Film Review: Now You See Me

The rabbit hides in the hat: Now you see me is an exercise in flabracadabra

The cast of Now You See Me, opening in Victoria area theatres this week



Doubtless the pitch was impressive: “Hey, imagine Ocean’s Eleven crossed with a killer magic act by David Copperfield. Plus we’ve got Morgan Freeman!”

Sadly, Now You See Me proves to be more frazzle than dazzle. When all the magic dust settles and the tricks are tediously explained, what you’re left with is a claustrophobically self-important caper film that is enormously pleased with its own cleverness.

At the core of the story are four street magicians who get instantly famous when their debut show in Vegas involves them performing on stage while seemingly robbing a bank in Paris at exactly the same time. (The climax of the act involves them blizzarding the audience with a fortune in Euros.) This brings them to the attention of the FBI, in the person of a dogged but none too bright agent named Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo). And we know that Dylan ain’t so smart because not only does one of the magicians (Jesse Eisenberg) make a monkey of him in the interrogation room, but a famous “magician debunker” (Morgan Freeman) keeps telling Dylan that he is forever falling for the quartet’s misdirection and is thereby always two steps behind them.

After Vegas the magicians perform in New Orleans, and pull off an even more audacious stunt that cements their reputation as Robin Hood-style outlaws. These tricksters are building up to a third and final performance in New York City, notwithstanding the fact that the FBI, various cops, and even Interpol are pursuing them like bloodhounds. This time there is half a billion dollars at stake, and director Louis Leterrier (Transporter, Clash of the Titans) orchestrates a bunch of hocus pocus in the form of fights, chases, a sneaky heist, and a climactic outdoor performance where an awestruck crowd gets a cyber lightshow with a surprising payoff.

Although the movie offers entertaining moments along the way, the characters aren’t interesting or even likable and the tricks, once explained, fail to satisfy. And the “big reveal” at the end makes the whole story seem preposterous. In short, the less-than-magical Now is all top hat and no rabbit. Call it an exercise in flabracadabra. M

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre to host a trio of acts

Aaron Pritchett, Alex Cuba and Valdy will each play four shows

Pacific Opera takes music to the streets

Artists travel around Capital Region District this summer for live performences

SKAMpede goes live in July

Beloved annual event returns with changes, pre-registration online

Victoria Flamenco Festival goes virtual for 2020 event

The show will go online from July 23 to 26

Campbell River teen produces quarantine musical

Ryver Santos Cegnar performed for friends and family over Facebook

Nanaimo Art Gallery summer camp moves programming online due to COVID-19

Teenage artists have until the end of next week to apply to Dazzle Camouflage

Symphony pop-up concerts coming to central Vancouver Island

Only 40 tickets available for each Vancouver Island Symphony private backyard show

Courtenay theatre gets support for livestream ‘hybrid’ shows this year

Island Coastal Economic Trust funds help Sid Williams Theatre with infrastructure, training

Virtual film industry career fair offers chance to talk with the experts

Experts in 11 different departments, three film union representative will be in attendance

Victoria Classic Boat Festival cancelled due to safety concerns

Organizers say Inner Harbour doesn’t provide enough space for physical distancing

Infringing festival finds a way to dance during pandemic

Nanaimo’s Crimson Coast Dance Society holding drive-in, micro and physically distanced events

Coastal scenes at the forefront for July shows at Victoria galleries

From sculpture to landscape paintings, summer art is about nature

Most Read