Cinematic Thoughts for Cinematic Minds
2013/ France, USA
Director: Louis Leterrier
If you enjoyed The Prestige(2006) and Ocean’s Eleven(2001) and wanted to see the two come together to form some magic-bank robbery with a twist, then this is definitely the film for you.
This film went largely under the radar due to the likes of Man of Steel, Hangover: Part III and Iron Man 3 all being released at the same time. However it is one that would be seemingly hard to miss with a star-studded cast.
Jesse Eisenberg (Social Network, Zombieland) stars as the world famous (Fictional) magician J. Daniel Atlas, who really runs the show, and makes the whole thing, come together. This role for Eisenberg is one that will help him get away from all the geeky, nerdy roles he has been playing in the past, and he even grows some stubble to help tell the world that he is no longer a nervous, bumbling teenager, and has now reached adulthood, he is after all in his late-twenties. Anyway, Atlas along with the other magicians, are brought together by a higher power in order to form ‘The Four Horsemen’, a show that travels around the USA and during their performances, they rob millions of dollars, which is seemingly given to the audience. Magic right? Well no, as Thaddeus Bradley, played by Morgan Freeman (Batman Begins, Shawshank Redemption) reveals time and time again. I won’t ruin it for you, but it isn’t magic.
Due to the illegality of it all, the FBI get involved, as do Interpol, well one agent from Interpol, played by the lovely Mélanie Laurent (Inglorious Basterds). The man assigned to the case, Dylan Rhodes, Mark Ruffalo(Avengers Assemble, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), has a hard time cracking the case, due to all the magic and deception involved, or so we are led to believe.
There are many humorous moments, provided by Woody Harrleson (No Country for Old Men, Rampart), who is more a hypnotist than a magician, and uses his hypnosis skills to provide a few laughs, that add to the film. Dave Franco (21 Jump Street, Warm Bodies) also stars, and has a large(ish) role, something I talked about in my Warm Bodies review. He helps add the cool to magic, and plays the character that likes to pick fights, and has no aversion to danger. Then comes in the beautiful Isla Fisher (Wedding Crashers, The Great Gatsby (2013)). She adds the sex appeal to the magic circle, something that helps to make the film viewable for the female demographic, and helps to establish the role of women in the magic world, helping them to get away from their stereotypical role as Magician’s assistant.
Overall the film is fun and I would recommend it to anyone who wants a thriller and a mystery. It really keeps you guessing, and there will be some parts more obvious then others, but that’s what makes it a feel good movie, with everything you could hope for, from car chases, fight scenes, Michael Caine (Harry Brown, Batman Begins) oh yes, Caine. He is the one who funds the Four Horsemen, or so we are lead to believe at first, but that all changes in a dramatic twist, one of many I might add.
It might not grab any Oscars but, definitely go to see this film if you are up for an action and magic filled mystery-come-thriller. Especially if you always wanted to know how your favourite magic tricks were done.