Director: Louis Leterrier
Cast: Morgan Freeman, Mark Ruffalo, Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Melanie Laurent and Michael Caine
Magic is something that never ceases to excite Hollywood filmmakers and audiences alike. And high-profile heists carried out under the cover of magic should be all the more exciting, right?
Not really, you would say, once you watch Louis Leterrier’s latest offering, Now You See Me.
The film starts off on a promising note when four struggling magicians, Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson), Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher) and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco), form a group called ‘The Four Horsemen’, and perform a heist by teleporting a man to France and robbing a bank—all in front of a live audience. The modern-day Robin Hoods then distribute the money among the viewers.
Enter FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) and Interpol agent Alma Dray (Melanie Laurent), and the chase for the horsemen begins. The group goes on their robbing spree and the cops follow always a minute too late. Then, there is Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman), a magician of yore, who is out to expose magic tricks through his reality show.
Now You See Me is one of those thrillers in which when the suspense is revealed, you feel too lazy to go looking for the hints dropped earlier to fix them together in your head. And, the makers do not do that for you either. Probably, just like the viewer, they, too, lost the plot somewhere down the line.
What begins as a promising edge-of-the-seat thriller fizzles out midway, as there is not one character who is properly sketched out. For instance, Ruffalo appears as confused as the viewer as to what exactly he is after—even when the credits roll. Eisenberg seems to be in The Social Network hangover and looks like he enjoys being the smart, arrogant one.
Veterans like Freeman and Caine handle their parts with maturity. So does Harrelson, who is a delight to watch. Both the women, Fisher and Laurent, are portrayed as strong and confident, but, of course, they should get weak-kneed when they are with smart guys, shouldn’t they?
The greatest discovery of the film, however, is Dave Franco—brother of 127 Hours star James Franco. He fits his role to perfection and is outstanding in a magic-aided fight sequence with Ruffalo, where he uses playing cards to keep the cop out of his way.
But the climax is the biggest letdown, as it fails to amuse the viewer who has waited for over an hour to get there.
Leterrier’s film is an attempt to combine a few interesting ideas, which falls flat despite a talented cast and experienced technicians on board.