Directed by Louis Leterrier
Written by Ed Solomon, Boaz Yakin & Edward Ricourt
So for anyone who has already watched the film, did you guess the right card at the beginning? I did. I was hooked from that. I felt like I was part of the audience in the film, it made me feel like the magic was being performed and revealed to me personally. Maybe that’s why I have such a high opinion of the film when other fellow filmeys don’t? I just love the magic of film and when the film literally is magic … well … I’m sold.
Think Hustle meets Dynamo: Magician Impossible. Similar group dynamics and close up involvement. A group of seemingly random magicians are chosen by an unknown sponsor and quickly become 4 of the most famous magicians in the US. As can be seen from the trailer, they perform a magic trick turned heist but in order for the FBI to catch the ‘Four Horsemen’ as they have branded themselves, the FBI must admit to believing in magic. So many questions are brought up by the film, who is this unknown sponsor? Are they capable of real magic? What’s the reason and power behind their sudden rise to fame? Most questions are answered but some answers remain elusive. For me this adds to the magic of the film, the uncertain and unpredictable, bordering on slightly cheesy, ending.
But watch out, each section of the film leads to the reveal at the end, there are little clues throughout which, if you were watching, all make sense at the end of the film. The resolve, for some was anti-climactic but for me, as I had picked up on all these little hints, it was one of the “ohhhhhhh” moments that you wait for and crave at the end of a film like this. We are also given a few characters that we are allowed to love to hate. Morgan Freeman is a whistle blower who gets his comeuppance in the end and Michael Cane is a money hungry millionaire who also gets duped by these Four Horsemen, we as an audience feel a bit of smug when this happens, as we haven’t been duped, we therefore feel smarter than he is which, let’s face it, is always a good feeling. This mix of personalities introduced in the film, who aren’t even lead roles, is what makes the film feel so intricate with its story lines. There are no loose ends, each character has a purpose, each line/ action has been thought through. This, to me, is what makes truly good film making. If I do have any criticisms it would be that the ending is a bit rushed, the bit reveal was a bit underplayed so it didn’t feel like a big reveal, in fact I almost missed the conversation, there could have been a way to explain it more fully. For me, I feel the ending needs a second viewing as I’m sure that I missed a few key words which would have made it all the more clearer. I wouldn’t exactly call the ending abrupt, just had a slightly early emphasis.
What really struck me though was the rapport the actors had with one another, the feeling of people being thrust together as a group and being forced to get on and sometimes playing on the tension in order to create illusions and get information. It’s difficult to explain without giving too much away, so, as I hate spoilers, I’m going to leave it there and just encourage you all to go and see it for yourself. See if you get as hooked on the magic as I did.