Synopsis: Four talented magicians mesmerize an international audience with a series of bold and original heists, all the while pursuing a hidden agenda that has the FBI and Interpol scrambling to anticipate their next move in Now You See Me, a visually spectacular blend of astonishing illusions and exhilarating action from director Louis Leterrier (Clash of the Titans).
Release Date: May 31, 2013 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Thriller, Mystery
In Now You See Me, four talented street magicians are brought together by Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine, more recently known as Alfred from The Dark Knight) for the purpose of forming an illusionist’s Dream Team. The charismatic and clever Daniel Atlas (The Social Network‘s Jesse Eisenberg) is the rock star, hypnotist Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson from Zombieland) is the mind controller, Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher from Wedding Crashers) is the charming beauty, and street hustling card-trickster Jack Wilder (Fright Night‘s Dave Franco) is the wild card. Together, they form the Four Horsemen, and the group becomes one of the most famous magic acts in Las Vegas. At the finale of their last show in Vegas, the group uses their powers to rob a bank – in France – and the stolen money is disbursed throughout the audience. Because the victimized bank is in France, Interpol sends an officer named Alma Dray (Melanie Laurent from Inglourious Basterds) to work with FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo from The Avengers) on the case. The magicians are questioned and interrogated but, since they swear it was just part of the show and the police can’t figure out how it was done, they are released. Rhodes and Dray enlist the help of professional magic debunker Thaddeus Bradley (Se7en‘s Morgan Freeman) to help solve the crime, but he just tells them that the bank job was a mere distraction for the next real, much bigger trick that the Horsemen have planned. With both the FBI and Bradley on their tail wanting to see what comes next, the Four Horsemen do indeed have many more tricks up their sleeves.
For director Louis Leterrier (The Transporter, Clash of the Titans), Now You See Me illustrates a mature step up from his previous efforts. While the film has all of his trademark action and flash, Now You See Me is more cerebral than physical, more vicarious than visceral. Behind all the glamour and glitz of the production is a cleverly crafted, ingeniously developed mystery with twists and turns in just about every scene. The fast paced thrill ride moves quickly and, at times, saturates the audience with information. However, for the dedicated viewer who is able to keep up, it is one heck of a journey.
At the risk of losing readers, the less the viewer knows about Now You See Me, the more enjoyable the film will be. The longer the movie is in theaters, the more chance one has of hearing about any or all of the several plots points that drive the film. The narrative is set up to be purposely ambiguous; the course of the film sees allegiances change, alliances shift, and roles reverse. At times, it’s even hard to know who the protagonists and antagonists are. The surprises make Now You See Me come to life, and prospective audience members should go out of their way to avoid spoilers.
Written by first-time screenwriter Edward Ricourt along with Ed Solomon (Men in Black) and Boaz Yakin (Safe), the screenplay for Now You See Me is both creative and clever. At first, it seems to be a simple film about magic along the lines of The Prestige or The Illusionist. However, it’s much more than that. It’s a complex, well-crafted mystery in which the viewer learns the secrets of the plot along with the characters. The storyline tends to rely heavily on misdirection and smoke and mirrors, but that’s the beauty of it; the characters practically tell you what’s going to happen, yet it is still surprising. The script is a little too wordy at times, becoming bogged down in exposition and explanation, but it’s forgivable as the dialogue is used to make sure that the viewer is keeping up. There’s also superfluous romantic tension between Detective Dray and Agent Rhodes which just seems awkward and cheesy. However, the weaknesses in the script are the exception, and Now You See Me is engrossing from beginning to end.
The ensemble cast in Now You See Me is perfect. Audiences expect remarkable performances from actors like Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Woody Harrelson, but the way the cast works together is exceptional. The Four Horsemen play their roles flawlessly; they are four individuals who don’t really get along that are brought together for a common goal, and each one of them is believable. Jesse Eisenberg injects more of the same cocky condescension that he exhibited in The Social Network into his role as Daniel Atlas, and the rest of the Horsemen treat him with the contempt that he deserves. There is similar chemistry between Mark Ruffalo and Melanie Laurent – their characters are forced together against their will, and the tension between them is evident. Every actor in the film is great, but the real treat is seeing them work together. The total cast of Now You See Me is much more than the sum of its parts.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Louis Leterrier
- Screenwriter(s): Ed SolomonBoaz YakinEdward Ricourt
- Cast: Jesse Eisenberg (J. Daniel Atlas)Mark Ruffalo (Dylan Rhodes) Woody Harrelson (Merritt McKinney)Isla Fisher (Henley Reeves)Dave Franco (Jack Wilder)Melanie Laurent (Alma Dray)Morgan Freeman (Thaddeus Bradley)Michael Caine (Arthur Tressler)
- Editor(s): Robert Leighton
- Cinematographer: Mitchell AmundsenLarry Fong
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score: Brian Tyler
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA