Any movie that is about a group of people pulling off a caper is one that I’ll see 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.
Now You See Me (2013) Film Review
Someone with a carefully concealed identity pulls 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, now known as The Four Horseman, play sold out shows. 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 call all the good twists and turns long before Now You See Me rolls its credits. I don’t even try to think and instead let this be a fun, lighthearted escapist flick; 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”; I have to say, everyone works well together. Isla adds some sparkling personality (much like she does in Confessions of a Shopaholic) and I like Harrelson’s dry humor.
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I don’t think I’m giving anything away by saying this script isn’t all that clever. There’s throwbacks to the various films that come before, and though I don’t know that any doo it “better,” there is a classy sense of “style” here. All of which is because this has a slick stage presence 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 like how the film brings the four protagonists together. It creates mystery and makes us second-guess everyone around them. All the same, the story seems slow-going at first.
Skipping ahead an entire year before the party really gets going is a smart jump, it’s just that ultimately what the script lacks traces back to a lack of good characters. At least there isn’t many characters to sympathize with, something that its competition has (case in point being an earlier reference to The Italian Job).
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.
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You can find Now you See Me digitally on Amazon Video
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 PG13.