Monday, June 10, 2013

Now You See Me - A Two-Minute Movie Review

Now You See Me is an engaging film about a group of magicians, The Four Horsemen, as they’re called, who perform high-concept, impossibly complex, elaborately staged illusions where the audiences walk out with more than they walked in with.  They are Robin Hoods who always seem two steps in front of the cops and their rich targets. The film’s greatest illusion? Making us believe it’s a better film than it is. Don’t get me wrong, I liked Now You See Me. I don’t require all my Ts crossed to like a film. And that’s good, because this one leaves all but the magic and a few shallow details on the cutting room floor.

The Four Horsemen are brought together by a mysterious stranger, but they all seem to have crossed paths at one time or another. The fast-talking J. Daniel Atlas, played by Jesse Eisenberg, has had a fling of sorts with Isla Fisher’s Henley Reeves. Why we’re told that is a mystery, because it doesn’t add anything to the story or even spawn the ex-couple snippiness or flirtations you’d expect. The mentalist, Woody Harrelson’s Merritt McKinney, is the oldest of the four and has issues with Atlas’ need for control. The fourth, Dave Franco’s Jack Wilder, is a small-time street swindler and self-proclaimed Atlas fan. One of Now You See Me’s issues is that it never moves past surface level. The various frictions that occur within the team are introduced and promptly forgotten. They are puppets being pulled by strings, it seems. But when they’re on stage, The Four Horsemen are engaging and entertaining. And it's there when the film is at its best.

Despite not bothering to spend a nanosecond on character development, Now You See Me is a fun enough film. Suspend belief for a moment and you might just think it’s better than it is.

Acting

Solid throughout, but there’s a good deal of actor-for-hire work going on here.

Script

A 50/50 deal. Shallow, but workable.

Now You See Me is rated PG-13.


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