Magic and Crime: Now You See Me (Now You Don't)
Now You See Me
Now You See Me is an American caper thriller film released in 2013. It is directed by Louis Leterrier and stars Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Mark Ruffalo, Dave Franco, Woody Harrelson, Melanie Laurent, Michael Caine, and Morgan Freeman.
The Four Horsemen
The film introduces 4 magicians, Daniel “Danny” Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Merritt Mckinney (Woody Harrelson), Jack Wilder (Dave Franco), and Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher) who are brought together by a mysterious benefactor.
A year later, the four magicians known as “The Four Horsemen” perform in Las Vegas. They are sponsored by Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine), an insurance magnate. The highlight of their performance is robbing a bank in Paris. They teleport a member of the audience to the vault of his bank in Paris where the audience see money being vacuumed from the bank safe and rains into the Las Vegas audience of The Four Horsemen show.
It was a great performance by The Four Horsemen but the problem is that the bank in Paris really lost the money from their vault. Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo), an FBI Agent investigates the case with his partner Alma Dray (Melanie Laurent), an Interpol agent. The Four Horsemen are arrested but released due to lack of evidence.
FBI Agent Dylan Rhodes and Interpol Agent Alma Dray did not stop their investigation. They contact Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman), a former magician now making money by revealing other magician’s tricks. He is in the audience when the “bank-robbing” trick is performed and he walks Dylan and Alma through the whole magic trick.
Dylan, Alma, and Thaddeus go to the Four Horsemen’s next performance in New Orleans. In that show, the four magicians successfully transfer money from the bank account of their sponsor Arthur Tressler to the accounts of the audience who have been victims of Hurricane Katrina but whose claims have been reduced or denied by the insurance company of Tressler.
Dylan tries to arrest the Four Horsemen but fails. Tressler hires Thaddeus Bradley to expose the Four Horsemen and humiliate them in their next performance. Alma Dray who seems to be very interested in magic suggests to Dylan that the four magicians may be involved in some kind of an initiation because they are not into the money. In fact, they are some kind of a “Robin Hood” who robs the rich and gives the money to the poor.
Alma mentions about a secret society of magicians called “The Eye” which carries out a twice-a-century initiation where those who pass get access to real magic. She also tells him about Lionel Shrike, a magician who died many years ago. Thaddeus has exposed his tricks and ruined Lionel. In his bid to rebuild his career, he attempts a death-defying stunt by escaping from a safe thrown into the river but the stunt has gone wrong. Alma believes that there is a “Fifth Horseman” behind the group.
While preparing for their show in New York, the Four Horsemen are again chased by the authorities. Three of them escape but Jack Wilder is chased by Dylan and Alma across the city until his car crashes and explodes, burning him inside.
Losing Jack has not deterred the other members of the Four Horsemen. They vowed to complete their final performance and that is to steal a safe filled with money. The safe is made by Elkhorn, the company that has produced the safe where Lionel Shrike died in.
With the aid of the papers that Dylan took from Jack’s burning car, they are able to pinpoint the Four Horsemen’s next heist. To their frustration, they have been chasing an empty safe.
The remaining members of the Four Horsemen perform their last show in spite of being chased by authorities. They seem to vanish into thin air while a shower of bills rain down on the crowd. The bills are fake but the real ones are found in the car of Thaddeus Bradley who is assumed to be the Fifth Horseman and promptly arrested.
Meanwhile, the three members of the Horsemen are joined by Jack, who is much alive and the four of them meet their mysterious benefactor. They are all welcomed into “The Eye.”
Jesse Eisenberg is Daniel “Danny” Atlas, an illusionist and street magician who is seen as the leader of the Four Horsemen.
Mark Ruffalo is Dylan Rhodes, the FBI agent assigned to investigate the Four Horsemen.
Woody Harrelson is Merritt McKinney, a hypnotist, mentalist, and a self-proclaimed psychic.
Isla Fisher is Henley Reeves, an escape artist and stage magician who is Danny’s ex-girlfriend and former assistant.
Dave Franco is Jack Wilder, a sleight of hand illusionist, street magician, and is able to pick locks.
Melanie Laurent is Alma Dray, a French Interpol agent who becomes Dylan Rhodes’ partner in the investigation of the bank theft, also Dylan’s love interest.
Morgan Freeman is Thaddeus Bradley, ex-magician who makes his living by exposing the secrets behind other magicians’ tricks.
Michael Caine is Arthur Tressler, an insurance magnate who has sponsored the Four Horsemen’s shows.
In the movie, the character of Isla Fisher is supposed to scream for help when she cannot get herself out and that is part of the stunt. In the real shooting of the film, Isla almost drowns when she gets stuck inside the glass filled with water. She bangs on the glass to alert the crew but they did not realize it is for real because she is supposed to do that in the scene. Fortunately, she untangles herself and gets out safely.
Now You See Me is a combination of magic and crime movie. Magic is the movie’s selling point. Imagine, robbing a bank located in Paris from Las Vegas through magic.
The movie can keep you on your seat but be sure to listen to the dialogue well in order to follow the story. There are no boring or dragging scenes even if it is trying to establish a subplot where the two government agents chasing the Four Horsemen begin to fall for each other.
The actors did a good job even though their characters have not been given enough room for growth. It would have been nice to know more about their motivation in doing tricks that could send them to jail. Of course, we know that they want to get into The Eye but that point has not been explored well.
The end is predictable because the movie makes it very clear that there is a Fifth Horseman. Aside from being predictable, the ending is also a disappointment because the revelation has no impact. A grand magic show would have been a good way to reveal the identity of the benefactor. After all, the plot revolves around this person who has used the four magicians to accomplish his purpose.
Overall, it is an entertaining movie. I would recommend this movie and I hope you like the twist at the end.
In spite of mixed reviews from critics, Now You See Me is a box office success. A sequel is set for release in 2016.
Interesting Lines from the Movie
Look closely, because the closer you think you are, the less you’ll actually see.
First rule of magic: always be the smartest person in the room.
What is magic? Magic is deception, but deception designed to delight, to entertain, to inspire. It is about belief. Faith.