Now You See Me – Puzzle Doctor at the Movies

Now You See MeOK, not at the movies, but it’s a recent film that I downloaded and watched yesterday.

Four magicians – one grandstander, his former assistant, a mentalist and a pickpocket – each receive a mysterious invitation that brings them together. A year later, they give their first performance as The Four Horsemen. During the finale to the act, they transport an audience member across the world to the vault in his bank in Paris. When they bring him back, they bring back all of the money from the vault too. It seems that it isn’t a trick – because the bank was robbed without a trace being left at that exact moment. No trace, apart from a signed playing card where the money was. And that was just Act One of Three.

Enter the FBI, led by Dylan Rhodes and Interpol, represented by Alma Dray, but they are constantly running to catch up – with no experience of this sort of thing, they grasp at the help of magic debunker Thaddeus Bradley – but is he everything he appears to be?

Right, first off – DON’T WATCH THE TRAILER.

The trailer is full of scenes of the various tricks that are taking place in the film. This would be fine, but as most of the are explained, why in Poirot’s name would you put some of the explanation scenes in the bloody trailer! Especially for the last trick! Not clever, trailer people.

OK, first off, this has a magnificent cast. Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher and Dave Franco are the magicians, all giving top notch performances. Well, when does Jesse Eisenberg not give a great performance, and his partnership with Harrelson, as seen previously, in the excellent Zombieland, is always entertaining. Interestingly, it chooses not to pursue an emotional arc with Eisenberg and Fisher, just hinting at a past relationship, which suits the style of the film, but doesn’t give the leads much variation in their performances – they seem to be always performing, but that is the nature of the characters.

Add in Mark Ruffalo (Rhodes), Mélanie Laurent (Dray), Morgan Freeman (Bradley) and Michael Caine as the Horsemen’s financier and you’ve got a very strong cast for what is basically a flashy lightweight thriller. But it’s a highly entertaining lightweight thriller – films are for entertainment first and foremost, for me at least, and this entertained me a lot.

But of course, this is a mystery blog, and there is a mystery here – who brought the Horsemen together and what are he/she/they up to really? I thought it was a clever idea, marred a little by the lack of alternatives, and I did guess what was going on, but not for the right reason. Let’s just say there is more to this than meets the eye. Pretty sure there weren’t any actual clues though… but it’s not that sort of film.

In all fairness, it’s not The Prestige, which is one of my favourite films ever, but it’s a great way to pass a couple of hours. Highly Recommended.

Although once you’ve seen it, so search for the video “Everything Wrong With Now You See Me” on Youtube. It does make some good points… OK, a lot of good points. But watch the film first.


  1. Was sory to have missed this at the pictures though I assumed that it might prove to be highly implausible – I did like THE PRESTIGE though I’m afraid I found the conclusion a bit annoying as I felt neither magician deserved to be a clear winner (I’m in a minority on this one I suspect) – radically different from the book of course …


  2. I saw this film after reading your review, but I was totally disappointed.
    One has to watch the movie with utter suspension of disbelief and without asking questions.
    Both the plot and the characterization are weak.
    Most of the explanations are silly and unbelievable and defy logic.
    There are so many twists and reversals that it becomes irritating and confusing. Often the movie turns into a smash-and-bang action thriller with long and boring chases.
    Towards the end, the revealing of the identity of the person behind the actions of the Horsemen, though unexpected, raises further unanswered questions.
    The YouTube video referred by you adequately exposes the nonsense.


    • Sorry you didn’t enjoy it – but it is a Hollywood blockbuster, so you have to leave a certain level of disbelief at the door. Yes, it’s daft, but the explanations did have a certain logic to them – highly unlikely and you have to accept Woody Harrelson’s hypnotic abilities – but they do make… I hate to use the word sense, but there’s no better word.


  3. I will have to suggest this to my husband. We like thrillers and don’t mind suspending disbelief. Magic often turns me off but … Include Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine, and how can it not be worth a try? And a lot of other actors I like.


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