Now You See Me (2013)

September 26, 2013
Now You See Me


Any movie that is about a group of people pulling off a
caper is one that is likely to play in my living room at some point –
especially given how well I’ve enjoyed movies such as The Italian Job. Add in a dash of magic to polish the image and I’m
bound to be “in” – if nothing else, a good night’s worth of entertainment is
involved. 
 

Someone with a carefully concealed identity has pulled
together four street magicians for the purpose of pulling off a con with a resolution
no one can guess. A year after the mysterious summons that brings the four
people together, they are known as The Four Horseman and are playing sold out
shows in some of the most prominent cities – the illusionists are Daniel Atlas (Jesse
Eisenberg), Jack Wilder (Dave Franco), Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher) and Merrit
McKinney (Woody Harrelson). On their final night in Las Vegas, the foursome robs
a bank… all while on stage. This puts them on the FBI’s most wanted list and in
the crosshairs of FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) and Interpol agent Alma
Dray (Mélanie Laurent). It’s time to put their plans in motion… all while trying to remain one step ahead of the authorities.

Anyone who enjoys the Ocean’s
11
movies or something akin to that trilogy will probably peg all the good
twists and turns long before Now You See
Me
rolls its credits. For me, I didn’t even try to think and instead got
immersed in a fun, lighthearted escapist flick – a definition that sums this
story up perfectly; it abides by those rules and aspires to be no more. Let’s
start with the cast. This is an ensemble that really is not “traditional.” Knowing that their characters don’t really
“match” may be a reason to pull together such an interesting group of talent –
and I have to say, everyone worked well together. Isla adds some sparkling
personality (much like she did in Confessions of a Shopaholic) and I liked Harrelson’s dry humor. What you will notice is
the lack of “character” to these fictitious personas. There is little to no
development in that department. Whether or not that will affect your opinion
while viewing this, only each viewer will know however given the concept, it
didn’t bother me. 

I don’t think I’m giving anything away by saying this script
isn’t all that clever. There are throwbacks to the various films that came
before this in the same genre and though I don’t know that any have done it
“better,” there is a classy sense of “style” to this particular film – all of
which is helped on by slick stage presence in all four magician personas and
some “fun” illusions. All of the staging for these events is high-tech and
awesome though the movie’s greatest asset may also be a failing. I liked how
the film brought the four protagonists together – it created mystery and left
us second-guessing everyone around them. The people who each have a role in the
downfall of their ultimate goal or wish to be a ringer in the plans or those are unwilling participants in keeping
up the façade. All the same, the story seemed slow-going at first. Skipping
ahead an entire year before the party really gets going was a smart jump, it’s
just that ultimately what the script lacked traces back to a lack of loveable
characters – or at the very least characters that we can empathize with,
something that its competition has gone far beyond and indeed seems to have a
better grasp on (case in point being an earlier reference to The Italian Job) what it takes to keep audiences engaged.

Now You See Me isn’t
a bad way to spend a couple of hours at all. There are some interesting conversations and perspectives on magic;
it’s just there’s a disconnect in the script’s feeling “warm” or totally connected to its characters
. Still, it’s a movie I’ll be
likely to re-watch again. It’s a particularly satisfying flick for one of
those rainy afternoons. Just don’t overthink it too much. 
 

CONTENT: some minor profanities is present [sh*t,
h*ll, d*mn, plus misuses of God’s name] and there may be one use of the f-word.
There are several sexual innuendoes and some crude comments. As part of their
acts, the magicians lie and fake death; Henley does one particularly “daring”
act that briefly implies she is getting eaten by a flesh-eating fish [the tank
fills red with blood], there is also a “tense” car chase sequence. The film is
rated
PG13.

 

8 Comments

  • Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com

    September 26, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Doesn't sound great. I admit, I think I'm drawn to it because a female is one of the lead illusionist. Thanks for your honest review.

    1. Rissi

      September 27, 2013 at 12:02 am

      Hey, Juju. It was "good," it's just these concepts have all been done time and again. If you think hard enough, the "twist" is obvious. That being said, I'll rent it again and did love the cast – Isla is a fun personality. :)

  • Lizzie

    September 26, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    I didn't enjoy it as much as I hoped I would from the trailer, but it was definitely pretty enjoyable! I'm not sure that I would enjoy watching it as much a second time, knowing the twist makes it a little less exciting.

    1. Rissi

      September 27, 2013 at 12:01 am

      …I totally know what you mean, Lizzie. I'd watch it again same as I have The Italian Job (I've watched that one several times) or the Ocean's trilogy. However, since the "excitement" has deflated, there isn't that same level of mystery. I have to agree.

      Glad you enjoyed it – I did too! :)

  • Sarah

    September 27, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    They really did seem to try hard with this movie, and the big mysterious twist ending made it really stand out, but then I thought the twist was ultimately the downfall as well. Still, I enjoyed this one too, and I agree, it had a fun style to it. Good review!

    1. Rissi

      September 27, 2013 at 11:49 pm

      I liked it, Sarah, really I did. It was fun in an "escapist flick" kind of way (and is probably one I'll even watch again) but it failed royally with its characters – we learned basically NOTHING about them. As a girl who values good character development, that was a disappointment.

      Thanks for reading! :)

  • Raquel

    October 2, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    I wanna see this movie sooo bad! My big bro watched it and said it was really good.

    1. Rissi

      October 3, 2013 at 9:05 pm

      Awesome! Hope you enjoy it, Raquel – have your brother watch it again with you. :)

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