The tag line for Now You See Me is “The closer you look, the less you’ll see.” This is a line repeated several times throughout the film, and it is a very accurate description of the film itself. The ability to slow down and playback sequences on home video may satisfy a certain amount of curiosity, but it is the same result as discovering a magicians tricks. The magic is gone and all that is left are a couple of boxes and mirrors.
On the other hand, Now You See Me remembered something that nearly all of the heavy-handed comic book blockbusters of the summer forgot; how to have fun. It is a fast-paced film full of energy and spectacle, without any of the weight of morality or turmoil that seemed to make every other blockbuster this summer sink like a bag of rocks. Now You See Me is the kind of film which provides less the more you look at it, but it provides the kind of escapist entertainment that summer films are meant to provide.
The powerhouse cast attached to Now You See Me along with the heist-like elements of the narrative, beg for comparison to Ocean’s 11 with the unique element of magic added in. The audience is given hints as to what is going on, but we are never on the inside. In the opening sequence we watch as four extremely different magicians are joined by a mysterious anonymous figure, recruited to be a part of one magic routine with a specific goal of revenge.
J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg) is the most traditional stage magician, doing card tricks and a variety of the usual staged shows of his ability. His former assistant, Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher), adds an element of danger and blood to her edgier routine and the group. Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson) is a former star mentalist, down on his luck, and the fourth member of the group is a gifted escape artist and thief named Jack Wilder (Dave Franco). When the first show of this group named “The Four Horsemen” results in a bank being robbed across the country, F.B.I. and Interpol (led by Mark Ruffalo, Common and Mélanie Laurent) agents make it a priority to find out what is behind the curtain. The film also co-stars Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman.
The DVD release includes an audio commentary by producer Bobby Cohen and director Louis Leterrier. There is also a behind-the-scenes featurette, which shows a few filmmaking tricks. The DVD package also comes with an ultraviolet copy of the film.
Entertainment Value: 9/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 7.5/10
Historical Significance: 7/10
Disc Features: 6.5/10