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Doug's Take: 'Now You See Me' sharply written, brilliantly executed

Published: Friday, May 31 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

This film image released by  Summit Entertainment shows, from left, Isla Fisher and Jesse Eisenberg in a scene from This film image released by Summit Entertainment shows, from left, Isla Fisher and Jesse Eisenberg in a scene from "Now You See Me." (AP Photo/ Summit Entertainment, Barry Wetcher) (Barry Wetcher, AP)

This is a cool film. “Now You See Me” is sharply written and brilliantly executed, capitalizing on the diverse acting skills of an amazing cast.

Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Jesse Eisenberg and Dave Franco star as Merritt, Henley, Daniel and Jack, four street magicians.

Well, let’s be frank. They utilize magic tricks and hypnotism to primarily con and fleece people. Each, in the course of plying their dubious skills, receives an irresistible invitation on a tarot card. All four show up mystified as to why they are there but soon, in the seedy apartment that was designated as the gathering place, magic unfolds.

At this point, we flash forward one year and the four are performing world-class magic in a spectacular Las Vegas venue where they have promised the audience that they are going to rob a bank. A person is selected from the crowd, he selects a bank in Paris and, abracadabra, we see him in a vault with a pile of euros that are sucked out of the vault. Miraculously, the “transported” money starts floating from the ceiling of the Las Vegas MGM Grand showroom.

This film image released by  Summit Entertainment shows Jesse Eisenberg in a scene from This film image released by Summit Entertainment shows Jesse Eisenberg in a scene from "Now You See Me." (AP Photo/ Summit Entertainment, Barry Wetcher) (Barry Wetcher, AP)

To say the least, this gets the attention of law enforcement. Mark Ruffalo, as FBI agent Dylan Rhodes, and Melanie Laurent, as Alma Dray, an Interpol officer, along with a legion of cops are hot on the trail of the four illusionists.

But it’s not just law enforcement. Morgan Freeman stars as Thaddeus Bradley, a self-appointed debunker of magic tricks who is loathed by those who protect the secrets and methodology of illusion. Let me just say that Freeman is mesmerizing.

This film is too delicious to say much more. The joy here is trying to figure everything out and being foiled over and over again. The mystery boils down to this: There is an unknown hand guiding the unfolding events and setting up the illusions, but who? And what is the motivation?

The staging, the special effects, the script, the settings and — most of all — the skill of the cast all combine to make “Now You See Me” another must-see movie of the early summer season.

This film image released by  Summit Entertainment shows Mark Ruffalo, left, and Melanie Laurent in a scene from This film image released by Summit Entertainment shows Mark Ruffalo, left, and Melanie Laurent in a scene from "Now You See Me." (AP Photo/ Summit Entertainment, Barry Wetcher) (Barry Wetcher, AP)

I was genuinely surprised at how much I enjoyed this film. Oh, what the heck, I’m going the full, four stars.

Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company