I may as well tell you up front that I believe that this film is actually an important and intellectual French film masquerading as a trivial popcorn movie. There are a number of things about this film that reveal that it is not mere cinematic fluff but is of interest to the readers of this blog, compelled as we are by the appropriate and innovative use of visual effects and our study of the esoteric knowledge that is hidden from the average, uninitiated member of the filmgoing audience.
But from the very beginning, the film confounds expectations.
Second, the film, when released got lukewarm and mixed reviews, and received almost no marketing from the studio and it was expected to die a quick death. But, strangely enough, it didn't. Instead it proceeded to slowly build business by word of mouth and made over $100 million in this country for a total of at least $230 million in first release. That is very good for a film that cost $75 million to make and was expected to flop. In fact, it made more money than several other very expensive summer movies of that year and they are even making a sequel.
Although nominally the film may be about magicians who rob banks, we also have here a nice Cinderella meta-story about a French summer popcorn film that did well.
1. A flourish is the display of a deck of cards in a way that is designed to impress. It may or may not be part of an illusion. A good card player will often use flourishes when shuffling a deck as a way of intimidating his opponents or perhaps just to show off. In magic, it is part of the entertainment value of a show and is often used to distract the audience's attention. It may also be used by the magician as an exercise to develop skill and coordination.