An FBI agent and an Interpol detective track a team of illusionists who pull off bank heists during their performances and reward their audiences with the money.
I’ll try to tone down the spoilers, but I make absolutely no promises.
Let’s start with the disclaimers: I had an idea what this movie was about, but I wasn’t too hyped and didn’t catch anything about it. That alone may be the reason I enjoyed it so much.
Anyway, if you like comparisons, this is basically “Ocean’s Eleven” but with magicians instead of con artists. And I’m using “magicians” in a very lose sense. Sure, one guy is good with cards, but some things are way beyond magic and more in the zone of “CGI”. On the other hand, it gives a sense of “plausibility” to the most absurd things ’cause, hey, it’s magic.
Cast is a hit and miss. Woody Harrelson is still doing his “I’m kinda crazy, kinda sane, but totally sympathetic person” role, although this time he’s the guy who can hypnotize anyone (hey, it’s magic); Jesse Eisenberg is, once again, playing Zuckerberg, although less “distant” and talking faster. Isla Fisher and Dave Franco are… discount big stars. Isla is, basically, looking like Jennifer Lawrence, but louder; and Dave Franco, well, he looks like a discount James Franco — and I don’t know if it was because of that that his role in the movie is really small compared to the others. Mark Ruffalo… I won’t talk about Ruffalo ’cause I think the only role he did well so far was Avengers — and he absolutely doesn’t shine here till the last 20 minutes and only in the first 5 of those.
The big stupid thing in cast was using Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Mélaine Laurent. No, not because “oh my god, they suck!” but mostly because it was a complete waste of money.
Caine is deeply underutilized in the movie. Expecting him to deliver a role to make you cry like a little girl just saying “then I failed you and your father”? Nope, not gonna happen. I mean, seriously, they could replace Caine with some discount-old-actor-that-looks-good-in-a-suit and you can remove Caine completely.
Freeman is borderline useless. You can pick any other actor that is able to sound wise and you can replace him, but… yeah, how many actors do you know that can sound wise but just saying random lines of script?
My biggest deception with the cast is Laurent, though. She shines on the screen, she captures your eyes, she steals any scene and, still, she’s there just to provide a romantic counterpart to Ruffalo. Replace her with a guy that just keeps pushing Ruffalo’s skepticism and you’d need very little changes in the script.
But the script and the directing is what really shines in the movie. Really. Again, you have a bunch of magicians stealing things, but when you have a constant theme — and phrasing — of “deception”, you start to look at things in a different way, and you try to figure the plot but it keeps moving faster than you can imagine and after a while you start to ask yourself if the amount of “deception” being thrown around isn’t a deception in itself.
And then you have the final plot twist. Surely, by this time, you probably imagined every possible outcome, every possible twist… and still you’ll not be ready for the end. And even if you’re hinted during the scene, it still twists it further.
I really enjoyed my time this weekend watching this movie. I was laying on the couch while watching it and, to be honest, it’s been awhile since a movie made me get up and sit straight — specially in the end.