The friends I've made since high school don't know this, but I used to be a magician's assistant in junior and senior high. Every year our high school put on a Madrigal dinner. To be honest, I didn't pay attention enough to know if it was a fundraising effort for the drama department, the school in general, or just a tradition for a fun evening of theater. What I do know is that our magic act would perform at it every year, and did side gigs for other schools and children's events. I never got paid, I did it for the fun. And it *was* a lot of fun.
So when I saw a trailer recently for "Now You See Me" I was enthralled, and knew I had to see this film. Finally magic was once again the focus of the media... and not in a gross, Chris Angel, in-your-face kind of way. It was a subject of wonder, excitement, and enchantment once again. Yeah, they made it sexier with bank heists and crime, but it looked like it was celebrating magic in a way I could approve of.
I was not disappointed. It did celebrate the wonder and theater of good magic acts, but it had more. There were threads of misdirection in the plot, a tale of revenge (or two), a love story, death and resurrection, Robin Hood hijinks, a secret society, and humor. Sure, some of the special effects were CGI instead of practical, and some of the twists and turns of the plot were a little heavy-handed, but I'd like to think even Shakespeare would have approved of the story.
The acting was very good. Mark Ruffalo (does that man *ever* shave?) as the rumpled, reluctant FBI guy, Michael Caine as the elegant financier, and Morgan Freeman as the experienced magic-debunker all gave their usual stellar performances. My only disappointment was the french Interpol agent, as her accent made her difficult to understand in spots. It was a French director, I suppose he didn't realize.
I think if they had managed some of the stage effects with practical (physical) effects, rather than computer imagery, I would have considered this the perfect movie. As it is, I only consider it to be a shade below five stars.