Four street magicians—J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher), Jack Wilder (David Franco), and Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson) — are brought together by an unknown benefactor and, one year later, perform in Las Vegas as "The Four Horsemen", sponsored by insurance magnate Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine). For the finale, a member of the audience is invited to help them in their next trick: robbing a bank. That member in an audience is Étienne Forcier (José Garcia), the account holder at the Credit Republicain de Paris.
Forcier is apparently teleported to his bank in Paris, where he activates an air-duct that vacuums up the money and showers it onto the crowd in Las Vegas.
Upon discovering that the money really is missing from the bank vault, FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) is called to investigate the theft and is partnered with Interpol agent Alma Dray (Mélanie Laurent).
They interrogate the Four Horsemen, but release them when no explanation can be found.
Rhodes later meets Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman), an ex-magician who makes money by revealing the secrets behind other magicians' tricks.
Bradley was in the audience and deduced that the Four Horsemen stole the money weeks before, and manipulated the audience's perception of current events. |
Tressler later on meets Bradley and advises him to not continue his pursuit to expose the Four Horsemen. Bradley cockily refuses.
Rhodes, Dray, and Bradley attend the Four Horsemen's next performance in New Orleans. The group's finale involves them stealing roughly $140 million from Tressler's bank account and distributing it to the audience, composed of people whose insurance claims had been denied or reduced by Tressler's company. Rhodes attempts to arrest the Four Horsemen, but they escape with help from audience members who were earlier hypnotised as part of the performance.
An infuriated Tressler hires Bradley to expose and humiliate the Four Horsemen in their next performance. Later, while researching the Four Horsemen's background, Dray learns about rumors of a secret society of magicians called "The Eye" and suggests to a skeptical Rhodes the case might be tied to a magician named Lionel Shrike, whom Bradley had exposed 30 years earlier and who was so embarrassed that he undertook a dangerous underwater stunt and drowned.
The Four Horsemen are located in New York, but they escape during the raid to arrest them.
However, Wilder is killed when he crashes a stolen car during a high speed chase and it bursts into flames and explodes. The remaining Horsemen vow to continue and complete their final performance, stealing a safe made by the same company that made the safe Lionel Shrike died in. Then they perform their one last show at 5 Pointz during which they seemingly vanish into thin air, transforming into loads of money that is showered on the crowd.
Rhodes and the rest FBI agents continue to chase them but apparently the Four Horsemen have escaped.
Later it's found out that the money shower turns out to be fake and the real money is found stashed in Bradley's Range Rover. Bradley is then assumed to be the fifth Horseman and arrested, though it appears he was framed.
Rhodes visits Bradley in his cell. Bradley explains the only way the safe could have been removed was if Wilder was still alive but they would have also needed an inside man.
Bradley now realizes that Rhodes is the fifth Horseman.
Rhodes tells him he wants Bradley to spend the rest of his life in jail in penance for exposing Lionel Shrike. The reason why Bradley did that was because he so desperately wanted to join The Eye but was rejected by Lionel Shrike.
The Horsemen are now rejoined by Wilder, whose death was staged. They finally meet their benefactor and are surprised to find it is Rhodes. He welcomes them into "The Eye."
Rhodes later meets Dray on the Pont des Arts in France and is revealed to be the son of Lionel Shrike, the magician who drowned years ago. He masterminded and designed the Horsemen plot to obtain revenge on those involved: Bradley, for humiliating his father; the Credit Republicain de Paris and Tressler's company, who refused to pay the insurance on his father's death; and the company that produced the substandard safe used in the trick that led to its failure.
Dray, however, decides not to turn him in. When Dray sees the lock with a key that Rhodes magically handed out in front of her eyes, Rhodes proclaimed, "One more secret to lock away". As soon as Dray locks the lock on a chained fence with all of the locks that have been locked, she throws the key into the Seine.
In a post credit scene in the extended cut, The Horsemen are seen arriving at the Neon Museum in Las Vegas. They find crates marked with the sign of the 'Eye'. The movie ends with them looking for the four key cards to open the crates that hold their new equipment.
the movie got raving reviews such that it's up for a sequel. i as usual wiki-ed them up. but the spoilers really don't spoil the movie for me. in fact i was drawn in from the very beginning that i only paused after the credits rolled in. it was that GOOD!
of course, you'd wonder about plot plausibility but yet you cannot manage to escape its tantalising pace. the chemistry between the Four Horsemen, the beautiful special effects, the fitting soundtrack simply spellbound you.
watch it yourself and please, leave logic behind as you are in for a neat magic trick :)