an air of leading man about him. Possibly the hair, possibly the magical talent but something is different about him in this film and he carries the look of magician very well. He is teamed with Woody Harrelson again who stars as Merritt McKinner, the hypnotist. This pairing is like seeing two old friends come together. Their on screen relationship still works just like it did in Zombieland with Woody still leading the way in being the King of Cool. Isla Fisher is illusionist Henley Reeves and Dave Franco the street thief Jack Wilder. Both confident in their characters although Franco is the only one who seems like he knows he isn’t quite up there with the rest, but this doesn’t detriment the film – if anything it adds a nice subtle touch. All together they become the Four Horsemen.
Our four leads are pursued by some film heavy weights in the shape of Morgan Freeman as Thaddeus Bradley, a man who has made his career demystifying magician’s tricks and sharing their secrets. He is hired by Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine), the Four Horsemen’s once benefactor until he became part of their grand trick – to find out how they did it and take revenge. Caine is almost a little sinister in this film which is a refreshing change after seeing him as the supportive Alfred to Christian Bale’s Batman for so long.
Then there is Mark Ruffalo and Inglorious Basterds’ Melanie Laurent as FBI agent Rhodes and Interpol’s Alma Dray. These two are a clash of characters with one being the believer and the other the cynic. Ruffalo of course is the cynic leaving you always wondering about Dray and where her real loyalties lie, providing a great undertone throughout the entire film.
You couldn’t speak about this film without commenting on the effects and the scale of the tricks. The special effects department really excel themselves with some mind-blowing tricks that, despite being in a movie, make you wonder how they were possibly achieved. From simple illusions such as a twist of a card to a slip of the wrist, handcuffs change from one person to the other all the way to the finale.
The story is jam packed and doesn’t let the audience sit back and relax for a moment, it has a rhythm much like a great trick in that it entices you in, draws your attention, misdirects you and then bam – you are left open mouthed at the result.
Now You See Me is a truly great, cool, mystifying film. It will leave you intrigued, hold your attention and make you beg for more. Just remember don’t look too close – you don’t want to spoil the magic.
Best Performance: The Four Horsemen collectively
Best Scene: The interview scene with Atlas & Rhodes and the finale
Best Line: “First rule of magic: always be the smartest person in the room” – Atlas