In a summer filled with extremely expensive films falling on their faces, the reasonably budgeted magician thriller 'Now You See Me' has proven itself to be one of the biggest successes of the year. And you know what this means, right? A sequel is already being planned, of course. If we're lucky, they'll have the nerve to call it 'Now You Don't' or 'Now You See Me Again' or 'Look Who's Seeing Me Now.'
Now you See Me
How rare is it for a Will Smith sci-fi blockbuster to not open at number one at the box office? Also, how horrible must it feel for a Will Smith sci-fi blockbuster to not only get beaten by the second week of a long running franchise about fast cars, but by a magician thriller headlined by Jesse Eisenberg?
The magic of cinema and the magic of magic tend to cancel each other out. Once you convince someone they're seeing alternate realities, alien conquerers, and distant futures, pulling a rabbit out of a hat looks a little underwhelming. It is a cruel, sad truth that a single cut negates all the impact of the greatest act of sleight of hand.
So, a movie about magic needs to be about more than just magic. The silly but not entirely unpleasurable 'Now You See Me' is about showmanship. There are a lot of good actors in this movie, including Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Melanie Laurent, and Mark Ruffalo. They play illusionists, mentalists, hucksters, debunkers, billionaire industrialists, Interpol officers, and FBI agents, respectively(ish). All of them, no matter whether they're wool-pullers or wool-pullees, look like they're having a grand old time misdirecting us through a labyrinthine plot involving magicians, bank heists, and decades-old vendettas. For a while, the fun is infectious. I found myself chuckling at the outrageous character names -- Dylan Rhodes! Jack Wilder! Arthur Tressler! Thaddeus Bradley! J. Daniel Atlas! -- and grinning at the ludicrous twists. Like a mark at a good magic act, I knew I was being worked over and was enjoying every second.
'Now You See Me' is arriving in the middle of one of the busiest summer movie seasons in ages, but if the film's opening scene is any indication, it looks like it'll be worth seeing in between screenings of 'Fast and Furious 6' and 'Man of Steel.' The first few minutes of the film have arrived online and we sure hope the rest of the movie is this much fun.
"The Four Horsemen," a super-team of the world's greatest illusionists, pull off a series of daring heists against corrupt business leaders during their performances, showering the stolen profits on their audiences while staying one step ahead of the law.
The trailer for 'Now You See Me' seems to suggest one crazy-ass movie. With a large and awesome ensemble cast, and a plot that seems to revolve around magicians who break into a break in Paris (while still in Vegas) only to give that money away... this could be awesome or terrible or terribly awesome or awesomely terrible. Hard to say.