Now You See Me | Review
Picture this: a group of wise guys (well, with one sassy woman in tow) pulling off audacious heists with suave precision. You’d be forgiven for thinking that this is yet another sequel to Steven Soderbergh’s popular Ocean’s Eleven film franchise.
In the case of Now You See Me (PG13, 116 minutes), helmed by French director Louis Leterrier (of The Transporter, The Incredible Hulk and Clash of the Titans fame), a stylised crime caper is given a new spin, as inspired by David Copperfield’s large-scale magic shows.
Four street magicians – Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher), Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson) and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) – join forces to put up a Las Vegas extravaganza under the banner of “The Four Horsemen”, which is bankrolled by their wealthy sponsor, Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine). In the audience is Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman), a former magician who reaps money from unraveling the secrets behind the performances of other magicians. When the Four Horsemen stages a bank robbery which seemingly siphons money from the vault of a French bank in Paris, law enforcers get involved – enter FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) and Interpol’s Alma Vargas (Melanie Laurent).
Story proceedings do veer on the side of the unbelievable, with the magicians morphing overnight into skilled criminals with almost-superhuman dexterities. Considering the magicians’ differences, it’s also rather incredible how they are able to function as a well-oiled unit. But putting aside any scepticism, you’ll be rewarded with a tight-paced thriller with a fine ensemble cast, offering nothing but great entertainment. And who doesn’t like to watch affable criminals staying always a few steps ahead of ever-fumbling cops?
Of course, the more elaborate and fantastical the magic tricks are, the more in-depth the audience would demand of the explanations. While not every detail is thoroughly explained, the film does give you a crash course on illusions – like how useful mirrors can be in making things disappear.
Once again, the twist at the end does require a suspension of belief – especially after the audience has been kept guessing about the mysterious mastermind that the Four Horsemen are taking orders from, and what the real motives are. So to enjoy this film, I’d suggest you do this: utter “abracadabra” repeatedly until discernible flaws dematerialise into thin air.
Text by: Dexter Yong
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