Writers, Edward Ricourt, Ed Solomon and Boaz Yakin, and director Louis Leterrier’s film has a fascinating premise – a group of street magicians who perform highly complex acts during which they also conduct audacious robberies. But they are not thieves; rather it’s some sort of Robin Hood mission.
The film starts well enough, introducing us to each magician and their particular skill. They are united by an invitation to a musty but seemingly deserted apartment at the same time. A year later, they are performing on a Las Vegas stage as The Four Horsemen (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher and Dave Franco), supported by the wealthy patron played by Michael Caine. Recording their acts and every sleight of hand is an opportunist played by Morgan Freeman.
On the upside, some of the illusions are very well presented, and you do get a little snapshot of how magic is made.
But the basic principal of magic is misdirection, and that’s what their vast stage shows rely on. Problem is the biggest misdirection is the script itself, which runs out of gas and leaves a void, which cannot be filled by the final lame reveal. While each of the four young magicians shows sparkle, the chemistry and interpersonal relations are underdeveloped leaving the film feeling even more soulless. Ultimately you are rooting for no one, especially not the cop played by Mark Ruffalo who is always a step behind the illusionists, or the convenient love story between him and a pretty Interpol agent.