Rating: PG-13 Running time: 1 hour 56 minutes
Director: Louis Leterrier
Stars: Woody Harrelson, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Isla Fisher
An adequate review of the magic-and-illusion-infused Now You See Me would require more spoilers than you'd find in a broken refrigerator.
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Suffice it to say, great movies about the magician's art — films like The Prestige and Edward Norton's The Illusionist — manage to make you forget that film itself is an illusion, one capable of miracles that dwarf the best stuff a tag team of Harry Houdini, David Copperfield and David Blaine could ever whip up.
In other words, movies about magic ask us to be astonished by sleight-of-hand tricks viewed through a medium that can not only make a rabbit come out of a hat but can then make the rabbit grab the hat, pick up a wand and turn the magician into a stalk of asparagus.
Then again, Now You See Me is less about magic than it is about spectacle.
The story — about four magicians who stage arena-size illusions that involve robbing money from the rich and giving it to their (supposedly poor) audiences — presents us with illusions of such overpowering industrial strength, we immediately go to our mind's "Oh, that's a movie special effect" place.
Even the film's smaller illusions are unapologetically cinematic stunts. Note to the filmmakers: Magicians aren't really magical. When real magicians miraculously and instantaneously escape from a locked cell, it's a trick cell on a stage, not a real one down at police headquarters.