A movie about magicians that appear to steal from the rich to give to the poor playing during the summer movie season. Not your typical popcorn flick for this time of the year but a nice break from the norm of robots, aliens and cartoons.
The film starts us off by introducing us to the four magicians that later on become known as " The Four Horsemen". We have Danny ( Jesse Eisenberg ) who is pulling off streets tricks to bed pretty women, Henley ( Isla Fisher ) who has a show where she escapes from chains and has a past with Danny, Jack ( Dave Franco ) who uses his talents to pick pocket people and Merritt ( Woody Harrelson ) who has the "power" of mentalism which makes it appear that he can read people's minds and thoughts. They are brought together by a mysterious card left for each one of them. Once together we are brought forward one year to Las Vegas where they are performing on stage with the financial backing of Arthur ( Michael Caine ). Their closing trick is having picked a person within the crowd to be transported to Paris, France and when there oversee over 3 million pounds taken from a bank and then rained upon the crowd in amazement.
FBI agent Dylan ( Mark Ruffalo ) is brought in to investigate the apparent robbery that took place and end up taking the four magicians in for questioning. After talking to each one individually in some great back and forth he realizes he has nothing to hold them on. The Horsemen announce that the Vegas trick was only the beginning and to catch their next trick in New Orleans. Keeping an eye from afar is one Thaddeus ( Morgan Freeman ) who is an ex-magician who has a tv show that debunks the concept of magic and shows how every trick is done. He then sells copies of them on DVD's and makes millions off that. It does not make him a popular person within the magic community.
As the Horsemen make it to New Orleans they have Dylan and his associates keeping a close tabs on the situation and are ready to pounce in if they see anything suspicious. For their next trick they have the audience's bank accounts amounts mysteriously rise which in turn gets agent Dylan's attention and the foot chase is on as he pursues them through the streets of New Orleans. All of these during Mardi Gras which makes it harder to maneuver through the people. The Horsemen manage to escape with Dylan and company licking their wounds. Dylan and FBI pinpoint the Horsemen to a building in New York and surround and enter it to take them down but they manage to escape once again. This time a car chase ensues with a climax that invokes a scene from a previous Fast and Furious film. Not sure if it was on purpose but a nice nod nonetheless.
Thaddeus warns Dylan that he needs to see what is front of him and to stop and think of what is happening and what isn't. Dylan starts to question those around him and doesn't know who to trust. The Horsemen have one last show to perform and welcomes the people of the city to join them in person to witness their final trick. With Dylan and the FBI descending on the location as well the squeeze is on. The Horsemen tell the crowd thank you for their support and that they must go now and as they do they the go poof not into a cloud of smoke but a cloud of money that once again descends on the waiting crowd. Turns out that it's funny money and the real money is somewhere else.
In the end the curtain is moved to the side and we see why the players were brought together and what role everyone played and what the end game was all along. The movie ends with a nice little bow on itself with secrets locked away and the key thrown away.
Verdict : Something different than the usual summer fanfare and it was a breath of fresh air. The Horsemen work well together and singularly and the chemistry is evident. They all play their roles to their own personal strengths. Mark plays the FBI with his sometimes head cut off and running around like a chicken to perfection and Michael does what his role asks for. The only thing I could complain about would be nit picking to a few timing issues on the chases but in the grand scheme of things that is minor. I really enjoyed this flick as it was something different from the beat em up kill em movies so far this year. While you could just wait and watch this on the small screen there is no bad reason not too watch it on the big one. THUMBS UP from me to a viewing in either setting.