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Now You See Me– Movie Review

Submitted by on June 8, 2013 – 10:16 am4 Comments

You’d think there’d be no fun in watching magic tricks in a movie. There’s no surprise or disbelief when the illusionist has any number of CGI tricks up their sleeve and no live audience. But Now You See Me makes its magic look so spectacular, and its action so unpredictable, that it is still wicked fun to watch. Unfortunately, the movie undoes some of this good will by dropping a real stink bomb at the denouement – or the  ”prestige,” if you will.

Before the credits, Now You See Me introduces us to four magicians (Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson, and Dave Franco), ranging from a petty crook to an almost-celebrity. They are mysteriously brought together. A year later, they are headlining in Vegas as The Four Horsemen, and rob a bank during one of their shows. Cynical FBI Agent Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) investigates, but the Horsemen always stay one step ahead of him, his French Interpol partner (Melanie Laurent), their wealthy benefactor (Michael Caine) and the former magician (Morgan Freeman) trying to expose them. As the tricks get bigger, no one knows where it’s all going, why, or who’s behind it.

As I said, the special effects and flashy international locations are all pleasantly outrageous. But the stellar cast offers much more credence to the idea of bank-robbing magicians than should be possible- between Eisenberg, Harrelson, and Ruffalo, the movie sometimes feels like a strangely successful cross between Aaron Sorkin and Brett Ratner.

But then the movie bites off way more than it can chew. As with a magic trick, Now You See Me wants the real action to take place in the absolute last place the audience would ever look. So it chooses the least plausible surprise to reveal. The best magic trick then would have been explaining this choice convincingly – but the movie instead concocts even less plausible explanations for why, and doesn’t even bother trying to explain how.

Did you see Now You See Me? What did you think?

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