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Now You See Me (AF)


Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Melanie Laurent, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Common, Jose Garcia, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, David Warshofsky

Director: Louis Leterrier

It would help a movie about magic if it wasn’t rather too obvious that the ‘magic’ performed by the ‘heroes’ – card-manipulator Jesse Eisenberg, mentalist Woody Harrelson (the best thing in the over-excited but undercooked crime caper), sexy escapologist Isla Fisher and Dave Franco as a smart pickpocket with added skills – was more the result of special effects than special talents.

It took three screenwriters (Ed Solomon, Boaz Yakin and Edward Ricourt) to concoct the crime caper that has ‘heroes’, known as The Four Horsemen, pulling off spectacular David Copperfield-style stunts in Vegas where they apparently send a volunteer from the audience into a French bank and then shower the audience with a tsunami of euros. Inevitably their criminal capers attract the interest of FBI agent Mark Ruffalo who, helped by Interpol detective Melanie Laurent, sets out to lasso the Horsemen and bring them to justice…

I apologise if I’ve made Now You See Me seem more interesting than it actually is. There are no poor performances, although at times Ruffalo understandably looks desperate at what he is called upon to do. But then there is no particularly great acting either with Michael Caine (“The only man here with the Queen’s cellphone number”) smirking smugly but otherwise simply sitting back and collecting his fee as the millionaire who sponsors the Horsemen; and Morgan Freeman similarly coasts along and delivers his explanatory dialogue smoothly.

If what you’re looking for is flashy storytelling that unfortunately tends to omit useful explanations in favour of semi-smart star-driven spectacle then director Louis Leterrier, who has yet to apologise for his remake of ‘Clash of the Titans’ delivers – but not that entertainingly. Now You See Me cries out for a rewind button (so you can check if you’ve been hoodwinked or whether the necessary plot twist has simply been omitted) or, better still, a fast-forward control.

Glossy, starry - and unsatisfying.

Alan Frank

France/USA 2013. UK Distributor: Entertainment One UK. Colour.
115 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 06 Jul 2013