CARD trickster Daniel (Jesse Eisenberg), escapologist Henley (Isla Fisher), mentalist Merritt (Woody Harrelson) and lock-picker Jack (James Franco’s younger brother, Dave) team up to form a Las Vegas supergroup of magicians, who stage a series of raids on vaults and bank accounts, then shower audiences with the proceeds.
Now You See Me (12A)
Star rating: * *
Unsurprisingly, this cross between David Copperfield and Robin Hood draws stadium-sized crowds, but also the attention of the FBI and Interpol.
In supporting roles, Michael Caine plays a businessman prepared to bankroll the foursome with private jets, and Morgan Freeman is an ex-magician who has made a career out of exposing tricks of the trade.
In the case of Now You See Me, the closer you look, the more this movie feels like a second-hand bag of tricks. With the exception of one bravura opening card trick performed by Eisenberg, the illusions owe more to CGI than genuine sleight-of-hand magic, and the convoluted heists borrow lavishly from better, breezier ensemble films such as Ocean’s Eleven and The Italian Job.
Worst of all is the third act’s big reveal, which requires an awful lot of explanation for a twist that is just a mildly interesting piece of misdirection when compared with Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige.
Director Louis Leterrier and co-writer Boaz Yakin shift characters around like a game of Find the Lady, but this flashy, flat, dispiritingly personality-free drama is more likely to make audiences disappear.