“First rule of magic: always be the smartest person in the room.”
What if four street magicians, each with their own set of skills, came together to form a super group called The Four Horsemen, performing jaw-dropping impossible crimes as part of their show?
And rather than keeping the money for themselves they rain it down on the audience, becoming rather popular in the process?
Well, meet the team: hotshot rising star J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), his former assistant turned escape artist Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher), con artist Jack Wilder (Dave Franco), and mentalist Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson).
They each get a mysterious invitation from a multi-millionaire insurance guru Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine) who offers to bankroll the Horsemen on a national series of high-profile gigs.
Up against them are a joint FBI and Interpol team headed up by agents Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) and Alma Dray (Mélanie Laurent) plus professional magic debunker Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman).
But with the Horsemen seemingly able to pull off incredible feats of teleportation, mind control and other unfeasible acts, is this just a clever use of power of deception – or are there more arcane forces at work?
The magic is the main star of this show – thanks in no small part to the wonder of CGI special effects, these guys can pull off tricks that would make Derren Brown and Dynamo turn green with envy.
Director Louis ‘The Transporter’ Leterrier delivers a fast-paced and fun magical spin on the heist-em-up and he adds some cool more traditional action scenes including a nailbiting car chase to the mix.
Quite why the four magicians are prepared to risk everything by committing such audacious crimes in the full gaze of the public eye is at the crux of the film.
Could it be that a fabled secret society of magicians called The Eye is somehow involved – and how does the death of magician 18 years ago fit into the crimes being carried out?
Now You See Me works for a wide range of audiences – I took my sons aged 12 and 16 who were both impressed with the razzle-dazzle/sleight of hand on show.
It might not go down in the cinematic annals as a classic but if you want a disposable whizz-bang big scale magic show cum crime caper catch it before it disappears.