Now You See Me
The trick of a magician is only as strong as the illusion is. The magic of someone like David Copperfield and his Statue of Liberty disappearing trick is best left to anyones imagination. Whenever I see this clip on YouTube, I still marvel on how it was done. Though I suspect some sort of rotating audience platform, I can’t make any claims. That last magician I saw live was Criss Angel in Las Vegas. The show I saw ended with him floating over the audience and did a self-disappearing trick simply by throwing a cloth around him, only this time in a three hundred and sixty degree angle. I was wide-awake for the rest of the trip trying to figure that out.
It’s probably the inner skeptic in me, but part of me wants to understand how the best tricks are pulled off. Search for the mirror. Find the strings. I like trying to look for a little crack on the stage; at least some sort of clue that can unlock the magical mystery. It’s like playing detective. Does this ruin the art of magic? No, I think it makes me respect the magician more now know the amount of work they had put in to cover their tracks. One FBI agent tries to uncover the secrets of a set of magicians in Now You See Me.
The movie opens by introducing four separate performers. Daniel Atlas (played by Jessie Eisenberg) is a common street magician who uses card tricks, Jack Wilder (played by Woody Harrelson) is a mentalist who was once one of the biggest names in magic, Henley Reeves (played by Isla Fisher) is an escape artist, and the young Jack Wilder (played by Dave Franco) is a coin trick artist who is also a thief. They are brought together to an apartment to carry out some sort of plan from an invisible benefactor.
One year later, all four are now performing in Las Vegas as “The Four Horseman”. During one show, they pull off a bank rob magic trick by teleporting a random Frenchman in the audience to a bank. Three million euros are then teleported back to Vegas where it starts raining on the audience. FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (played by Mark Ruffalo) takes in all four for interrogation, but releases them due to lack of evidence. He meets Thaddeus Bradley (played by Morgan Freeman), an ex-magician who now reveals magical secrets for TV. Dylan and Thaddeus play a game of cat and mouse as they try to catch “The Four Horsemen” and stop their latest heist.
The first thing is will say is that this movie has got it’s casting well done. Every single person seems to fit their role, especially “The Four Horseman”. I really enjoy seeing that even though these actors don’t have anything in common, they still clicked very well and have fun with it. Can we get more of these unorthodox casting calls?
Now let’s get to the story. I’ll give this movie kudos for crafting this kind of work; a more clever film during this kind of blockbuster season. I really wanted to see a film about investigators debunking magicians. Does it work? Almost. I had two problems. First, the focus is all on Mark Ruffalo as the FBI agent. He’s not bad, but I’ve seen his kind if character before; the asshole officer who thinks he doesn’t need to study magic to understand his criminals. The focus should have been on Morgan Freeman’s character. An ex-magician going against younger and swifter magicians? Now that would have been a great film. My second issue is that movie magicians only shine true magic when their in full control of their tricks. Practical stunts is what they needed to focus on, but I hated seeing an obvious CGI shot (the director really needed to spend money on CGI bubbles?).
I’ll give this three magician’s deck of cards out of five. Now You See Me feels like a Sci-Fi channel pilot. It’s got a great idea for a franchise, but somebody had to come in and overproduce with all too obvious special effects. But it is fun to see The Four Horsemen banter and perform. So if your into magic, I’d say give it a watch.