Now You See Me Review
I am at a loss for a clever subtitle on this film.
Hey, I can’t be brilliant every day. Just most days. If this movie had sucked I would have had some decent ones like “Now you shouldn’t”, but the fact is I quite enjoyed this film. It’s no Citizen Kane, but it has a lot of the things I enjoy in a film: a complex story, some very engaging characters, and intriguing plot twists. The story is relatively light and it ramps up the hokey-meter as it crosses the finish line, but if all you are going for is entertainment this is the film for you.
This is one of those movies that manages to hide all it’s plot holes behind other plot holes passed off as complex plot twists. In other words, if there is a gaping plot hole dangling they explain it with magic (literally) and don’t really bother to detail how exactly things actually worked. On a different day I might bitch heavily about that, but given the last few movies I have seen have been dismal and the whole premise of this film is magicians who rob banks I am more than willing to let those issues fade under the warm glow of suspension of disbelief.
This will be a short review as movies that I enjoy but have no real draw into (in other words, not science fiction) leave me with not a lot of opinions. Movies that suck or that I feel betrayed me somehow tend to be the longest (cough cough Star Trek cough cough) with movies that I love in a genre that I love being the second longest.
The story. Four street magicians (Jesse Eisenberg-30 Minutes or Less, Zombieland, the Social Network; Dave Franco-Warm Bodies, 21 Jump Street, Fright Night, Zodiac; Woody Harrelson-Zombieland, Natural Born Killers, No Country for Old Men; Isha Fisher-Rango, Wedding Crashers, Rise of the Guardians) are recruited to perform the greatest magic show ever. (Zombieland image courtesy of the Zombie T Shirt category) They each have their individual skills: Merritt (Woody) is the mentalist (and easily the most entertaining character), Daniel (Jesse) is the fast talking card trick guy, Henley (Isla) is the showman (showwoman, I guess), escape artist, and general eye candy, and Jack (Dave) is the young hustler/pickpocket con man. They set up their huge show in Las Vegas with the aid of their benefactor Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine-Children of Men, Dark Knight, the Prestige), a wealthy business tycoon.
During their performance they magically rob a bank in Paris. The FBI is called in headed by Agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo-the Avengers, Shutter Island, Zodiac) and Interpol agent Alma Dray (Mélanie Laurent-Inglorious Basterds, Don’t Worry I’m Fine, the Concert). However, no charges can be leveled unless the FBI wants to admit they believe in magic. They track down TV magician debunker Taddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman-the Shawshank Redemption, Driving Miss Daisy, Glory) and ask him to help but he’d rather pursue his own agenda. At that point it is a crime mystery except the criminals are infinitely more clever than the FBI and spend most of the movie making them look like fools. Twists are twisted, some tricks are revealed, and in general a good time is had by all.
Generally a fun, interesting story. Two stars. All the characters were great, especially Woody’s. One star. I like a movie where it is OK to root for the criminal. One star. Acting was good. One star. I thought I had the plot twist figured out early, but instead it was something else that caught me completely off guard. One star. The writers of this movie expect most of the audience to at least have a triple digit IQ, which I appreciate. One star. Two bonus stars for not being a waste of my time. Total: nine stars.
The black holes:
This film definitely put suspension of disbelief through a workout, and if you let yourself really think about it you realize there is no way they could have planed for all this. One black hole. In the last half of the film this film wandered very close to the border of “magic is real” hokeyness and in the last 10 minutes sneaked under the wire without actually doing anything. One black hole. While this film was fun and interesting, it wasn’t terribly exciting. Lots of time spent on making it look cool and polished without increasing my heart rate. One black hole. Total: three black holes.
A grand total of six stars, a very credible score. Worth seeing if you just want some good old fashioned entertainment. Date movie? Yes if you have no alternative. There is nothing here to really turn her on (unless she is turned on by stage magicians, which is actually a whole other set of problems) and the two guys are hipster dreamboats, so you could lose in the comparison. On the other hand nothing here will turn her off. Bathroom break? The convoluted nature of this story means if you miss two minutes you could be greatly diminished in your understanding of the film. Try to hold it. If you can’t I’d say the airplane scene where everyone is flying to New Orleans. I don’t recommend it though.
Thanks for reading. I still need to write up Fast and Furious and will see Hangover 3 tomorrow. Lo does my cup runneth over. Follow me on Twitter @Nerdkungfu (a friend of mine retweeted my Tweet for my After Earth review and readership shot through the roof. If you happen to be one of my 6 followers please retweet. That would be awesome.). Post comments on this movie or my review here, and if you have any off topic questions or suggestions feel free to email me at email@example.com. Talk to you soon.