Review of "Now You See Me (DVD)"

published 01/03/2014 | thedevilinme
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"But where is the movie magic?"

Now You See Me (DVD)

Now You See Me (DVD)

Star – Mark Ruffalo & Jessie Eisenburg
Genre – Action
Run Time – 115 minutes
Certificate – PG13
Country – USA
Amazon – £6.99 DVD (£10.00 Blue Ray)
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Did you know those swanky Las Vegas hotels deliberately exclude mirrors from the casino floors as they want you to feel like James Bond or Elizabeth Taylor when you enter. What they don’t want you to do is catch a glimpse of yourself after a few free drinks, the reality of a double chin, an unfortunate profile and a spare tire or two (as most Vegas tourists have) not conducive to making you feel good and so blow your money. That deception sums up Now You See Me in so many ways. If you look too close the illusion quickly shatters, the rabbit very much out of the hat at the wrong time.


It’s from director Louis Leterrier, he of the Clash of the Titans, Transporter 2 and The Incredible Hulk, plenty of early warning signs there. But as concept movies go it’s a great idea, magicians doing million dollar bank robberies a fun idea. If they can make the statue of Liberty disappear then why nota vault full of money?

Cast

Jesse Eisenberg ... J. Daniel Atlas
Mark Ruffalo ... Dylan Rhodes
Woody Harrelson ... Merritt McKinney
Isla Fisher ... Henley Reeves
Dave Franco ... Jack Wilder
Mélanie Laurent ... Alma Dray
Morgan Freeman ... Thaddeus Bradley
Michael Caine ... Arthur Tressler
Michael Kelly ... Agent Fuller
Common ... Evans

Plot

Four cock confident and youthful magicians are drawn together in a mysterious dusty room by a series of clues, their quest triggered by an equally mysteriously placed Tarot Card at their place of work. The four are slight of hand guy Jay (Jesse Eisenberg), who knows sexy escapologist Henley (Isla Fisher) from a previous liaison, handsome pickpocket Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) and hypnotist and general hustler Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson)making up the quartet. They didn’t call this meeting but who ever did knows what they want from them.

In the room they are marveled by a laser and light show and some complex blueprints and plans, projected in the centre of the room by a hologram. We discover that the plans are for an outrageous bank robbery, the idea that the four should team up a year from now as ‘The Four Horseman’ stage act and carry out the perfect robbery live on TV from Las Vegas, the bank in question being in France, not the easiest trick to carry off. If they are in Vegas and the bank is in France then how could they possibly rob it?

The heist goes to plan and a pallet full of money vanishes from a sealed bank vault in Paris and so the four are arrested coming off stage in Vegas, the money from the vault raining down on the packed crowd on live TV. The kids are prepared for the grilling to come as part of their plan and chief FBI officer Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) assigned to the case, joined by Pretty and very French Interpol agent Alma Dray (Mélanie Laurent) to cover the European side.

Unable to prove they did it, the four are released on bail but quickly set about planning robbery number two of three, this time twice as outrageous, which accelerates the hype for their next show in New Orleans, their rich businessman backer Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine) all very excited with the turn of events as the sponsors and TV money roles in.

The number one suspect for helping the gang is magician and physic debunker Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman), an unlikely alibi. His job is to expose magician’s tricks and make their lives difficult and so hardly an ideal suspect. But Officer Rhodes needs a lead as the second show nears and Thaddeus is the best they have. And when the next trick works and even more money is magiced away and the gang escape it becomes obvious the magicians are indeed the smartest people in the room and the final trick could break the house. But who is planning these elaborate illusions if not the magicians?

Results

Sadly this tries a little too hard to be The Prestige meets Oceans Eleven and ends up The Illusionists (Ed Norton) meets Oceans 13, comfortably the lesser two films. The ending is very silly and it’s almost as if the writers didn’t have one in mind and went with the left over pieces left on the table. The art of this type of smoke and mirrors movie is to make you, the viewer, think you are intelligent by working it out, but you don’t have to work it out because it doesn’t make much sense at any point and becomes giddy nonsense. But it is good silly fun up until then and so the benefit of the doubt given by most who watched it.

The Illusionist, a similar film about deception and magic, is spoilt by using CGI to recreate the magic tricks of the 19th century; the whole point being the film is only authentic if the tricks being done and done for real to catch the wonderment of the time of its Victorian audience. This film has the same problem in that it explains away things with special effects when it should be detailing how the trick is done. That is why The Prestige is so much better than The Illusionist.

The cast are perfectly fine but play it too cocky with briefly clever and snappy dialogue. Although this is not a nuts and bolts action movie with that interesting premise driving things it quickly becomes one as the bolts come undone and bits fall off, rather a shame as it showed some promise early on. It’s not particularly bad or anything and I enjoyed most of it but when you see the twist you will simply say that’s just not on. It would be rather cruel to say it’s a film that will trick stupid people but the narrative certainly feels that way and the twist simply unacceptable in the context of the films narrative.

RATINGS

Imdb.com – 7.3/10.0 (256,765votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 50% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 50%critic’s approval


Special Features


-Now You See Me: Revealed-

Behind the scenes stuff to try and explain how the trick went so wrong


Critics


Daily Telegraph –‘Leterrier handles his camera like a Swingball set. Sleight-of-hand has seldom felt slighter than this’.

Daily Mail –‘ The story moves jauntily toward its destination; the destination, unfortunately, is a disappointing wreck’.

Empire Magazine –‘Magicians as criminals is a marvelous conceit and Louis Leterrier gets a great deal of entertainment out of it, but it can't disguise a weak end with smoke and mirrors.

Needscoffee.com –‘If you look at the film as escapist fare where you just go: 'My brain's off, you got a good cast, you got a good concept, roll with it' -- I think you'll be fine’.


The Standard –‘Like a real magic show, Now You See Me is thoroughly entertaining for the most part, but is ultimately silly and substance less’.

The Mercury –‘Abracadabra! The character development has vanished.

Concrete Playground –‘Ocean's Eleven for Gen-Y; it's a 'pop heist movie' that's more concerned with looking cool than being it.

Urban Cinefile –‘Now You See Me is a picture that lays all of its cards on the table, only to uncover one or two jokers in the pack’.

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Comments on this review

  • danielclark691 published 12/02/2016
    very well reviewed
  • SoadFan published 02/03/2014
    An ok film with a poor ending. Good review x
  • alliewallie published 01/03/2014
    Great review
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Product Information : Now You See Me (DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

Product Details

DVD Region: DVD

Actor(s) (Last name, First name): Freeman, Morgan, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo, Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher

Director(s) (Last name, First name): Louis Leterrier

Video Category: Feature Film

EAN: 5030305516925

Classification: 12 years and over

Production Year: 2012

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