Now You See Me review

Director Leterrier last gave us the godawful Clash of the Titans. Sorry Louis, but Now You See Me isn't much of an improvement. It's a movie about the art of illusion and sleight of hand. Unfortunately, despite all the tricks at its disposal as well as its smooth production design, it remains resolutely unpersuasive.

It starts off well enough though, the first 20 minutes or so being giddily entertaining as we are introduced to Eisenberg and his fellow team of tricksters. Eisenberg is the card sharp, providing us with the opening – and best – magic trick in the whole narrative. Soon he is joined by lithe former protegee Fisher, eccentric mentalist Harrelson and youthfully exuberant Franco as they are lured to a mysterious address in New York by a secret benefactor. A year later they are the toast of Vegas, filling stadiums with their epic illusions – the climax of their show being the robbing of a Paris bank. Up to this point, one has been willing to suspend all disbelief and be happily swept along with this intriguingly enjoyable confection.

But once crumpled cop Ruffalo and smart Interpol agent Laurent enter the picture, trying to catch them for their crime of purloining the French bank's savings, the attractive edifice the makers have conjured begins to fall apart. Matters fail to improve on their next epic trick, this time in New Orleans involving billionaire backer Caine, with shady Freeman on hand monitoring their moves.

Come the climax, for their final piece of jiggery pokery, one has ceased to care a damn for them or their tricks. At regular intervals we get a chase scene of some description but these are yawn inducing rather than pulse racing. The makers also think they're being clever in pulling the wool over our eyes, and revealing how some of their ruses are worked out, but as this sorry tale drags on it becomes relentlessly tiresome. It's a foolish, disjointed exercise overall, misguided and misbegotten, the final big reveal provoking incredulity and unintentional hilarity in equal measure. Don't waste your time with this hopeless effort. It's rubbish.

Now You See Me at IMDb

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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