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I have always been fascinated with magic and magic shows that the best magicians have put up. Now You See Me is a 2013 American heist thriller film with lots of doses of magic directed by Louis Leterrier and written by Ed Solomon, Boaz Yakin & Edward Ricourt. The film features an ensemble cast of Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Mélanie Laurent, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman.
The movie starts with four street/stage magicians who are each brought together to one place, an apartment in NYC, when a mysterious stranger places an invite on each of them. At the apartment, they meet each other and find information from an unknown benefactor. This makes the 4 of them join forces. A year later, the four perform their first major performance as the Four Horsemen in an elaborate Las Vegas show funded by insurance magnate Arthur Tressler heir final trick appears to transport one of the audience members to the vault of their bank, the Crédit Républicain in Paris, where stacks of new euro bills are stored. At the magicians’ commands, the fans in the vault activate, drawing the bills into the vents and then showering the Las Vegas crowd with them. The euros are shown to be real, and the vault in Paris is found to be empty of its recent shipment of euros, leading FBI agent Dylan Rhodes, and Interpol agent Alma Dray, to be partnered and investigate the Horsemen.
The two question the magicians but other than getting dazzled by some magic tricks they get nothing. Rhodes & Alma turn to Thaddeus Bradley, a former magician who has since gone to help explain the tricks behind other magic acts. He shows the FBI how the magicians used a mock vault under the Las Vegas stage, and that the group must have stolen the money in Paris before it arrived at the bank, replacing it with flash paper that left no evidence. The FBI with Thaddeus and his entourage follow the Horsemen to their next show in New Orleans, where their final trick appears to transfer millions of dollars from Tressler’s private accounts to those in the audience, mostly made up of people that were denied insurance claims by Tressler’s company in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Dylan and Alma try to capture the four but the magicians elude capture. Tressler hires Thaddeus to expose the Horsemen in revenge for the loss of his money. Alma meanwhile has researched the Horsemen and determines they are connected to a group called the Eye, a small group of magicians that claim to have access to real magic. She finds out one of the Eye’s members, Lionel Shrike, had previously been exposed by Thaddeus but died in a locked-safe escape trick he was performing to try to regain his standing. Alma suspects a fifth person is aiding the Horsemen.
They track the magicians to a NYC apartment where the four are burning their paperwork and any material that can track their assets. While the other three make their way through another entrance while Jack stays behind to continue burning the paper and fights off Dylan and then escapes in a stolen car. Jack loses control of his car, causing it to flip and catch fire. Dylan is unable to save Jack, but manages to recover the papers, pointing to the Horsemen’s next planned crime, stealing millions of dollars in cash out of a large Elkhorn safe. Dylan, Alma, and Thaddeus find the safe has already been stolen, and when they track it down, its contents have been replaced with balloon animals. The three remaining magicians broadcast their final show’s locations where the FBI converges to apprehend them. The remaining Horsemen appear to the crowd, giving their fans a farewell and a message about an ulterior purpose, and then run to jump off a roof; Dylan attempts to shoot them but Alma holds him back. The three jump, turning into a shower of money over the crowd. The money is counterfeit, but the audience’s race to collect it prevents the authorities from tracking the real Horsemen.
Later that night Thaddeus walks to his car and finds it full of the stolen money from the Elkhorn safe, and he is arrested. Dylan speaks to Thaddeus in jail, where Thaddeus slowly comes to realize that Alma’s theory was correct, and Dylan was the fifth Horseman. Dylan quietly walks away. Elsewhere, the Horsemen, including Jack who had faked his death, meet at the carousel in Central Park, and use their tarot cards to turn it on. Dylan arrives and welcomes the four to the Eye. Later in Paris, Dylan meets Alma and reveals he is Shrike’s son. He brought the Horsemen together to get retribution for his father’s death: the Elkhorn Safe Company for providing a faulty safe that led to the accident, Thaddeus for humiliating him and the Crédit Républicain and Tressler’s insurance companies for failing to pay out afterwards. With her having feelings for him, Alma doesn’t reveal his secret to the authorities and ecides not to turn him in. She takes a lock and a key that Dylan produces, putting the lock on a chain fence and throwing the key into the Seine.
Some really good scenes, lots of magical stuff and a good chase scene or two, reminiscent of heist movies like Ocean’s 11 but a lot of fun and excitement too. I give it a 7.5 outta 10 as there isn’t much scope for acting to really shine at all but it’s a good fun film.