Who doesn’t like magic? Magic is transformative, the unimaginable becomes a reality; it is awe -inspiring, defies logic and has been around since Jesus Christ did the “loaves and fishes” number a couple of thousand years ago; yes, magic can sway, even convert the most ardent disbeliever. Its fascination is proven ubiquitously by David Copperfield, Doug Henning, Siegfried & Roy, all descendants of the emperor of wizardry, Harry Houdini (Ehrich Weisz 1875-1926).
“Now You See Me” is a fantastical romp in a surreal, illusionary galaxy; magicians, masters of “slight of hand”, escape, mental clairvoyance, brought together by an unknown, all-powerful “Oz” of alchemy, dazzling the world with imposing, seemingly impossible, punitive feats; it is flawed, implausible, farcical; simultaneously captivating, enervating entertainment.
Stunning actors keep the film from sliding precipitously into the melodramatic; magicians ( “Four Horsemen”, biblical reference to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse; Revelations, Chapter 6 ): Jesse Eisenberg ( since “The Social Network” all his performances seethe with intelligence), Woody Harrrelson (forever cunning and funny), Isla Fisher (female filly), Dave Franco (lookalike for his brother, James); law enforcement: Mark Ruffalo (adds depth to the most simplistic roles), Melanie Laurent (luminously lovely, as always); Morgan Freeman (forever fine), trying to regain his reputation as myth-demoralizer.
Enough secrets of the trade are unveiled but never robbing the viewer of tingling, titillating suspense. “Now You See Me” is a magical “escape” into the realm of wonder; possibly, crouching beneath the inevitabilities of our daily lives are the seeds of magical might, hibernating, longing to be awakened.