Now You See Me is a 2013 heist flick, but with magicians instead of bank robbers. Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, and Dave Franco star as The Four Horsemen, street magicians who were brought together by a mysterious benefactor. They have a hugely successful show in Las Vegas, but they really hit the big time when they seemingly rob a bank in Paris during one of their shows. This gets the attention the FBI and Interpol, and then it becomes a cat and mouse game as The Four Horsemen attempt a few more magical robberies while the authorities try to figure how to stop them.
There’s lots of plot twists and shocking character revelations, but it’s a pretty by the numbers caper film. It’s kind of like Ocean’s Eleven meets The Prestige. There are multiple heists, people on both sides trying to outwit each other, and there’s an over the top action sequence that seems totally out of place. It’s an entertaining flick, but it’s pretty hollow. They use to many computer-generated special effects. They should have stuck to practical effects like how real stage magicians perform their tricks. At one point Isla Fisher floats around the stage in a CG bubble. That’s not a trick and that’s not impressive.
And there are way too many characters to keep track of or care about. Mark Ruffalo and Mélanie Laurent play the cops tracking down The Four Horsemen. Morgan Freeman plays a rival magician who exposes tricks and who helps the authorities. Michael Caine plays an Insurance magnate and the sponsor of The Four Horsemen with a shady past. Common has a supporting role as an FBI supervisor.
Now You See Me is just another Hollywood blockbuster that pretends to be smarter than it is. And it’s getting a sequel. It’s a franchise now. Bank robbing magician flicks are suddenly a genre. What is the world coming to?
Critically Rated at 11/17
Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young