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Magical caper film frothy fun

John Bell

June 29, 2013

Looking for a fun summer film, but tired of superheroes? Not interested in seeing Roland Emerich blow up the White House yet again? Suffering from zombie overdose? Presto: let me pull Now You See Me out of my hat.
Four magic specialists—an illusionist (Jesse Eisenberg), an escape artist (Ilsa Fisher), a mentalist (Woody Harrelson) and a pickpocket (Dave Franco)—are recruited by a mysterious figure to form a team. The “Four Horsemen” are soon magic superstars performing on Las Vegas’ biggest stage.
But they are out to do more than entertain. Larceny ensues. Or does it? Our team is on the run from one huge magical illusion to the next, pursued by the FBI (Mark Ruffalo), Interpol (Mélanie Laurent) and a cynical magic debunker (Morgan Feeman).
To say more risks spoiling the surprise.
The film moves at breakneck speed, the better to prevent you from stopping to consider the legion of plot holes and sheer impossibilities. But if you allow yourself to be swept along, this is the movie equivalent of a good “magic” act.
Now You See Me has been remarkably hot at the box office, despite a lack of pre-release hype. My guess is that part of that word-of-mouth success derives from the fact that our four tricksters target the 1% for fun and not for profit. Now that’s entertainment.

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