By: Jay Dyer
Now You See Me is, on one level, a silly, contrived film about a group of magicians invited to be part of a large-scale heist and con operation. Simply put, amateur magic acts Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher), Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson), J. Daniel Atlas (Jessie Eisenberg) and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) are chosen to join a wealthy Arthur Tressler-backed operation called The 4 Horsemen (Michael Caine is Tressler) that plan to steal from various banks. The “magic” the team uses is really a series of advanced techniques of Hollywood magic, psy ops and other forms of smoke and mirrors.
Each of the stage acts are sent a Tarot card that is relevant to their act and persona. Eisenberg is sent a “lovers” card, Harrelson the “hermit,” Isla the “priestess,” and Fanco is sent “death.” The cards invite them to an abandoned apartment that is their recruitment for a secret “Order of the Eye” that exist to utilize magic and illusion to balance justice against forces of greed and corruption. The symbol for the Order, of course, is the All-Seeing Eye that emerges as Harrelson touches the light bulb. The significance here is that the ignition of light, which is what enters and exits the eye to cause perception, is the beginning of their initiation. This is relevant because the whole film will be about the management of perception. The Order, in fact, requires a large-scale psy op to enter its ranks.
The Order, in terms of decoding the symbology, stands for the secret elite cryptocracy that make up the top levels of the shadow government. The first bank robbed is a French bank, Credit Republicain of Paris, and the money is funnelled into the auditorium in Las Vegas. This first trick involves fooling a plant into thinking he was teleported to his bank in France. In reality, the plant was chosen, studied, and put under mind control and hypnosis and given a trigger word that put him into a trance. The code word triggers a reaction in which the plant thinks he is in France, but has been programmed to attend the Vegas show. The 4 Horsemen it turns out had hidden inside the delivery truck to steal the real cash using flash paper to make the fake money appear to disappear.
Meanwhile, FBI Agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) and an Interpol Agent Alma Dray (Melanie Laurent) from France are on the trail of the hoodwinkers. Alma tells Ruffalo that the Order of the Eye is really the Eye of Horus and that they may be a real secret society. Meanwhile, the second act of the great show by the 4 Horsemen is the looting of Arthur Tressler’s bank account, which is given to the audience in New Orleans. Tressler, dejected, is informed by magic debunker Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman) that the theft of his millions was merely a sideshow distraction for the main act, proposing they team up to debunk the Act.
The 4 Horsemen are also hackers, we learn, and end up located by Tressler, Bradley and the FBI, leading to the “death” of Jack Wild. Of course this was all staged, but Bradley makes an interesting comment that all the actions of the Horsemen are done for the purpose of playing out their ritual magic event on the world stage. Indeed, this is precisely the perspective the “Illuminati” have, as the events they perform on a mass scale involve not only “Hollywood” smoke and mirrors, but also real events worked on the stage that is the real world. The writers of Now You See Me are quite aware of that fact, and are making it very obvious. The Third Act of the Four Horsemen involves stealing a large sum of money from a defense contractor, and giving that “money” to the masses.
Following this, he 4 Horsemen now suspect there is a 5th Horeseman running the show, but whose identity remains a mystery, as the horsemen are “hidden in plain sight.” The film itself thus puts forth a host of glitz and glam to distract the viewer as a form of misdirection from the main event. The main event is the revelation by the 4 Horsemen that the world is run by criminals that deceive and cheat using magic—deception. “Magic itself is deception,” Atlas says, and it’s wrong to use it to deceive and cheat people by manipulating their beliefs. Indeed, Hollywood as an organ of mass propaganda is designed precisely to manage perception. For their final act, the 4 Horsemen utilize holograms to distract and disappear, while giving the audience of New York millions of Federal Reserve Notes, as they “disappear.” Thus, their great illusion is Federal Reserve Notes with their own image. The deeper meaning is that the Fed Notes we actually use are an illusion—an illusion of the “Illuminati” to deceive the public. In other words, the money is fake.
As you can imagine, Agent Dylan Rhodes was actually running the whole show to frame Thaddeus. The 4 Horsemen disappear, as images of All-Seeing Eyes plaster Times Square. The theft of the money was done by Jack, whose death was faked. The entire reveal of how the tricks were done is given by Thaddeus, in the same manner as the Illuminati themselves prefer to reveal their methodologies in film and pop culture. The title “Now You See Me” is therefore about revelation of the method, the form of lesser magic and psy ops that involves revealing the great work itself.
Agent Rhodes tells Thaddeus that the reality was he (Thaddeus) always wanted to join The Eye, but was never invited, so he sought to destroy them. Thaddeus tells Rhodes that the 4 Horsemen were “always a step ahead, as if they had someone on the inside…” Indeed, the opponents of the system are successful precisely because they are run by those on the inside. Rhodes tells Thaddeus that he was duped because of his ego—that he thought he had it all figured out and was ahead of everyone, when he was duped by what is obvious. Translated, the Illuminists are right in your face, running the illusions in front of your face, while you are unable to figure out who they are.
Mark knows 9/11 was an inside job.
The final scene is Agent Rhodes telling Alma that Credit Republicain, Tressler Insurance and Elkhorn Insurance were all connected and they were responsible for corruption and ultimately his father’s death, they mysterious magician, Lionel Shrike. Rhodes and Alma promise to keep their secret and toss the symbolic key into the Siene. The final montage is a bunch of keys at the bottom of the river, and the 4 Horsemen tell you they are the secret keepers that could be anywhere watching you. Jack’s voice says, “Count to three, open your eyes, and tell me what you see…” And upon three, the screen goes black. In other words, viewing audience, you are profane and in darkness.
So you have the Eye of Horus, a high level secret society, psy ops, mind control, 9/11 references in connection to banking, insurance and defense contractor fraud, the art of the con, “322,” and many more. Can you put these puzzle pieces together? Can you find the other esoteric references I purposely left out of my analysis?