Review – Now You See Me

Product Details4 Stars

Last week, I finally got around to seeing Now You See Me…make your own jokes if you wish.  Now You See Me was one of the films I listed months ago in my list of Movies I may want to see this summer… I believe it was the first of the big seasonal blockbusters to be released in theatres, and now it is the first of my listed films I have actually gotten around to seeing.  Was I impressed?  Did it live up to my expectations?  Yes and no.  There were a lot of things I liked about the film, but there were one or two notable pieces that prevented Now You See Me from being the perfect puzzle that I wanted.

Four separate magicians (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson,Ilsa Fisher and Dave Franco), each specializing in a different area of “magic” are recruited by a strange figure.  Their stock rises, and together they are the Four Horsemen, on top of the performance world.  But their mysterious benefactor has not only theatrical success planned, as the Four Horsemen start robbing banks, stealing private funds and distributing the wealth back to their audiences through their magic shows.  The first heist is fantastic enough, as a man is transported across the Atlantic to rob the vault of his own bank in France, and that is what brings the Four Horsemen to the attention of both the FBI Agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) and Interpol Agent Alma Dray (Mélanie Laurent) as the pair reluctantly work together to lead a team to bring down the magical criminals.  Are the thefts being accomplished by “real” magic?  Or are they just a series of grand illusions?

If you’ve read some of my past posts, you know I love magic; The Great Magician, The Prestige, and The Illusionist are some great examples of film prestidigitation and certainly worth watching if you haven’t seen them yet.  I was quite impressed with the magic tricks in Now You See Me, and with how they treated them.  Some of the tricks were revealed by Morgan Freeman who played a magician debunker helping the authorities explain how the robberies were committed; but not everything was explained.  The producers claim that most of the tricks were achieved through practical effects (and practiced magic/sleight of hand) but it was clear that several had been done by CGI and other special effects.  The bottom line was that there were some pretty neat tricks throughout the movie, bookeneded by the three separate heists the Horsemen were performing.  The story moved along well, with the action well paced by director Louis Leterrier (Transporter 2, Incredible Hulk, Clash of the Titans 2010) and the casting was pretty good.  Eisenberg, Harrelson, Ruffalo and Laurent (who is one of my favourite actresses) were by far the best in the cast, as Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman had smaller roles.  Isla Fisher was good as well, but did nothing that really “wowed” me, and I’ll say that I enjoyed Dave Franco as much as I enjoy James Franco’s performances…actually the younger Franco brother wasn’t that bad, but also didn’t really do anything to blow me away.  My biggest complaint about the film was the really unnecessary ending that seemed added in to just “Disney” up the film.  There is a slight romantic sub plot that was alright through the film, but I thought the resolution to that plot really took away from several strong characters.

If you watch Now You See Me, be sure to watch the credits because there is an extra scene after the cast listings that clearly sets up for potential sequels.  I chose to watch the film on Blu Ray mainly for the increased special features over the DVD release.  The extended and deleted scenes were fun, but I think I actually liked the alternate finish better than the one the filmmakers went with.  Certainly a fun film overall, but you have to be expecting twists and misdirection going in.


Posted on 13-09-09, in 4 Star, Movie Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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