Now You See Me: Big Trick, Small Pay-Off
Dave FrancoIsla Fisher...
From director Louis Leterrier – the same man behind The Incredible Hulk and The Transporter series – Now You See Me is upbeat, sleek and perhaps a little too clever for its own good, but manages to entertain despite its minor flaws.
Now You See Me opens with a series of scenes that serve as an introduction to its main characters, starting with J.Daniel Atlas (Eisenberg); a fast-talking stage magician who enjoys impressing the ladies with his clever choose-a-card trick. Merritt McKinney (Harrelson) is a mind reader who can dig up your deepest secrets and Henley Reeves (Fisher) is Atlas’ former assistant who now runs her own show, while Jack Wilder (Franco) is a swindling small-time con artist who can empty your pockets before you’ve had a chance to blink.
The group is soon brought together as part of ‘The Four Horseman’ act, run by multi-millionaire, Arthur Tressler (Caine). During a performance, the group invite a member of the audience to help with the act, which teleports him to Paris where he becomes complicit in the robbery of a bank. The incredible stunt gets the attention of FBI agent, Dylan Rhodes (Ruffalo), and his Interpol partner, Alma Dray (Laurent), as well as infamous magic-debunker, Thaddeus Bradley (Freeman) – who makes it his business to expose the truth behind their tricks.
With more robbery-acts on the group’s agenda, Rhodes, Dray and Thaddeus fight to keep up with the rag-tag team, as their skills keep them one, if not two, steps ahead.
Firstly, there’s a certain amount of silliness and implausibility that is underlined in the core of the storyline. The vast size of the showmanship and tricks displayed are a little far-fetched and the explanations that follow each deception are quite improbable However, the story never requests a great deal of examination and it does carry an undeniable amount of energy and zest to keep audiences firmly on their toes.
Now You See Me‘s big and bright stage acts are where the film works its magic – literally – and along with a couple of engaging chase scenes, as well as incredibly fast-paced fist fights and face slaps, Leterrier’s efforts pay off reasonably well.
The energy between the cast is another contributing factor; Eisenberg serves up another arrogant and yet incredibly charming performance, and the witty banter between him and Fisher keeps everything sharp. Franco – younger brother of James Franco – is equally enchanting, while Mr. Harrelson is downright fantastic. However, the heavyweight presence of Oscar-winning actors, Morgan and Caine, is fleeting and never registers on the screen with much impact, while Ruffalo has little space to breath as an atypical law enforcement figure.
Now You See Me is far from perfect and seems strangely unconcerned with its several clear inconsistencies, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t sit back and enjoy the show.