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How Did Atlas Pull Off The Handcuff Trick In Now You See Me?

If you enjoyed "Ocean's Eleven" but thought the movie would have been better if every member of the team was a stage magician as well as a bank robber, then you would absolutely love 2013's "Now You See Me." The premise is simple: A group of magicians (played by A-listers like Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, and Dave Franco) use their skills for deception and illusion to pull off elaborate heists and hoodwink the authorities.

The movie certainly takes liberties in some of its magic tricks, including some truly unbelievable instances where people seem to teleport across the stage or float above the audience in a magical bubble. Many of these scenes use CGI to make each illusion seem more believable, but that doesn't mean that all the magicians' tricks are impossible or exaggerated. In fact, one of the coolest tricks in the entire movie can actually be performed without any behind-the-scenes help at all.

The handcuff trick is 100% possible in real life

There is a scene where J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg) is being interrogated by FBI Agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) while handcuffed to a table. Atlas provokes the agent into angrily slamming his hands on the table — at which point Atlas' handcuffs miraculously transfer over to Rhodes' wrists. The switch happens so fast that it seems nearly impossible, but the trick behind it is actually quite simple.

If you take a closer look at the scene leading up to this moment, you'll notice that Atlas had already unlocked his handcuffs and was just sitting there pretending they were still securely around his wrists. When Rhodes moves forward, all Atlas needs to do is quickly toss the handcuffs straight ahead — and in less than a second, the cuffs land on Rhodes' wrists and latch themselves shut.

The trick is definitely possible (albeit requiring a lot of hand-eye coordination and a bit of luck) in real life, but it is worth mentioning that even this scene used CGI to transfer the handcuffs from Atlas' hands over to Rhodes'. This was simply to save Ruffalo's wrists from being injured by the heavy metal cuffs — though perhaps even this small effect is enough to make people skeptical about the entire scene.