The Movie Waffler New Release Review - Now You See Me | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - Now You See Me

Four illusionists are brought together by a mystery figure.

Directed by: Louis Leterrier
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Melanie Laurent, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman

Illusionists Daniel (Eisenberg), Merritt (Harrelson), Henley (Fisher) and Jack (Franco), each receive a card instructing them to visit a run down apartment at the same time. When the quartet arrives, they find elaborate blueprints for a series of extravagant magic routines. Using these plans, they form a wildly popular show, with the sexist moniker of 'The Four Horsemen', and, at one Vegas performance, they appear to steal millions from a Paris bank, showering the Vegas audience with the seemingly stolen cash. The FBI assigns Dylan Rhodes (Ruffalo) to investigate, alongside Interpol agent Alma Vargas (Laurent). Enlisting the aid of professional debunker Thaddeus Bradley (Freeman), the agents set out to solve the crime and attempt to stop the four illusionists repeating a similar act at their next performance.
The art of illusion, this film repeatedly tells us, relies on one key element: distraction. Make the audience focus their attention in one area, while you perform the mechanics of the trick somewhere else. The screenwriters of 'Now You See Me' attempt to employ the same trick where the plot of their film is concerned. The opening of their film leads us to believe the four illusionists are our lead characters but they're quickly usurped by Rhodes and Vargas. The film we expected to be 'Ocean's 11' with magic turns out to be less of a caper flick and more of a procedural buddy cop movie; a pretty unconvincing one at that.
In reality, magicians don't exist. The skeptic James Randi has a standing offer of a million dollars for anyone who can display the ability to perform actual magic. Nobody has ever successfully claimed it. Those who call themselves magicians are really just illusionists. In the movies, of course, magic can exist but it's revealed early on that the quartet here possess no such magic skills. The debunker Bradley talks us in great detail through how each of their elaborate tricks are pulled off but the problem is his explanations are just too convoluted for us to swallow. There's also a lack of consistency as we're told they can rob a bank without any magic ability but we're given no explanation as to how they perform smaller tricks, such as when Daniel makes his handcuffs leave his wrists only to appear on those of Rhodes. I won't go into details but the twist ending makes no logical sense whatsoever and is reminiscent of the 'Seinfeld' episode where George secretly plots for years just to be able to make a specific witty retort at the right time in the right place.
'Now you See Me' is admittedly more entertaining than watching David Blaine sleep in a glass box, thanks to its impressively assembled cast, but it asks far too much of our suspension of logic.

Eric Hillis