The Four Horsemen were/are:
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse as described in Chapter Six of the Book of Revelation.
A group of four football players for Notre Dame in 1924 known as the Four Horsemen.
A group of professional wrestlers that referred to themselves as the Four Horsemen.
There are many more potential answers but none of them fit this movie’s story. That’s because in Now You See Me, four magicians working on their own are mysteriously brought together in a dank New York City apartment and one year later, they are about to perform an astonishing illusion on one of the biggest stages in Las Vegas; and are being billed as “The Four Horsemen”.
There is “J. Daniel Atlas” (Eisenberg), “Henley Reeves” (Fisher) who was once his assistant, “Merritt McKinney” (Harrelson) who is more of a mentalist than a magician, and “Jack Wilder” (Franco) who idolizes the work of Atlas. They’ve gone from obscurity to fame and now on the big stage they execute what turns out to be the first of three great illusions. They invite an audience member chosen at random to come onstage. He is teleported from Las Vegas into the vault of a bank in Paris, France, and suddenly three million euros in cash rains down on the audience. They’ve robbed a bank via magic.
Now Special Agent “Dylan Rhodes” (Ruffalo) of the FBI is called on to investigate and he gets some unwanted help in the form of an Interpol agent named “Alma Dray” (Laurent). Also on the scene is famed debunker of magic, “Thaddeus Bradley” a former magician who has achieved much more fame exposing the tricks of other magicians. Bradley shows them how the trick was done and now they’re off to see what will happen next, in New Orleans.
Michael Caine is “Arthur Tressler”, a multi-millionaire entrepreneur who is producing the shows of the Four Horsemen. He has no idea what is in store for their second big illusion in New Orleans, and no one has a clue about what the final trick, to be held in New York City will involve. This is a good film that could have been a great film. One problem is that the plot is so complex that it takes almost the entire 115 minute running time to make the audience understand all of what has gone on. Add in the excellent action sequences and there is just no time for any serious amount of character development. We know so little about the Four Horsemen other than they are on a quest and they don’t know who or what is actually behind it. The star-studded cast still does a terrific job of overcoming these one-dimensional characters, so much so that you actually care if they succeed or not.
It also manages to reinforce one of the truisms of magic. The closer you look, the more easily you are deceived. Don’t be fooled here, Now You See Me is definitely worth seeing.