Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Illusionists Quite Clever in 'Now You See Me'

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Illusionists Quite Clever in 'Now You See Me'

Article excerpt

In the first minute of "Now You See Me," Jesse Eisenberg's illusionist shares the magician mantra: "The closer you look, the less you see."

You can interpret that statement one of two ways and, perhaps upon closer (or second) inspection, "Now You See Me" might seem less impressive. Or more, as you can spot the clues that were there all along and that you dismissed or discounted in this story of magicians as Robin Hood or avengers. Small "a."

It introduces four illusionists who are brought together by a shadowy puppetmaster to execute a series of high-profile tricks that attract not only the FBI but Interpol.

In addition to the sleight-of-hand specialist J. Daniel Atlas (Mr. Eisenberg), members of the so-called "Four Horsemen" are mentalist and hypnotist Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson), escape artist Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher) and pickpocket Jack Wilder (Dave Franco).

The foursome's first big trick, executed from a Vegas stage, is to rob a bank in Paris. They summon an audience member, clamp a "teleportation helmet" on him and appear to send him into a vault in France where he leaves a literal calling card and the illusionists extract 3 million in euros and send the bills fluttering over the audience.

That sort of trick doesn't go unnoticed by the FBI, which assigns agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) to investigate, much to his exasperation. "I don't have time for this magic crap," he sputters. Also on the case is Alma Dray (Melanie Laurent), an Interpol investigator.

Trailing along as friend or foe are billionaire businessman (Michael Caine), who becomes a benefactor, and a skeptic (Morgan Freeman) who makes a living out of debunking magic tricks. He suggests the heist -- "You're an idiot if you think they robbed a bank" -- was a stunt and a distraction with the real caper coming in their third show at an unspecified place and time. …

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