Now You See Me (2013)
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Morgan Freeman
Four of the hottest, up-and-coming illusionists have just been recruited to pull off one of the biggest stunts in the history of magic. They are called “The Four Horsemen”: a sleight of hand magician (Eisenberg), a hypnotist (Harrelson), a pickpocket (Dave Franco), and an escape artist (Isla Fisher) – and their first act is to rob a bank in Paris. But, of course, you saw that in the trailer. Certainly that can’t be the premise of the entire film. No, no. The bank job was just the first in a three-part act. After they stole millions of Euros from France, the American FBI is hot on the heels of The Four Horsemen, swearing to bring the tricksters to justice. But their second and third acts would only build upon the first, creating an illusion much grander in terms of illegality than anyone could have imagined. Now, as if a full squad of FBI agents wasn’t enough, throw in a man (Freeman) who has dedicated his life to disproving big-stage magic and revealing their secrets to the world and you’ve got a real mess in store. Just be careful not to look too closely – for the closer you think you are, the less you will actually see.
The Story: “Now You See Me” boasts one of the most complex plots in recent memory, really presenting a story where you better not blink or you’ll surely miss something important. Isn’t that what makes magic so baffling? You’ve got to try to pay such close attention to it if you want to figure out what’s going on that the slightest misdirection or the minutest lapse in attention will throw you way off. That’s, perhaps, the great thing and the very tricky thing about this movie. The story is largely entertaining, but it sometimes feels a little overwhelming and maybe a tad too intricate.
The Acting: The Four Horsemen each present their own unique characters, which are intriguing and, overall, pretty likable. Eisenberg is a bit cocky and, at times, annoying in the lead role, but it’s nothing that will ruin the movie. Ruffalo is good as the lead investigator, but he does have a scene or two with silly dialogue. Morgan Freeman actually has a solid role, unlike his other recent role in “Oblivion,” where it was almost more of a cameo than anything else, and… can you ever really go wrong with a little more Morgan Freeman?
The Genre: On paper, “Now You See Me” should appeal to a large audience. If you’re into magic, this one should keep your attention (including one legitimately jaw-dropping card trick within the first two minutes of the movie). In the past year, there have been a couple heist movies that have flopped hardcore in the box office, but “Now You See Me” is the best heist flick since “The Italian Job.” There’s action, from fist fights to explosions to a high speed chase; there’s suspense; and it’s, as previously mentioned, a great psychological thriller that will keep the motor in your brain going from start to finish.
If you can stay focused practically non-stop, “Now You See Me” will end up being a very rewarding movie to watch. It’s incredibly smart and will keep viewers guessing until the final five minutes of the show. There are enough twists and turns to keep people guessing – and many viewers will probably end up trying to crack the crime themselves. (Bold prediction: Even the sliest of sleuths will probably end up guessing wrong.) The one knock on this movie is that if you zone out for even a couple minutes, there’s a great possibility you’ll be scratching your head at the end wondering what the heck just happened. If you have any sense of morality, it also may become a little difficult to keep track of who’s good and who’s bad. Like, these guys are very talented magicians and they seem like good enough dudes, but… didn’t they just rob a bank? Doesn’t that make them criminals? Other than those small concerns, “Now You See Me” is clever, smart, and fast-paced and is worth a couple hours of your time. It magically appeared in Redboxes nationwide this week, so check it out if you’ve got time. You may also be interested in: “The Prestige” (2006), “The Illusionist” (2006), “The Italian Job” (2003).
Blu-ray bonus features:
– Audio in: English
– Subtitles in: English, Spanish
– No other bonus features available on rental version
Studio: Summit Entertainment
Directed by: Louis Leterrier
Running time: 115 minutes
MPAA rating: PG-13 for “language, some action, and sexual content,” including some innuendo, one very brief glimpse of nude artwork, one moderately-offensive religious reference, and one reference to male anatomy.
Costars: Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Melanie Laurent, Michael Kelly, Michael Caine
Blu-ray release date: September 3, 2013
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