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Now You See Me (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.
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  1. 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. 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. :)

  2. 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. ...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! :)

  3. 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. 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! :)

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

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


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