FILM REVIEW: Now You See Me
From the director of the eye-bendingly awful Clash of the Titans comes a movie about a group of magicians who — like modern day Robin Hoods — employ illusion to rob from the rich and share with average Joes. They call themselves The Four Horsemen, but when their trick empties a bank in Paris, it's the police who want to see just what they're hiding up their sleeves.
Now You See Me is a heist film made up of myth-busting and Las Vegas razzle dazzle.
The Four Horsemen are like The A-Team of illusionists: each member has been recruited for his or her unique skill set.
Isla Fisher and Jesse Eisenberg appear in a scene from Now You See Me. (Barry Wetcher/Summit Entertainment/Associated Press)
There's the streetwise pickpocket (Dave Franco). Meet Atlas, a David Blaine-style card shark (Jesse Eisenberg). Here's the morally dubious mentalist (Woody Harrelson) and, to round up, the attractive escape artist (Isla Fisher). Joining in on the fun as an ex-magician-turned-professional-skeptic is Morgan Freeman. Michael Caine is the billionaire bankrolling the show.
But even with its Ocean's Eleven-worthy cast, Now You See Me squanders its assets by focusing on a series of increasingly unbelievable stunts. Director Louis Leterrier stacks the deck, but stirs up cynicism by relying on computer effects.
Instead of true feats of wonder and skill, Leterrier turns his Four Horsemen into tuxedo-clad superheroes who throw cards like knives and juggle handcuffs like hula hoops.
The screenplay (which credits five writers) hints at tension beneath the top hats. Harrelson is clearly enjoying himself as his mentalist, Merritt, looks for cracks in Atlas' ego.
Sadly, as this fast and frivolous tale continues, the only characters we get to know are paper-thin — namely the grizzled and grumpy Detective Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) and the alluring Alma Dray, an Interpol agent who dresses like Marcel Marceau and portrayed by Mélanie Laurent.
Like the Vegas-style show in which The Horseman first appear, Now You See Me is heavy on flash and shallow in substance. It's a cinematic shell game, where the trick's on us.RATING: 2.5 out of 5
Actors (clockwise from bottom left) Dave Franco, Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher and Woody Harrelson are magicians in Now You See Me. (Barry Wetcher/Summit Entertainment/Associated Press)
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