Now You See Me

now you see me

It takes a certain dark magic to make the talent of a top cast (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Mark Ruffalo, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman) disappear right before your eyes. Now You See Me, directed on hack-attack mode by Louis Leterrier (Clash of the Titans, The Incredible Hulk) from a false-promises script by Ed Solomon, Boaz Yakin and Edward Ricourt, does just that. It sucks us in with real flair as Eisenberg, Harrelson, Franco and Fisher take the stage as The Four Horseman, magicians who can rob a bank (in France yet) before a Vegas audience and let the money rain down on them. Take that, Oprah! But here’s the thing about movies about magic. They’re movies, which means anything really is possible thanks to special effects and editing. With the thrill of live performance off the table, there’s only story. And this one lands with a resounding thud. Eisenberg’s sleight-of-hand artist tells us magic is all about misdirection and being six or seven steps ahead of the audience. From where I sit, Now You See Me is at least two steps behind. If you can’t figure out the big reveal, you’ve probably dozed off, a fair response to a movie that gets damagingly worse as it goes along. The actors work hard. Ruffalo fulminates up a storm as the F.B.I. guy who’s nearing meltdown over his failure to nail these tricksters. And the mischief Harrelson, Caine and Freeman can read into the most banal line is its own kind sorcery. But I left this movie feeling I’d been had. And not in a good way.