“Come in close, closer because the more you think you see the easier it will be to fool you. Because what is seeing? You’re looking but what you are really doing is interpreting, filtering, searching for meaning. My job is to take that most precious of gifts you give me, your attention and use it against you!”
Summit Entertainment in association with Lionsgate and K/O Paper Products present…
Directed by Louis Leterrier (The Transporter) and together with the help of his faithful assistants Ed Solomon (Men in Black), Boraz Yakin (Remember the Titans) and in his writing debut Edward Ricourt! It’s a fast paced heist action thriller that could have been more elaborate if it wasn’t for the intended pastiched “Ocean’s Eleven” and “Catch Me If You Can” mashed up plots! Louis only has a handful of films under his belt but the French Director has proven enough that he can helm indie films and with “almost there” blockbusters as well. But can he pull off this magic trick? Let’s find out!
THE HORSEMEN COMETH
So, you start the story by introducing your perpetrators to execute these grand schemes and convince the movie going public that magic does have its own attributes if used wisely! Certain individuals having specific “special talents” were drawn into the attention and brought together by an unknown benefactor who has a clandestine agenda we would only know by the end of this film!
The next of the greats, Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) is “The Showman” and self-proclaimed leader of “The Four Horsemen”. A widely acclaimed magician of the masses exuding with confidence and over compulsiveness, J. Daniel Atlas is performing out of this world illusions and tricks to be simply a crowd pleaser or just to woo in the women! Speaking of which, his former “assistant” Isla Fisher (Rise of the Guardians) comes in front and center as “The Escape Artist” now fending for herself while still trying to find out where did they both went wrong? Of course if there is another stallion in the paddock then that would be inconvenient isn’t it?
Enter, the savvy and unaging Woody Harrelson (Seven Psychopaths) is “The Mentalist”, having lost his financial gains he leaned towards to forgetting the outside world while focusing on literally the inside parts of your brain! Woody has a knack in being versatile since he has played plenty of characters that are not two dimensional. His range from action, drama and comedy gives him the right command to bring something new to the table, still play second stringer and contribute by being a team player! Finally, the fourth “rider” Jack Rider is Dave Franco (Superbad) “The Sleight” of hand, the pickpocket that never got the chance to utilize his skills and put them to good use! Dave’s persona and facade always strikes an uncanny resemblance with his older brother James, acting wise there is still much potential for the guy who was shunned from the spotlight noting the star power of his three comrades. But his role was bigger than I thought considering that he had tons of fight scenes by his own, being taken out of the picture and brought back again just to finish off the masquerade and really show the people what real forces that are at work here!
WOLVES IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING
Old friends but definitely not in this film, Michael Caine (The Prestige) and Morgan Freeman (That was Then… This is Now) respectively performs as crafty Insurance Magnate Arthur Tressler and Thaddeus Bradley an ex-magician turned whistle blower just to gain profiteering from those who are susceptible with the current trends! Although, there was not much given dialogue held by Michael as intended, he was using these “Four Horsemen” to be his next big gig to market his name once again on a grander scale but little does he know that it wasn’t meant to last long as the tables are being turned upside down. On the other hand, Morgan does have better screen time with his still thinly and yet significant spread lines just enough time before the curtains all go “falling” down!
But there was something missing and if we go back from the start, with the pawns have been set in place up to the last minute of the film, we need to ask where did Arthur’s part came to be? How did he meet these tricksters considering that he actually played a major role for being the villain? For Thaddeus part, he has been working all the way to do not what is right but rather what he wants to accomplish by selfish means has been proven to be self-defeating and for karma to rectify things even if it takes eighteen years!
The disillusioned FBI Agent Dylan Rhodes played by Mark Ruffalo (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) tends to be uneasy, reactive and curious! Always asking questions and you will think that a respectful Officer of the Law is just doing his job to catch these thieves and to prove to him that magic is merely meant for “misdirection” then you haven’t see him waive his hand! He is later joined with Interpol Agent Alma Dray played by Melanie Laurent (Inglorious Basterds) a rookie straight from her desk job who means well but can only can cope up with detective work doing more in research than running around with the rest of “two steps behind” police force!
The story’s premise actually deviates from the intended caper as it brings into fruition a long standing grudge and put to justice these so-called prominent businessmen for all the wrongs they have done in the public eye! It also had symbols that cannot be ignored since it has something to do with the “new order” in which the “Eye of Horus” has been flashed around so often that it does give subliminal messages that this may be another “eye opener” or will it just leave us again in the corner before our “Masters” will call for our services once more. It had a wonderful cast, entertaining and yet unpredictable with its little twist (not the M. Night Shyamalan kind). It got mixed reviews for being muddled that leave too many gaps to reconstitute especially with the viewers and critics perspective.
To support and contend this issue, it was actually a crowd pleaser to begin with while having its 308 million international gross sales it did have mediocre results domestically! It is expected for the Studios and Producers involved that a sequel is in the works but will it gain the same enthusiasm from the audience…just remember the first rule, be the smartest person in the room or movie theatre for that matter!