In the movie Now You See Me how do the Four Horsemen steal from Arthur Tressler?

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This is one part of the movie that isn't explained well. There was some explanation about the first trick as well as the last but not this one. Even if Agent Rhodes was playing all along in the Four Horsemen's hands how could he have known anything about Arthur Tressler? Arthur Tressler especially would keep things close to his chest especially since he knows what these guys could possibly do knowing they already robbed a bank before.

Also in this scene they say something about maybe unlocking it through security question. I can't believe it could be that easy.

  • @ChristianRau Every magic trick was planned early but there is no explanation for this one. He couldn't have just hacked Tressler's bank account like that. If he could he probably would have done it lot early. Most importantly there is no explanation for this one at all.
    – minusSeven
    Aug 27 '13 at 20:28
  • "If he could he probably would have done it lot early." - Of course he could, but why do this if he could do it with an amazing show. In the end he could also have walked over to Thadeus Bradley and shoot him or bring him into some other compromising situation much earlier, yet he chose a much more elegant way for his revenge.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Aug 27 '13 at 20:30
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    "Most importantly there is no explanation for this one at all." - Because there just isn't much to explain. You hack somebody's bank account and transfer the money to some other accounts. Explains itself pretty obviously once one knows that there isn't any magic involved.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Aug 27 '13 at 20:32
  • Wait, it is even explained right during the show when they tell Arthur how they got his password, see updated answer.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Aug 27 '13 at 20:38
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    Why can't it be that easy? It's just a trick. You maybe want there to be more (also since the 1st and 3rd tricks were indeed more impressive), but there isn't really. Get Arthur's password and do some money transfers, is it that hard to believe that to be possible?
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Aug 27 '13 at 20:42

In the airplane scene, right after the first act when they are with Arthur (Caine), they play mentalist tricks on him. Daniel tries to guess incorrectly about Arthur's life. Each time, Arthur himself presents the correct information -

Daniel: You had an uncle who had a manly name...?

Arthur: No, his name actually was...

So you can see that Arthur was just passing information to the Horsemen, which in the end, contained his bank account information that helped them access the money.

I'm sure getting his account number wasn't much of a problem - he was their sponsor after all. And then, trying to get his password, his security questions, etc. would require some knowledge about Arthur himself. Which they got with their time spent working for him, and through the mentalist tricks. The scene on the airplane shows exactly how they could get information that they wanted.

During the show, when it is finally revealed that they are giving away Arthur's money, he is baffled as to how they got access to his account. That is when they tease him about his security questions - mother's maiden name, first pet, etc. And then sarcastically ask him how they could have gotten that information. He would never have given it to them. When in fact, they cleverly got this information from Arthur with mentalist tricks played throughout. They had a lot of time to gather this information considering that they had everything planned out right from the beginning. So they had the time they were first introduced to Arthur, right till the second show to get all that information.

  • I could accept this as the right answer but the movie did not show how exactly they did this. Also with all the manipulation and mentalism you would think that a guy like Arthur would be more careful about this. Especially with a bank account with 150 million dollars probably wouldn't have that kind of security arrangement that could easily be cracked by a bit of mentalism. I wish the movie had shown a bit more about this.
    – minusSeven
    Aug 28 '13 at 6:50
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    Every magic trick in the movie is implied - it is never really shown how they do it. It's just little hints here and there. Like the first and last act was explained was Bradley, which could have been an incorrect explanation. But we accept it because it provides a logical explanation to us about how they did it. For me, the second acts logical explanation is this answer, that's what I understood from the movie. That this is how they must have done it. Aug 28 '13 at 12:43

There wasn't much explanation for this trick because there really wasn't much to it in the first place, they just hacked his bank account and transfered the money to the accounts of all the people in the audience, which they knew, since they selected them especially as guests for the show beforehand.

Given that the movie made use of some very elaborate technological gadgets, it isn't hard to believe them to be able to hack Arthur Tressler's bank account using the usual computer hacking magic known from the movies. Arthur Tressler has been their target (and thus that of Rhodes, since he set up their whole plan) all along, since they wanted him and his insurance company to pay for what he did to the Katrina-victims. In fact, they actually tell Arthur right on stage how they managed to get his password by asking him some questions and doing some mentalist tricks:

Arthur: Hey, did you do this!?

Jack: How could we, Arth? We don't have your password.

Henley: We'd need access to information we could never get our hands on...

Daniel: Security questions for instance... Like, I don't know, Your mothers maiden name or the name of your first pet.

Merritt: Where would we get that information, Arth? You'd certainly never tell us...

To Arthur they were just a bunch of talented illusionists that can perform a good magic show. He never knew they actually robbed a bank in reality (and if they did, then only to do a good magic show, which was in Arthur best interests). He just was a normal businessmen that sponsored the Four Horsemen, providing the resources for their show and getting a share of the ticket sales. He wasn't really aware of the fact that they had quite some technological backing to their advantage, let aside an ingenious plan to betray him and bite the hand that feeds. They were his employees in the end, no reason to assume they're thieves or can do real magic.

  • +1, You kinda want it to be more than that, but, it really isn't... It's quite a fancy way to hack someone's account and play Robin Hood, though ;)
    – Tom
    Aug 27 '13 at 20:33
  • @Tom "It's the trick that impresses the people, the secret doesn't impress anyone."
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Aug 27 '13 at 20:37
  • Hacking one person's bank account would be something but everyone's bank account would be improbable and impossible. There had to be some sort of trick involved since most of the magic had trick involved. Further more a guy who is financing people who robbed a bank before will certainly be more careful about money I think.
    – minusSeven
    Aug 27 '13 at 20:38
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    @minusSeven To Arthur they didn't rob a bank, it was a magic trick. They don't neccessarily need to hack all accounts, just his and do some ordinary transfers.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Aug 27 '13 at 20:39
  • @ChristianRau They did rob the bank. They robbed the car carrying real money and implanted the fake notes that was actually burnt.
    – minusSeven
    Aug 27 '13 at 20:44

Here is how the trick was executed (In 6 Simple Steps):-

Step 1: The Four Horsemen befriended Arthur Tressler a businessman who was too proud of himself to understand their wickedness. He also understood everything the way the Four Horsemen wanted him to.

Step 2: By accompanying him for a long time, they came to know a lot of personal facts about him. For instance, consider the plane scene, where Arthur unconsciously provided them with his personal facts.

Step 3: My best guess is hacking was not at all needed by The Four Horsemen. We all know if somebody looses his password, system asks the owner to provide with answers to some preset security questions which are not hard-to-know facts for close persons with the owner. Similar thing happened here. They furnished all the necessary information that has been storing in the Four Horsemens' database for a long time, asked by the system and possibly they changed or retrieved the password of his account. All this thing was done according to me just before the show started so that Arthur does not get any chance to know about this burglary.

Step 4: The Four Horsemen did not know about the true identity of Rhodes; so they arranged to stop him after the revelation beforehand, so that they can get the chance to flee.

Step 5: They shackled Arthur when he realized The Four Horsemen went berserk.

Step 6: They knew about the tracked device all alone. It was just a simple trick, they managed to misguide Rhodes during the chase.

Personally, I think this plan was never that hard to understand, so producers did not put effort to clarify it since the whole process can be easily imagined by the spectators. This is the best we can make out from the hints left in the movie.

  • actually the movie suggests the answer to be the same. But here you are not talking about a email password recovery but a bank account with over 100 million dollars. Any one with any common sense would have password and password recovery system lot more strict and abstract that cannot be recovered just like that. That was the reason I asked this question in the first place. Seems there is no better answer available.
    – minusSeven
    Sep 23 '13 at 7:26
  • @minusSeven, Your argument seems correct. But as neither one of us has 100M Dollars bank balance, we might not know how the password recovery works! But the conversation, Christian Rau mentioned in his answer, between Tressler and the Four Horsemen during the trick and the preceding plane scene suggests, this is how they tricked Tressler. At least the movie has clearly those hints.
    – Mistu4u
    Sep 23 '13 at 7:29

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