With the help of a mysterious pill that enables the user to access 100 percent of his brain abilities, a struggling writer becomes a financial wizard, but it also puts him in a new world with lots of dangers.
Four magicians each answer a mysterious summons to an obscure address with secrets inside. A year later, they are the Four Horsemen, big time stage illusionists who climax their sold out Las Vegas show with a bank apparently robbed for real. This puts agents Dylan Rhodes of the FBI and Alma Dray of Interpol on the case to find out how they did it. However, this mystery proves difficult to solve even with the insights of the professional illusion exposer, Thaddeus Bradley. What follows is a bizarre investigation where nothing is what it seems with illusions, dark secrets and hidden agendas galore as all involved are reminded of a great truth in this puzzle: the closer you look, the less you see. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (email@example.com)
trying desperately hard to be more intelligent than it is
Overall a showman of a film. Flashy, loud with bells and whistles and big personalities, an exciting premise... illusionists rob banks using (supposed) magic but the four horsemen are just puppets in a game, but the hype is more than the substance of the film itself.
You'd expect suspense, twists, intelligent plot misdirection and all sorts of thrilling viewing? No. This film tries to be a lot more intelligent than it actually is. Like Atlas (Eisenberg) says, "Always be the most intelligent person in the room" or something similar, this film thinks it is being intelligent but actually it's not challenging enough. It gives too much away, isn't as unpredictable as it should be (really, you couldn't see that ending coming?) and just isn't as clever as it promises. The tricks I really wanted explaining weren't... the ones that were more obvious, were explained. The ending actually isn't a denouement, as it's been laying clues all along - and anyone who's seen a lot of films can see the "twists" coming a mile away. I focus on the twists and reveal because as a heist movie, the end is the big reveal. But, unlike Oceans Eleven, for example, it has more or less handed it to you on a plate already.
The actors were good. Morgan Freeman and Woody Harrelson stealing the show, of course, with Dave Franco doing a bang up job with some incredible physical acting, stunts and so forth. I'm afraid Jesse Eisenberg didn't convince in his character and was annoying after a while, Franco rather underutilised really. Isla Fisher was good but clearly the "glamour" rather than a serious character, which was a shame as she was good.
This was supposed to be a big blockbuster film, big back drops, epic stunts and huge crowd scenes, but it failed to deliver. As heist/magic genre films go it's not that great, and The Prestige was far more cerebral and gripping. Entertaining to a point but I got a bit bored, and some of the scenes were too long - chases etc. If you are a fan of heist films or magic you'll enjoy it, or are a fan of particular actors, or will just enjoy it for what it is and don't want to be challenged intellectually, it's a great film. I think Hollywood endings are just too commonplace. 6/10 for me.
134 of 200 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?