The story follows four Vegas magicians, known as the Four Horsemen, who rob a bank in the middle of one of their shows. What follows is a cat-and-mouse thriller where the FBI chases after these magicians, always one step behind, trying to figure out how they did it.
Where Now You See Me works best is when Leterrier creates cinematic sequences showing us how these magicians used real-life magic tricks to befuddle and dupe both their victims and the FBI. As well, if you want a film with twists and turns, this one will not disappoint. While most of the major twists can be found out before revealed, there is still a joy in watching those twists unfold, thanks to Leterrier's Sherlock Holmes' style of visual deduction. However, the script often falters in one of the most crucial areas, that of character.
Leterrier and company are constantly trying to balance the breakneck pace with the large cast of characters, and it just leaves the characters hanging out to dry. Character development is sorely lacking in Now You See Me, to where I never really cared about any of the characters. Part of this is because the film is constantly shifting points of view. The first thirty minutes follow our Robin Hood-like magicians, and then it switches to the FBI agents tracking them down, but then the film has the magicians constantly one step in front of the FBI to the point that it makes the FBI often come across as buffoons, and I find it hard to care for characters who are so easily fooled. Ultimately, I feel that had the film focused entirely on one set of characters, like the magicians or the FBI, the film would have been stronger and been easier to find a focal point, but as it is the film's core is often muddled.
While Now You See Me may not be a grand slam, it's still entertaining, thanks to the thrills and visual style of the film. Bottom line, if you're a fan of the heist genre, you'll like this movie. For me though, it just lacks a further script rewrite to have become one of the best examples of the genre.
I give Now You See Me a B-!