Oceans ll 2001, Now You See Me 2013, The Illusionist 2006, and The Prestige 2006
We begin the evening with Steven Sodenbergh's remake of the 1960's classic Oceans Eleven starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Julia Roberts, Bernie Mac, and Don Cheadle. In this stunning and exciting remake, Danny Ocean played by George Clooney and his eleven accomplices plan to rob a total of three Las Vegas casinos simultaneously. Conflict arises when an old flame of Clooney's character played by Julia Roberts is romantically involved with the owner of the casino he's planning to rob played by Andy Garcia.The next film in the lineup Now You See Me, deals with an FBI agent played by Mark Ruffalo and an Interpol detective tracking a team of illusionists who pull off bank heists during their performances and during the process, give their money to the audiences.With a supporting cast among the talents of Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Woody Harrelsen, and Jesse Eisenberg, Now You See Me takes the concept of heisting and group effort introduced in Oceans Eleven and brings it to newer heights. The third film in the lineup deals with a magician in the turn-of-the-century Vienna using his skilled abilities to secure the love of a woman he desires, but is also far above his social standing. Nominated for an Oscar for Best Cinematography, The Illusionist takes the theme of magic from Now You See Me and allows it to blossom. However, it's not until the climatic film of the night where the themes of trickery, magic, betrayal, revenge, and desire all come together with Christopher Nolan's The Prestige. Boasting a terrific cast among the likes of Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Hugh Jackman, David Bowie, and Andy Serkis, The Prestige is a fantastic story of two stage magicians engaging in a competitive one-upmanship in an attempt to create the ultimate stage illusion to become the greatest magician of all time. With Prestige, Nolan crafts a pure spectacle that plays on the imagination of the audience while delivering some great performances and a visually stunning atmosphere. It only further cements the belief that Christopher Nolan is one of the greatest directors of this generation.
So what's the message of all these films and how do they all tie together ultimately. Oceans Eleven being a heist film ultimately says that sometimes crime does pay, especially if you're George Clooney. Now You See Me says that magic requires belief and patience. The Illusionist says that love and power can drive people to the extreme, and The Prestige says that obsession is what ultimately leads to misery.