The Big Screen: 'Now You See Me' defies logic and common sense

June 13, 2013 

According to Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), magic is about distracting the audience well enough to stay six steps ahead.

"Now You See Me" is full of such distractions: plot twists, eye-popping computer-generated graphics and big Hollywood names. It's just enough to cover up a few plot holes, but the imperfections eventually catch up. Revealing that the four illusionists (Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher and Dave Franco) are actual magicians would be as believable as the actual "magic trick."

Eisenberg plays a cocky card shark, Harrelson is a mentalist who uses cheap tricks to read people's minds, Fisher plays a beautiful illusionist of bloody tricks and Franco is an excellent pickpocket. Together they become the Four Horsemen, and a year later they are the subject of a big Las Vegas show.

For their big finale, they pull an audience member onto the stage and appear to teleport the person to their bank. The audience member is instructed to flip a switch, and a big pile of Euros is sucked out of the bank and whirled onto the audience. The crowd loves it. It turns out that the heist is no illusion — the bank has actually been robbed. The following day, the magicians are visited by the FBI. Agent Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) and Interpol agent Alma Dray (Mélanie Laurent) are put on the case. They know that the Four Horsemen are involved but can't figure out how.

There is also an ex-magician (Morgan Freeman) on their trail. He has made a fortune selling secrets, and wants to figure out the Horseman's illusion.

When the heist is eventually explained, it is so outlandish that revealing that it was actually "magic" would be less logic defying.

That is ultimately the biggest mistake of "Now You See Me"; it becomes as gaudy as a Las Vegas show.

It lacks the smarts of Christopher Nolan's "The Prestige" and the charisma of Hollywood heist films like "Ocean's Eleven." It ends up as predictable as the illusion itself.

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