Now You See Me
Direction: Louis Leterrier
Actors: Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher
The magic touch has deserted French filmmaker Louis Leterrier (Clash of the Titans, 2010) for his hokey sleight -of-hand thriller. Despite its flashy trappings, viewers are unlikely to surrender to the spell of the on-screen legerdemain. Clues and red herrings abound around every turn as Now You See Me gradually spins itself into a tizzy especially in the plottier second half.
The caper revolves around a quartet of street hustlers (Eisenberg-Fisher-Dave Franco-Woody Harrelson) reunited by a mysterious benefactor. Billing themselves as “The Four Horsemen”, the troupe pulls off a spectacular heist in front of a live audience at a hotel in Las Vegas.
In a matter of seconds they engineer the robbery of millions of euros from a bank vault in Paris and then shower the audience with the pilfered currency. Go figure. Their Robin Hood-esque antics don’t go down well with the law enforcement agencies.
Partnered with a rookie Interpol cop (Melanie Laurent), a hyper FBI agent (Mark Ruffalo) is determined to nail the supercilious criminals. The mismatched detectives aren’t the only ones on the case, though. A former magician turned debunker of prestidigitation (Morgan Freeman) is involved in professional rivalry with a millionaire promoter (Michael Caine).
A couple of classy scenes between the two Oscar-winning thespians are almost worth the price of admission. Mistakenly equating magic with mayhem, the director indulges in dizzying camerawork and now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t editing flourishes. The attempt to tie up all the loose ends is a cop-out. The three credited scriptwriters merely concoct some of the most implausible situations imaginable. Now, that’s not magic. Poof!