Review: Now You See Me

Directed by: Louis Leterrier
Written by: Ed Solomon, Boaz Takin, Edward Ricourt
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Melanie Laurent, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine
Released: August 8, 2013
Grade: C

Now You See Me
Most would be familiar with the phrase that “you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.” I guess the cinematic equivalent is that “you shouldn’t judge a movie by its trailer.”

When I first saw advertisements for Now You See Me a few months ago, it tweaked my curiosity. A group of four magicians are standing on a stage in Las Vegas in front of a sold-out audience. For their final trick of the night, they pull a man from the crowd, teleport him into a bank vault and then have him steal millions of dollars – all of which is handed out to those in the crowd. How did they pull it off?

It’s an amazing trick… but I’m not talking about the bank vault thing. Rather, I’m referring to the trick played on those who pay money to see Now You See Me. The opening credits roll, the stage is set and then SHAZAM… all sense of logic magically disappears. The plot has more holes than a donut shop and the more you think, the more frustrated you will become.

It’s a shame because I love a good heist flick. We see someone come up with a creative plan to steal a small fortune. Recent examples which come to mind include the Ocean’s Eleven series, The Italian Job, The Thomas Crown Affair and Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels. It wasn’t the greatest of films but even 2011’s Tower Heist had its moments.

The reason the aforementioned films are so entertaining is because despite their light-hearted nature, they still come with a strong enough dose of believability. This is where Now You See Me suffers. It has a great cast, led by the likes of Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo and Woody Harrelson, but their plan relies on far too many coincidences and far too many events beyond their control. They’re not as smart as the screenwriters would have us think.

The film keeps one major detail from the audience – the identity of the person who taught these four magicians and helped them pull off the robbery. We don’t know who it is. Nor do the four magicians (which is kind of strange given that they’re trusting this person enough to commit criminal offenses). All is revealed in the final minutes and you can expect a few audible groans from those seated in the near vicinity. I don’t want to sound like I’m flogging a dead horse but IT MAKES NO SENSE!

Having spent 6 weeks inside the top 10 at the box-office in the United States, for a total take of $115m, Now You See Me has been one of the sleeper hits of the year so far. I have no idea why.