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Do you believe in magic?


That was the opening line and title, as many music fans know, of a peppy 1960s hit by The Lovin Spoonful. It痴 also the question at the hocus-pocus, hi-jinxed heart of 哲ow You See Me, about a group of dazzling young performers that the FBI believes may actually be thieves with one than one trick up their sneaky sleeves.


Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco and Isla Fisher play the magicians, known as the Four Horsemen, who致e become sensations for their sell-out shows, which combine baffling feats of hypnotism, levitation, vanishing and reappearing, and always end with a fat payoff: hundreds, thousands, or even millions of dollars, given away to the audience and apparently stolen poof, just like that from banks that might be thousands of miles away.


Agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo), with a special assist from a beautiful French Interpol officer (M駘anie Laurent from 的nglourius Basterds), smells a rat. He turns to Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman), a TV and DVD personality who痴 made his fortune exposing the fakery of famous magicians.


Another acting veteran, Michael Caine, plays the Horsemen痴 wealthy sponsor, with a sizable bank account that stands to get even fatter if he can prevent Freeman痴 character from cracking his act痴 secrets.


But no one can figure out the identity of the Horsemen痴 anonymous benefactor, the 電esigner of the act itself. Who痴 behind the trickery or the larceny? These four former 都treet magicians certainly didn稚 rocket to overnight superstardom by themselves.


And then there痴 the theory that the Horsemen aren稚 crooks, but initiates of an ancient mythic ritual using magic to 兎ven the scales of justice.


Do you believe in magic, indeed?


It痴 a slick little cat-and-mouse caper wrapped around a novel idea, and the likeable cast runs with the fun, sometimes literally. There痴 a fast-paced chase through a New York apartment building that includes a dual drop down a trash chute and then into the streets, where the action continues in cars. Another foot pursuit takes places on the crowded, reveler-filled alleyways of New Orleans.


Anyone who likes magic will enjoy how much the movie dwells on the conjurer痴 art, depicting a spectrum of tricks and illusions and, in some cases, revealing how they池e done.


But the movie痴 real secret, however, is the one that it keeps until the very end, a surprising revelation that finally sorts out who痴 who and what痴 what.


With a cool cast, a twisty-turny plot, and a fresh, feisty spin on disappearing bunnies and musty old pick-a-card routines, 哲ow You See Me might just be the rare movie about magicians to make cash registers do a serious ring at the box office. If it can do that, that値l be its best trick of all.


IF YOU GO


WHAT: 哲ow You See Me


STARRING: Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Morgan Freeman and Mark Ruffalo


DIRECTED BY: Louis Leterrier


RATED: PG-13


RUNNING TIME: 113 minutes



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