“Now You See Me” is the latest fictionalization of a magician’s life brought to us by Hollywood. Well, more specifically, it is a fictional story of four magicians’ lives and the FBI agent and Interpol agent who are pitted against them in a game of wits and misdirection. It stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, and Dave Franco as the four magicians. It also stars: Mark Ruffalo as the FBI agent and Melanie Laurent as the Interpol agent.
The plot is simple: the four magicians begin the movie performing separate acts but, after a few mysterious encounters, are drawn together by a stranger. They meet in a secret location where they are given specific instructions. A year later, their four separate acts have been combined into one act and they begin going about the work that they have been instructed to undertake: robbing from the wealthy and giving the money they take to the crowds at their shows. They are dragged before the FBI after their first trick where they come to the attention of Agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo). After a brief exchange of unpleasantries and a figurative slap in his face, Agent Rhodes is incensed and bent on stopping the magicians. Unfortunately, he must release them … unless he wants to accuse them of teleporting to London to rob a bank! From there it is a game of cat and mouse with the magicians always seeming to have the upper hand and Agent Rhodes always desperately playing catch-up. But slowly, he begins to unravel the mystery behind the magicians, revealing a secret society and a long-planned effort at systematic revenge.
Strengths: the four magicians had a good chemistry, the writing was good, the acting was good, and most everything (most of the magic tricks) were explained in a logical, coherent way. One or two of the tricks were left as mysteries but they weren’t plot crucial tricks to begin with. The special effects were well-chosen and well-used. Weaknesses: I’m of mixed minds regarding the twist at the end. It was an interesting twist, but … it didn’t really have any preamble as far as I could tell—there was no way you could figure it out beforehand, and I think that makes it a weakness. Still, it was an enjoyable movie.
In the end, I’ll give “Now You See Me” three and a half or four stars out of five.