Movie Review: NOW YOU SEE ME – 2013

Published by Shah Shahid on

Thrillers are a difficult genre of movie to make.  Right away there is a lot of pressure on the makers to one-up the audience`s intelligence with the suspence, intrigue, ominious overtones, especially if a twist ending is involved. Now things get insurmountbly more difficult if the subject matter of the film itself, involves magic, an area where skepticism and disbleif creates even more pressure to be original. So a movie about Magicians, if not done right, falls into all these pitfalls of expectations and inadequcies that crush the story under its own weight. Such is the case with NOW YOU SEE ME, as I`ll outline in my Movie Review…

Blank Page Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Stars

Now You See Me Jesse Eisenberg Woody Harrelson Isla Fisher Michael Caine Morgan Freeman Dave Franco Mark Ruffalo 2013 Movie Review

NOW YOU SEE ME is a routine Thriller. There`s the anti-hero good guys doing bad things, but for good reasons. The supposed cop good guy trying to catch the anti-heroes, making him the bad guy, but is he really? The smaller supporting characters who are there to drop nuggets of wisdom and vague double meaning dialogue. All revolving around a massive plot with twists and turns to keep you guessing throughout, hoping the answers are satisfactory (Spoiler: They’re not!). There will be tweaks and modifications, but the formula is usually the same, and NOW YOU SEE ME doesn’t disappoint on that front.

The story features a group of misfits with some talent in the art of magic. Jesse Eisenberg plays Daniel Atlas, a charismatic street magician specializing in card tricks and sleight of hand. Isla fisher is the gorgeous escape artist with Woody Harrelson as the Hypnotist and rounding out the crew is Dave Franco, as the common pickpocket and amateur magician. This group is brought together under mysterious circumstances for reasons unknown, to pull off a variety of heists, all under the guise of public magic shows that make them a target for the FBI, namely Agent Rhodes played by Mark Ruffalo.

Now You See Me Jesse Eisenberg Woody Harrelson Isla Fisher Michael Caine Morgan Freeman Dave Franco Mark Ruffalo 2013 Movie Review

it’s a magical crew…

The movie is exciting, riveting and a lot of fun. The magic tricks are pretty cool and have just enough razzle dazzle to subdue the initial skepticism and just be able to enjoy the events unfolding on screen. The introduction to the characters are amazingly done, highlighting each of their talents individually. The pace is robust, never letting up, while the music fuels the excitement. There`s random Parkour fighting scenes, mixed with an adequate car chase, some fireworks (literally) and a lot of glossy style throughout the film. Unfortunately, NOW YOU SEE ME is all style and no substance.

After an exciting set up which takes a lot longer than usual, the motives of the main characters become clouded and unclear by the 2nd half. It’s also at this point where the perspective of the story changes to being from Agent Rhodes’ point of view, focusing on his interaction with his Interpol partner, (a romantic subplot that was completely unnecessary) We rarely see any scenes of the magicians after their daring heists, completely oblivious to the inner workings of their crew or their motivations. It`s almost as if the protagonist and antagonist roles end up being switching during the course of the film. The 4 characters are seen as a tight knit unit in one scene, while friends in another, while bickering in another, and complete strangers in another. There`s no consistency regarding their relationships with each other, which is disappointing given the acting talent between them.

Now You See Me Jesse Eisenberg Woody Harrelson Isla Fisher Michael Caine Morgan Freeman Dave Franco Mark Ruffalo 2013 Movie Review

Freeman… what a waste of talent…

As I mentioned earlier, when doing a movie about Magicians, especially one that is also a heist film, there has to be a certain element of realism that explains the trickery, at least to the audience so as to satisfy the absolutely fantastic scenes that test the suspension of disbelief of any moviegoer. NOW YOU SEE ME completely breezes by this and essentially attempts to leave certain aspects of the story as being fantastical in nature. For example, how do the characters leap off a building into thin air and transform into a pile of money in front of the eyes of everyone? Magic! There’re are a lot of elements of mysticism and unreal magic, that we’re just supposed to accept as being, well… magical. This doesn’t really fly for me.

Given the great ensemble cast, and the really fun subject matter, even the ultimate story twist left a lot to be desired. I’ll avoid Spoilers, but a twist ending that is faceless, nameless and basically ends in the mundane and unexplained, makes the all the preceding scenes completely devoid pointless. Even the set up to the twist is underwhelming and one must be paying very close attention to even be aware of any connection of it to the rest of the story. NOW YOU SEE ME is able to be fun energetic and completely entertaining, while retaining a completely nonsensical aura of illogical competence.

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Shah Shahid

Entertainment Writer | Film & TV Critic | Bollywood Blogger | Host of Split Screen Podcast | Proud Geek Girl Dad


ruth · February 6, 2014 at 9:40 PM

Hi Shah! I gave this the same rating as well, no magical moments at all and it’s actually quite boring. Such a waste of the cast, esp. Woody Harrelson!

    Shah Shahid · February 8, 2014 at 12:54 PM

    Hey Ruthie! Great minds. 😉
    I disagree that it was boring. I had fun. The problem began when I started to think about the plot or story. Then… just ruined. lol.

    I agree about the cast. I expected SO much more from this group.

    Thanks for stopping by…

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