Two and a half months after The Incredible Burt Wonderstone unintentionally made audiences loathe magic, Louis Leterrier’s entertaining Now You See Me restores balance to the illusionist realm. Thanks to an exceptional cast, the Transporter director’s knack for fast-paced action, and (who’d-a-thunk?) an engrossing display of numerous sleight of hand, the fun rarely stops on its way to unveiling a secret that lives up to billing. Minus any significant lesson or overarching message besides the mystery mastermind’s motivation, the execution of the intricate stage acts pay off not merely for their significant wow-factors, but due to the constant of something greater at stake running beneath.
Under the leadership of their anonymous boss, as the united tricksters collectively known as Four Horsemen (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, and Dave Franco) wow their audiences with mind-boggling stunts, Leterrier’s camera is frequently and perhaps predictably overactive. While this frenzy often induces mild motion-sickness and accidentally highlights the falseness of the events’ surroundings, it’s these same adrenaline-fueled choices that help keep the film varied enough to avoid drawing attention to an otherwise ridiculous sequence of events.
Effectively working in car chases, hand-to-hand combat, romance, history, and police procedural (nearly all courtesy of Mark Ruffalo’s FBI agent and Melanie Laurent’s Interpol rep), Now You See Me thankfully remains ever in motion. As for exposition, that pesky though somewhat necessary evil in magician films, even the multiple tell-alls by renowned debunker Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman) work, thanks to the surplus of wonder that illustrate and accompany his monologues. It all adds up to surprisingly consistent cinematic fun and a work whose ability to appear smarter than it actually is may be its greatest illusion of all.
Rated PG-13 for language, some action and sexual content.
Now You See Me is currently playing at the Carolina Cinemas on Hendersonville Rd.