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Making money magically appear is a trick all of us would like to learn. And it’s one a group of magicians, known as the Four Horseman, appear to have perfected.
Before they were the Four, each of these players was a small-time, independent performer with skills in hypnosis, pick pocketing, or illusions. Then J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson), Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher) and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) all receive a mysterious invitation to form an act that eventually brings them to Las Vegas. For that show’s finale, the conjurors rob a French bank while still on stage and share the money with the entire audience.
Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine), the group’s sponsor, couldn’t be happier with their success. But FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) feels differently. Forced to take the case and work with Interpol agent Alma Dray (Melanie Laurent), Dylan can’t find enough evidence to hold the performers accountable, even though the French bank vault is empty. From that moment on, the illusionists become his bane.
The group also garners the attention of Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman), a reality television host who routinely debunks magicians and their tricks. While Dylan wants a quick solution to the stolen money problem, Thaddeus is happy to string along an ending in order to rake in more ratings and money.
Filled with enough glitz and dazzle to compete with any Las Vegas night show, Now You See Me glamorizes white-collar crime and offers a comeuppance aimed at the financially corrupt. Like other Robin Hood tales, there’s also an open disdain for the law, and the officers who enforce it. This arrogant attitude might be tolerable if there was some kind of consequences for the characters’ actions. But any hint of repercussions vanishes like smoke, making the depiction of stealing millions of dollars not only entertaining, but also downright enticing.
While a city center car chase, fiery crash and vicious fistfight make up most of the film’s physical violence, the movie also includes partially exposed breasts and a girl wearing only her underwear. The script contains a rude hand gesture, plentiful profanities and a smattering of vulgar and sexual expressions as well.
Setting up the trick takes special care if one hopes to fool his audience. But viewers may need to think twice to determine if this PG-13 rated movie’s script justifies its ending. With little to recommend when it comes to these characters’ criminal activities and patronizing posturing, Now You See Me is one film parents may prefer to have disappear from their teen’s must see list.
Now You See Me is rated PG-13: for language, some action and sexual content.
Director: Louis Leterrier
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman
Studio: 2013 Lionsgate
Website: Official site for Now You See Me.