Now you see me (12A, 115 mins) Thriller/Action. Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Mark Ruffalo, Melanie Laurent, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman. Director: Louis Letterier.
Nothing is what it seems in Louis Letterier’s high-stakes game of cat and mouse between four crowd-pleasing Las Vegas illusionists and the FBI.
Every narrative twist could be a double-bluff, every failure a carefully orchestrated diversion and every flirtation a calculated exercise in audience manipulation.
Screenwriters Ed Solomon, Boaz Yakin and Edward Ricourt hold all the aces and for the opening 30 minutes, their collective sleight of hand dazzles and intrigues in equal measure. Now You See Me sets up the tricks, engineers them with elan and coolly reveals the ingenious method behind the on-stage madness.
Alas, when it comes to the grand final illusion which takes up most of the second hour, director Letterier doesn’t play entirely fair.
He untethers the plot from plausibility and logic, allowing everything to teeter risibly on coincidence, physical improbability and outrageous good fortune.
We might just forgive the script its outlandishness if a tongue was wedged firmly in cheek, but the film is deadly serious about its jiggery pokery.
Ignore the gaping plot holes and Now You See Me is a lot of fun. The script trades heavily on the sniping banter between the four magicians, who always seem to be one step ahead of the authorities. Action scenes are orchestrated at full pelt including an explosive night-time race across rooftops.