Cert: 12A Runtime: 115 mins Director: Louis Leterrier Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Mélanie Laurent, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine
The closer you think you are, the less you’ll actually see
Since the trailer of this film I was excited, it has a stellar cast, a good plot and some surprises I thought. Magic films for me are rather a difficult genre for me, either it works or it doesn’t. Louis Leterrier took the helm for this film, his other credits include The Incredible Hulk and Clash of the Titans. So will this rather unknown director make a blockbuster? Four magicians each answer a mysterious summons to an obscure address with secrets inside. A year later, they are the Four Horseman (Jessie Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson,Isla Fisher and Dave Franco), big time stage illusionists who climax their sold out Las Vegas show with a bank apparently robbed for real. This puts agents Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) of the FBI and Alma Vargas (Mélanie Laurent) of Interpol on the case to find out how they did it. However, this mystery proves difficult to solve even with the insights of the professional illusion exposer, Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman). What follows is a bizarre investigation where nothing is what it seems with illusions, dark secrets and hidden agendas galore as all involved are reminded of a great truth in this puzzle: the closer you look, the less you see.
This movie is fun, clever, fast-paced, and full of mysteries, unpredictability, and twists. Not only does this movie contain a number of magic illusions, it is in many ways one itself. Just like in a magic trick, not everything in this movie is completely as it seems. It is cleverly deceptive and misleading at several points, and just when we the audience, and the FBI agent Rhodes, think we might have it figured out, along comes a surprising twist/revelation. (This is what I meant when I said that the film itself is a bit of a magic illusion).I think the film could have used more depth and character development; I didn’t get to know the characters quite as well as I wanted to. However, even though these things dragged the movie down a bit, and I think that the film could have benefited from improvement in these areas, it still didn’t bother me much. In fact, I felt that the fast pacing is an important factor in what made the film work. And even though, again, I think the characters could have used more development, I still found them perfectly effective and likeable, and I thought the chemistry between them was pretty good.
I thought the overall performances by the actors were pretty decent, including good old Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine; and yes, I liked the cast.The film is also visually pleasing. It is well filmed, and the visual effects and cinematography are quite good and dazzling, especially during the magic tricks. The magic illusions are very well crafted and appear very real. The music soundtrack is also very good, creating a good, appropriate feeling throughout the film, and fitting each scene very well.Now, one could argue that it has some plot holes. However, upon closer scrutiny, one could probably think of some explanations for them. In fact, some of them are probably best left open-ended and unanswered, just like the workings of an actual magic illusion (not knowing all the details about how the illusion is pulled off is part of the fun). Overall, I thought the movie was okay, maybe even reasonably good. I found it dazzling, energetic, and overall entertaining, with humour, twists, mysteries, a good cast, and a clever story, attention- grabbing and unique.