Louis Leterrier‘s Now You See Me is not a film for the slow of mind. This is a movie where complete attention is required and careful watching is recommended. But that’s if you wanna follow its plot from beginning to end. If you want it to make complete logical sense, you might be a little more disappointed.
Yes, as smart and well-made as this movie is, there are parts of it that make less sense once the ending arrives and the twist shows up. It’s not the kind of twist like the one in Wreck-It Ralph where it feels like they really thought it out and planned it carefully beforehand. It feels much more outta the blue to me, but it is not enough to destroy what is otherwise a very good movie.
The plot: four incredibly talented and convincing magicians – snarky card trick extraordinaire J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), impossible escape artist Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher), thievish street magician Jack Wilder (Dave Franco), and manipulative mentalist Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson) – are assembled by an unseen employer, who gives them what’s possibly going to be their biggest show yet. A show where they will use their different sets of magic skills to commit huge crimes, such as robbing a bank in France and ruin their show’s sponsor, a corrupt business man named Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine). Together, they are The Four Horsemen.
Their crimes go exceptionally well, and on their tail they soon have FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) and his French partner Alma Dray (Mélanie Laurent). They enlist the help of professional magic show debunker Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman) to get at least some idea of how these people can pull off their tricks and heists. What ensues is several chase scenes and multiple instances of one team trying to think ahead of the other. It’s intensely interesting and fun and I would love to give the film a 5/5, but I’m sorry, they really should have gone with a different ending.
I attended the Swedish premiere of Now You See Me with my father at Heron City, Stockholm. He had many interesting theories as to who was going to turn out to be the true mastermind behind the events of the film; all of them were better than what they went with, is my opinion. He even proposed a DVD release with several alternate endings, allowing the viewer to choose what ending they think works better.
Then again, however, perhaps the ending isn’t supposed to make immediate sense. A recurring piece of dialogue in the movie is “The closer you look, the easier it will be to fool you”. Maybe that was the error I made? That I was paying too much attention to what was happening, thus letting myself get deceived by the film. If I am right, then that only makes Now You See Me more admirably intelligent than it already was. If I’m wrong, then I suppose I am once again watching a bit too closely.
Now, as with many other heist films, I think we can all agree that most of the stunts and crimes they pull in this film would be pretty much impossible to do in real life, no matter how gifted you are when it comes to magic. But if you just sit back and try to follow the story as it is, I’m confident that you will, in spite of the odd final twist, enjoy it tremendously. Now You See Me has a wickedly captivating plot, great chemistry between a wide selection of great characters (especially The Horsemen themselves), an amazingly chosen cast, an exquisite choice of music and intensely witty and funny dialogue. In some ways, it made me think of Lucky Number Slevin. Mixed with The Prestige. Hmm, one starred Morgan Freeman and the other one had Michael Caine in it. Coincidence, or all part of the trick?
Now You See Me is one of the more enjoyable movies I’ve seen in the theatre this year. It’s smart, funny and greatly exciting and I give it 4.5/5! Also, I’m sorry that I’m giving you a review of this movie instead of something slightly more current like Pacific Rim or The Lone Ranger, but I don’t think I need to mention Sweden’s unfortunate tendency to release movies here much later. Nah, I didn’t think so.