By now we realize that magic isn’t real. Quarters don’t randomly grow behind ears, and rabbits are not pulled out of empty hats. There are tricks to draw the audience’s eye away while the magician performs their illusions using a sleight-of-hand. Even though we know it isn’t real, we love to be transported into a world where for a few moments we can believe that it is real and allow ourselves to be entertained by what we are being shown.
That is the pull for Now You See Me. The film, directed by Louis Leterrier (Clash of the Titans, The Incredible Hulk), is centered around FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) who plays the ultimate game of cat and mouse with a group of small time magicians who have mysteriously made it to the big time under the stage name The Four Horsemen. After a seemingly impossible trick is performed, Rhodes finds himself falling deeper into something that he does not understand. As he tries to keep the the line between magic and reality clear, the audience follows along as they learn that things aren’t always what they seem.
The film carries a powerhouse cast. Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco and Jesse Eisenberg star as the enigmatic magicians. The chemistry between the four was on point throughout the entire film. They were playful and they created a sense of kinship as the film went on. Mélanie Laurent stars as an Interpol agent who teams up with the FBI to help stop the four magicians. Laurent and Ruffalo’s characters seem to be complete opposites. Their differences cause them to bump heads multiple times, but as the film continues, they find that first impressions aren’t everything. Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman also star in the film as a benefactor and former magician, respectively. The two Hollywood legends were as entertaining as they always seem to be. To their credit every single actor gave wonderful performances.
The film was an entertaining roller coaster ride from start to finish with so many twists and turns it’ll make your head spin. When you think you’ve figured it out, you’ll realize that you were very, very wrong. The comedic bits helped the film from dragging a bit and the suspense was enough to skip a few heartbeats. It was as if the entire theatre was transformed into one giant magic show.
There is something that bothered me about the film. There were multiple times throughout the film where rotating camera shots were used. The numerous uses sometimes caused me to feel a little dizzy and I had to look away from the screen at certain times to clear my head. But perhaps that was its purpose to make the audience feel dizzy and confused to set the ambiance of how the FBI agents felt as they were constantly getting tricked and one-upped by these illusionists. The camera angles were just another trick to help divert the audience’s eye from what was really going on, and prevent them from figuring out where the film was going to go.
The illusions that were performed were mesmerizing, sometimes the CGI was a bit off, but the pure fantasticism of the feats that were pulled off makes up for it. I found myself rooting for the magicians as the film carried on. I was on the edge of my seat whenever situations became hairy. I wanted them to succeed because I wanted to believe. The Four Horsemen were able to rally the general public to a seemingly noble cause. Their Robin Hood-esque magical acts were charming, mystifying and sometimes made me feel a bit warm inside.
Even with the sometimes dizzying shots, it was a quintessential summer film. We know that magic isn’t real, but by the end of the film, we realize that it is fun to believe in. With everything that’s happened in the world these past few weeks, it’s nice to believe that maybe, just maybe, there is a bit of magic somewhere out there.
Now You See Me hits theaters on May 31, 2013.