Now You See Me is a 2013 French-American caper thriller film released on May 31, 2013. It was directed by Louis Leterrier. The film stars Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Mélanie Laurent, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Common, Michael Caine, and Morgan Freeman. A sequel was released in 2016 called Now You See Me 2.
The film revolves around a group of illusionists, who pull off bank heists for their audience, and the FBI agent and Interpol detective tasked with stopping them.
The film opens with J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg) demonstrating a card trick to the audience, as he explains, "Come in close. Closer. Because the more you think you see, the easier it will be to fool you. Because what is seeing? You're looking but what you're really doing is filtering, interpreting, searching for meaning. My job: to take that most precious of gifts you give me - your attention - and use it against you."
Daniel is a street performer in Chicago. He is shown doing a card trick to an attractive young girl. The seemingly typical card tricks climax in the side of the John Hancock Center somehow reflecting his card. The performance is being watched by a mysterious hooded man whose face is never seen.
Afterwards, the attractive girl, who turns out to be a big fan of Daniel, charms him into taking her to his apartment. However, he is distracted by the discovery of a "Lovers" tarot card. On one side of the card is the text "March 29th; 4:44 PM, 45 East Evan Street, NY, NY."
New Orleans, Tuesday:
At a restaurant, we meet Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson), a street mentalist and hypnotist. He demonstrates his act on a married couple. First, he hypnotizes the wife so she can't speak or move, while he gets under the brain of husband, and through his mind reading exposes the man as an adulterer who is sleeping with his wife's sister. Merritt then fleeces the man out of $250 before hypnotizing them into "forgetting" the matter. While he's packing up his posters, he finds a "Hermit" tarot card.
New York City, Wednesday:
On a New York City ferry boat, we meet Jack Wilder (Dave Franco), a street con artist and magician who lures in customers by betting them money if they can figure out how he bends a spoon with his mind. One correctly guesses it, and Wilder pays him, only to pickpocket the guesser's wallet. He then flees, bumping into a mystery hooded man, who slips a "Death" tarot card into Wilder's coat pocket.
Los Angeles, Thursday:
At a theatre downtown, Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher) is a trained stage performer. She finishes off her act with a water tank escape act in which she seemingly is eaten alive by flesh-eating piranhas, only to emerge alive and well in the middle of the crowd seconds after the water turns a bloody red. As she packs up her supplies, she finds a High Priestess tarot card floating in the tank.
The four street performers each travel to New York City, arriving at a rundown apartment on the Lower East Side. Daniel and Henley are surprised when they see each other, as Henley is Daniel's former personal assistant, and Merritt guesses that they used to date. While Merritt and Henley complain about Daniel's controlling personality, Jack arrives late and introduces himself as Daniel's fan. He is able to pick the lock of the apartment they have been invited to, but no one is inside. Instead they discover the blueprints of some amazing machinery that they know could help propel them to stardom.
Las Vegas, One Year Later: One year later, the four magicians have declared themselves an official troupe known as "the Four Horsemen" and are now sponsored by insurance magnate Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine). They are performing onstage at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. For their final trick, they declare that they are going to do something that has never been done before on any stage: they are going to rob a bank. The crowd is very enthusiastic, and there are a large number of volunteers who seem to have a vendetta, so Daniel declares that they are going to select a volunteer at random. Merritt, Henley and Wilder go around with bowls of ping pong balls to allow the audience to make the selection. Wilder tosses Daniel a ping pong ball with a letter B, which tells them which section to choose a volunteer from. Merritt then tosses a '5' ball, to give them a row to choose from, and lastly, Henley tosses a '13' ball, and the man seated in seat B-5-13, a Frenchman named Étienne Forcier (José Garcia), stands up.
Étienne says on the microphone that his bank is the Crédit Républicain de Paris. While Étienne is making his way to the stage, Daniel takes the time to point Tressler out in the crowd and express the Horsemen's gratitude towards him for sponsoring them. On stage, Étienne is briefed by Merritt, while Wilder fits him out with a teleportation helmet. Daniel then hands Étienne a set of playing cards, and has him pick a card at random. He then has Étienne sign his name in English on the card he chose, a red two of hearts.
Henley then conjures a teleporter in the middle of the stage. They have Étienne climb onto the platform. Merritt reminds Étienne that it's 11:50 PM now in Las Vegas and 8:50 AM in Paris, so his bank will be opening in about ten minutes. They then activate the teleporter, and Étienne seemingly is successfully teleported off the stage.
In Paris, at the exact same moment, to be precise, Étienne stands up in the vault of his bank. Video cameras built into the helmet and a microphone allow him to communicate with the Las Vegas stage. He sees a big pile of money in the middle of the room, approximately three million euros worth. Daniel instructs Étienne to put the card he just signed in the middle of the money pile, along with his ticket stub from the performance. He then tells Étienne to push a button on the side of his helmet. The button activates an air duct that vacuums up the entire pile of money.
Moments later, bank employees arriving for work at that bank open the vault and discover the safe is indeed empty, with only the card and ticket stub on the floor. Meanwhile, their money is being showered on the Las Vegas crowd.
FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) is called to investigate the theft and is partnered with Interpol Agent Alma Dray (Mélanie Laurent). Alma has already deemed interrogation useless, but Dylan decides to do the interviews himself. Étienne insists on his innocence and sincerely believes he was transported to France, but it is soon discovered he had been hypnotized after Étienne suddenly acts like he's in a philharmonic orchestra upon hearing Dylan say the word "Bullshit".
They interrogate the Four Horsemen next, Jack is at ease enough to sleep, while a bored Henley "magically" makes her opposite chair spin. Merritt turns the interview against them, pointing out the secrets that Alma is hiding and how Dylan has abandonment issues, likely because of his father. Daniel's interview creates the most tension, as he taunts Dylan with the fact that the police have no proof and that the Four Horsemen will always be ahead. Unable to arrest them when the only explanation they have for the theft is "magic", the police are forced to release their suspects.
While Dylan stews over this, an officer runs up to him and eagerly tells him that one of the audience members was Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman)--an ex-magician who makes money by revealing the secrets behind other magicians' tricks, Thaddeus had actually recorded the show and figured out how the heist was done. He takes the police back to the stage, where he puts Dylan through the volunteer audience member's position and explains how the man was "transported" to Paris. The Four Horsemen stole the money weeks before, and manipulated the audience into believing it happened in real time. The "French" bank vault to which Étienne was apparently transported was a duplicate beneath the stage: he merely dropped through a trapdoor. And Étienne himself was not chosen at random: the magicians had palmed ping pong balls with his seat number which they exchanged for the ones picked from the bowls.
This was only the start, as Thaddeus knew there was more coming and warns Dylan to be prepared for the magicians' next performance in New Orleans. Dylan asks Thaddeus to help the police arrest the four, but Thaddeus refuses and leaves.
While the Horsemen are on Arthur Tressler's private jet, Atlas begins mocking Merritt's mentalism. He tries and read the mind of Tressler. Atlas guesses the name of Tressler's first pet and his uncle. His guesses are both very wrong, and Arthur tells him the right answers.
As Thaddeus prepares for his next video, Arthur Tressler approaches and tries to bribe him into staying out of the Four Horsemen's rise to fame. Again Thaddeus refuses, and Arthur threatens to bring the ex-magician to ruin. Arthur's demonstration of the threat however has Thaddeus warning him instead to be careful as it may be Arthur who will be ruined.
The press is soon reporting the sold out show for the Four Horsemen's debut in New Orleans. Perhaps made aware of Thaddeus's presence, the magicians demonstrate the secret of the common disappearing rabbit trick. They then move to original stunts. They create soap bubbles strong enough to send Henley flying through the air. Jack throws cards with enough force to knock the top off of a pencil. Merritt hypnotizes twelve people to believe they are football players ready to tackle the quarterback upon hearing the command "freeze". For the finale, they invite Arthur on stage and empty his bank account, distributing it to the audience, which comprises people whose insurance claims had been denied or reduced by his company. Chaos erupts as the audience discovers the money in their bank accounts. Arthur tries to go after the magicians, only to find himself chained to the stage.
Dylan runs up the stage to arrest the Four Horsemen and shouts "freeze!"--they then escape with help from the hypnotized "football player" audience members. The police chase the magicians through the streets but are ultimately tricked. Only Alma comes close as she manages to corner Daniel with her gun, but seeing him unarmed and frightened causes her to hesitate, allowing Daniel to escape.
Although Dylan blames her for letting Daniel go, Dylan knows Alma was probably the only person not fooled by the Four Horsemen into running in the wrong direction. Finally more receptive to her opinions, Alma tells him about the rumors of a magicians' secret society called "The Eye". They were a group of magicians similar to Robin Hood; stealing from the rich, giving to the poor, often dependent on illusions and great leaps of faith or even blind obedience. Dylan is skeptical, but then Alma starts drawing comparisons to a particular magician, one who Thaddeus exposed. That man was so humiliated he attempted a complex underwater stunt that went awry, yet a body was never found. The heists might have been a mere distraction in the bigger picture, something that Thaddeus understands when an infuriated Tressler speaks to him. Arthur hires Thaddeus to expose and humiliate the Four Horsemen in their next performance.
Things are tense before the Four Horsemen's last performance in New York City. They are still following instructions from their mysterious benefactor, but worried that after everything is accomplished their benefactor will abandon them to the police. As the youngest, Jack is most panicked and the others order him to follow the plan. The police arrive and surround the building. Jack is left alone to destroy all remaining evidence, but Dylan and his partner discover his hideout. What evidence he couldn't burn Jack grabs and tries to flee, but Dylan and his partner are in hot pursuit. The magician attempts to escape in a stolen car, and the car chase is broadcast live before Jack loses control of the vehicle. When the car flips and skids to a halt Dylan tries to get him out, but he can only take the evidence before the car explodes in flames.
The remaining three of the Four Horsemen post an online video mourning Jack's loss but resolve to continue their final act in New York. From the papers Jack had tried to destroy, Dylan and Alma learn that the Four Horsemen are targeting a particular safe which is under the surveillance of another FBI team. Alma has no jurisdiction, and with the Four Horsemen's consistent ability to outwit Dylan, another FBI team leader takes over the case. The team rush to where the safe is stored, only to find the room empty. As it turns out, another FBI agent had been hypnotized to give instructions for the safe to be transported. The team escort the safe to the destination, only to meet up with Thaddeus. Thaddeus tells them to check the safe. Inside the safe they find only balloons, the Four Horsemen have outsmarted them again. By now, Dylan is convinced there is a fifth member of the team, potentially Alma or Thaddeus.
5 Pointz is where the final performance is to be held. Dylan once again attempts to arrest the Four Horsemen, but the three escape by using holograms, dummies, and even jumping off a rooftop. Money again rains from the sky into the cheering crowd, but the bills are fake. Knowing that the story of the Four Horsemen is now over, Dylan resigns himself to let it go and explore his feelings for Alma instead. Meanwhile, Thaddeus returns to his car, only to discover it is filled with the real money from the stolen safe. The FBI show up and arrest Thaddeus, believing he was part of the plan.
In prison, Thaddeus tells Dylan that he was framed. He explains how the Four Horsemen performed the safe heist through the use of mirrors and then faking Jack's death with a duplicate "standard issue" FBI car, but can't figure out how they managed to set everything up by themselves. He realizes then that there was a fifth horsemen and it was not him or Alma but Dylan. Dylan was the mastermind of the entire plot, though Thaddeus is unable to determine why. Dylan tells Thaddeus he wants him imprisoned in the bars forever, trying to figure out why. He leaves to reunite with the Four Horsemen, who are stunned to learn that he is the mysterious benefactor who brought them together. He initiates them into "The Eye".
Back in Pont des Arts in France, Alma finds an old newspaper article slipped in her current paper. The article is about the magician who attempted the underwater trick and drowned, leaving his family penniless. Dylan appears and confesses that he is the son of the drowned magician. He designed the Horsemen plot to obtain revenge on those involved: Thaddeus, for humiliating his father; the bank in Paris and Tressler's company, which refused to pay insurance on his father's death; and the safe-producing company that produced the safe used in his father's trick and the Horsemen's final act. The company may have made good bank safes, but for the safe Dylan's father used they used an inferior quality of metal, causing it to warp and contributing to his death. Dylan was living in poverty until The Eye recruited him. He admits that he had planned everything, but did not plan on meeting and falling in love with Alma. Although she briefly considers turning Dylan in, ultimately she chooses not to, believing that some mysteries were better left unsolved. She puts a lock on the fence, symbolizing it as "one more secret to lock away". She throws the key in the Seine and we then hear the voices of the Horsemen saying that they could be anywhere, watching and on the count of three, they tell the audience to open their eyes. The audience hears "1...2..." and the credits roll.
- Jesse Eisenberg as J. Daniel Atlas
- Mark Ruffalo as Dylan Rhodes
- Woody Harrelson as Merritt McKinney
- Isla Fisher as Henley Reeves
- Dave Franco as Jack Wilder
- Mélanie Laurent as Alma Dray
- Morgan Freeman as Thaddeus Bradley
- Michael Caine as Arthur Tressler
- Michael Kelly as Agent Fuller
- Common as Agent Evans
- José Garcia as Étienne Forcier
- Elias Koteas (uncredited) as Lionel Shrike
The official soundtrack was composed by Brian Tyler, and was released on May 28, 2013.
- Now You See Me by Brian Tyler
- The Four Horsemen by Brian Tyler
- Now You See Me (Reprise) by Brian Tyler
- Sun (Jesse Marco Remix) by Two Door Cinema Club
- Now You Don't by Brian Tyler
- Entertainment by Phoenix
- Sleight of the Mind by Brian Tyler
- Now You See Me (Robert DeLong Remix) by Brian Tyler
- Welcome to the Eye by Brian Tyler
- Codec by Zedd
- Cineramascope (feat. Trombone Shorty and Corey Henry) by Galactic
- Now You See Me (Spellbound Remix) by Brian Tyler
Home media Edit
Now You See Me was released on DVD and Blu-ray on September 3, 2013. The Blu-ray release contains an extended version of the film, featuring 16 additional minutes. It also contains behind-the-scenes footage, 30 minutes of deleted scenes, and a "History of Magic".