Now That's Magic
Four street magicians find their paths crossing when they each find cards in their possession which leads them to a locked room. Each one has their own skill; J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg) is a showman with quick hands, Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher) is good at distraction, Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson) is a mentalist with a gift for hypnosis whilst for Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) there is no such thing as a locked door. Several months after meeting they find themselves putting on a show in Vegas, backed by billionaire insurer Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine) where they appear to pull a bank job in France with the use of magic. Not only do they come to the police lead by Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) and Interpol agent Alma Dray (Mélanie Laurent) but also Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman) a former showman who now exposes fakes.
I've mentioned this before; a good movie has common ground with a good magic show. You need to be drawn in to what is going on but distracted by what appears to be going when in fact something else is going on in the sidelines which you don't see. And you need the pizzazz of a good presentation so that it has some of that wow factor and not a monotonous dirge. And "Now You See Me" almost achieves this which considering it is a movie which magic at its heart is a good thing although it comes up short.
But lets look at the positives and right from the word go as we meet are four street magicians we get the show; from Atlas's big spectacular trick to Wilder intentionally fluffing a trick in order to pick a pocket. And we have mystery, well of a sort, as they all end up coming together and putting on spectaculars starting with the French bank job. Now I could go on because "Now You See Me" is slick, it dazzles with a good show and like at a funfair you are distracted by the sideshows such as when you discover how the French bank job was done, not that it explains everything and often prefers just to dazzle with some magical escapism.
And on the subject of presentation it gets the casting pretty perfect with Eisenberg, Franco, Harrelson and Fisher all entertaining as showmen whilst the likes of Caine and Freeman bring gravitas to the movie. As for Ruffalo and Laurent well you always have a bit of a question in your head about their characters.
And that leads me to the issue with "Now You See Me" as whilst it puts on a good show it does something in those opening scenes which leads you down a path. What I am on about is that when we meet each of the magicians we also meet a character in a hoodie. We don't know who they are but once the story starts the movie really comes down to who that person is as they are the brains behind things and whilst briefly you may wonder it doesn't take much to guess who that person is. It really lets the movie down as the trick ends up flawed for not concealing itself well enough.
What this all boils down to is that "Now You See Me" is undoubtedly an entertaining movie with a visual slickness which draws you in. But for me it is a movie which is flawed as the movie really comes down to the mystery of who is pulling the strings when the truth is pretty obvious.