Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Mélanie Laurent, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Michael Kelly, Common, José Garcia, Caitriona Balfe, Elias Koteas
Four magicians are invited to attend a meeting in an apartment, A year later, they call themselves the Four Horsemen and the finale of their show in Las Vegas is to rob a bank. They actually rob a bank in Paris, and this "incident" is brought to the attention of the FBI who assign agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) to investigate alongside with Interpol agent Alma Dray (Mélanie Laurent). However, this mystery proves difficult to solve, even with the insights of the professional illusion exposer, Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman).
Like a real magic show, Now You See Me is a deliciously well-played and entertaining film that does not have much substance.
The best thing about the film is undoubtedly the pacing and the thrills, but unfortunately there is not much more. The real trick is the plot: no need to say Abracadabra, it's already gone. Obviously the audience agrees to be fooled, but this plot is an insult, and includes a mirror that covers up a safe - predictable since the same trick has been shown earlier in the film - and a ridiculous chase by the FBI, whose agents seem like schoolboys struggling with the first day of training.
The narration and the shots seem to be those of an action movie rather than a crime caper, and the atmosphere is that of a cat hunting a mouse, only you can't tell who's the cat and who's the mouse.
Also the film tries to reflect on the wonder, the belief in magic and the willingness to be fooled, a little like "The Prestige" did - I humbly apologize to Nolan for the comparison -, but doesn't go beyond pure entertainment.
All well acted, the characters completely lack development and are nothing more than caricatures - Jesse Eisenberg as the egocentric magician, Isla Fisher as his former assistant who has become a star, Woody Harrelson as the once-famous mentalist and Dave Franco as the petty criminal with some magic skills. The rest of the cast, Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Mélanie Laurent, surprisingly does a good job considering how poor their characters are.
But then again, it's really entertaining, and perfect to just chill.
"The closer you think you are, the less you'll actually see."- Daniel Atlas