Let me start by saying I like magic, I find it to be a fun and interesting form of show business. Now You See Me takes four street magicians and places them in the role of thieves in an ‘Oceans 11’ style heist movie. Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher and Dave Franco are the magicians who are all brought together by a mysterious source to execute a convoluted series of magical robberies on a public stage leading the FBI, Interpol and Morgan Freeman chasing after them. Mark Ruffalo and Melanie Laurent play the agents assigned to catch our magicians in the act while Michael Caine rounds out the cast as a rich benefactor trying to cash in on the magic show.
Confused yet? It’s that kind of movie. Morgan Freeman is a former magician who now makes his living debunking other magic acts. Is he the man behind all of this? Melanie Laurent is the French Interpol agent who appears on the scene with no field experience but a keen interest in the art of magic. Could she be the one behind the curtain? Michael Caine sure looks to be fishy with his involvement…I think you’re getting the idea. This movie is loaded with red herrings and seems to go out of its way to challenge the viewer to figure out the trick, the only problem is the movie is also filled with plot holes so big even David Blaine could not make them disappear and when the final twist is finally revealed it’s bound to leave you feeling a little cheated.
Everyone in this very talented cast puts in some good solid work and does their best with a script that can be safely described as over ambitious but a bit lacking in character development. We never really get to know anyone here and that makes it difficult to care much about them. At one point early on the movie flashes forward one year in time and I think much of what happens in that year is sorely missed in the film.
Despite the plot holes and other flaws I still found Now You See Me to be a fairly enjoyable movie, the heists are played out in a fun manner and the cast all deliver good performances. If you’re looking for something lighthearted with a bit of action this is a good rental. If you’re the type that wants you’re heist movies to be bit more serious I would suggest sticking along the lines of The Oceans series, Inception or The Italian Job.
-Review by Brian Rohe