A flashy heist thriller about a quartet of bank-robbing magicians, Now You See Me boasts surface dazzle and foxy sleight of hand, but when its makers reveal their narrative tricks you’ll more likely shrug than gasp with awe.
The opening, though, is enjoyably intriguing, with an unseen figure bringing together the foursome – cocky prestidigitator Jesse Eisenberg, daring escape artist Isla Fisher, sly mind reader Woody Harrelson and light-fingered cardsharp Dave Franco.
Cut to a year later and they’ve become the Four Horsemen, big-time illusionists bankrolled by wealthy sponsor Michael Caine. But when they climax their Las Vegas show by robbing a Paris bank without leaving the stage of the MGM Grand, FBI investigator Mark Ruffalo and Interpol agent Mélanie Laurent step in, abetted by celebrity debunker Morgan Freeman. Can the agents bring them to book? If not, what will the Horsemen’s final trick be? And who is pulling their strings?
Director Louis Leterrier and the film’s writers certainly keep us guessing, throwing in feints and dodges and misdirection galore. This is great fun, for a while, but the spell wears off. And as Leterrier piles on the chase scenes, whipping his camera this way and that, we realise there’s nothing here but smoke and mirrors.
Now You See Me is in cinemas from Wednesday 3rd July.