Now You See Me is a high energy adventure pretty much from beginning to end.
It grabbed me within the first five minutes and didn't really let me go for the next 110 minutes.
At it's heart, Now You See Me is a heist movie... it's Oceans 11 mixed with a little bit of The Prestige. And like a good magic act it's all misdirection, sleight of hand, making you believe one thing while showing you another... so, as usual I'll try to avoid spoilers as much as possible, but there will be a few mild ones (because if there weren't this would be a really hard movie to talk about and this would be one of my shortest ever reviews).
Let's start with the cast. It really is a stellar cast. Even before you get to the four magicians, this movie stars The Hulk, Lucius Fox and Alfred... or as they're also known, Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine. Add to that list the beautiful and talented Mélanie Laurent.
And then you have The Four Horsemen... Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher and the very delicious Dave Franco. Technically I'm not a huge fan of any of them, however I think they all pretty much hit it out of the park here. They're wonderfully charismatic and seem to have great chemistry together.
The moments when they all shine the most are when they're on stage during the first two magic shows. And they make it very easy to be on the side of their characters.
Ruffalo also does an excellent job making you not be on his side as he chases after the Horsemen.
The story is wonderfully fast-paced and like a good magic trick, everything that happens is serving the story, even when you think it's not. As a mild spoiler, that was one thing that I had trouble turning off in my head a little... given the fact that this movie continually reinforces the idea that everything you're seeing is definitely part of "the plan" even when it appears to be going wrong, I was never completely taken in by the misdirections. And maybe you're not supposed to be... I still had no idea how things were being done, so maybe it's intentional that you're supposed to know that what you're seeing isn't what's really going on and yet still be unable to work out what actually happened.
That's where the majority of the Oceans 11 influence comes in, with the knowledge of how that story came together at the end I couldn't help drawing parallels as I watched this.
There's also some MacGuffin about "real magic" and a couple of the magic tricks that were clearly accomplished with CGI that I thought was somewhat unnecessary and just managed to clutter up an otherwise excellent story and pull me out of the moment.
But for the most part, Now You See Me is an excellent movie with a great cast that will keep you guessing right up until the very end.
yani's rating: 4 padlocks out of 5