Ordell Robbie (Yasiin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def) and Louis Gara (John Hawkes) get much more than they bargained for after kidnapping the wife of a corrupt real-estate developer (Tim Robbins). As it turns out, Frank Dawson has no intentions of paying the ransom for the well-being of his wife, Mickey (Jennifer Aniston). He had been seeking a way to leave his wife of many years for his mistress (Isla Fisher), and fortunately Ordell and Louis took care of the messiness of actually leaving Mickey for him by kidnapping her.
With the timing of a well-orchestrated heist, the latest screen adaptation of an Elmore Leonard novel closes this year’s Toronto Film Festival. Given his recent passing and the well-deserved plaudits from various luminaries of pen and screen, his rap sheet has been celebrated over the past few weeks. Based on Leonard’s novel The Switch, writer and director Daniel Schechter has managed to embezzle a fine addition to the long list of lean Leonard works. Although it doesn’t quite hit the jackpot, it does manage to purloin some fine criminal characters and a gutsy group of belly laughs to boot.
“Some things are better left unexplained,” a character intones at one point in Now You See Me, a wise lesson that the film’s trio of screenwriters should’ve taken to heart. This heist film, in which a quartet of magicians are highly intelligent thieves (or are they?), becomes more nonsensical and inexplicable the more we learn about how these tricksters have robbed banks (or have they?) and sent federal agents on various wild-goose chases (or were…well, you get the idea).