The movie mostly follows FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo), and his pursuit of some street magicians who have somehow managed to rob a bank in France. The group of magicians call themselves the Four Horseman. J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg) is an illusionist, Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson) is a mentalist/hypnotist, Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher) is an escape artist, and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) seems to be a jack of all trades. According to Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman), the group is going to strike 2 more times. Rhodes is in a race against time to catch them in the act before they steal more money. They aren't keeping any of the money, so why are they doing it?
As great as this cast seems, the main plot follows Mark Ruffalo. He is a decent actor in a supporting role, but he doesn't quite have the charisma to pull off the lead. Morgan Freeman is excellent as usual as a former magician who makes his money debunking and giving away the secrets to magic tricks. Woody Harrelson has the most likable role, and really delivers here. Jesse Eisenberg also does very well with his understated way of delivering witty lines. Isla Fisher is underused, but she looks quite stunning as usual. Franco is mostly a minor character, but he gets to participate in all of the main action and chase scenes.
The script is very well written. The movie is perfectly paced. There aren't any spots I can think of where the movie dragged. There are several twists and turns in the story that will keep you interested. The magic tricks are mostly done by CGI animation. Many of which are easy enough to figure out with help given by Morgan Freeman's character. My main complaints have to do with the underdeveloped love subplots. There are also enough hints throughout that the major reveals in the movie are predictable. However, it doesn't detract from the entertainment value as it would in most movies of this type.
The Bottom Line
This is one of the most entertaining movies I have seen this year. It's not a great movie though. In some aspects they try to do too much, and in others they don't do enough. The CGI animation also takes away from the magic tricks a little. The hastily thrown in love story seems forced also. The clever dialogue and twists in the plot more than make up for the shortcomings.