Review of "Now You See Me (DVD)"

published 04/02/2015 | Jarisleif
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"Now You See Them"

Now You See Me (2013)

"Now You See Me" is a 2013 thriller film which was directed by Louis Leterrier, who has also directed such films as "Transporter 2" (2005), "The Incredible Hulk" (2008), and "Clash of the Titans" (2010).

Warning: Spoilers will likely be given during this review.


Introduction

The film is 115 minutes in length and stars Jesse Eisenberg ("The Social Network", "Zombieland", "The Village") as J. Daniel Atlas, Woody Harrelson ("Natural Born Killers", "No Country for Old Men", "Cheers") as Merritt McKinney, and Isla Fisher ("Home and Away", "Rango", "Wedding Crashers") as Henley Reeves. The plot for the film reads as follows: An FBI agent and an Interpol detective track a team of illusionists who pull off bank heists during their performances and reward their audiences with the money.


Review

When we first see the main characters, we are treated to what type of magic each one specialises in. Henley (Isla Fisher) is an escapologist, but if you're thinking of Harry Houdini when I say that, think again. The former "Home and Away" star has grown up and looks good in all the right places. Jesse Eisenberg plays Danny Atlas, a self-styled street magician who sees himself as the leader of the group, although I felt that Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson) took on that persona as well. The fourth member of the group is Jack Wilder, played by Dave Franco. I thought Wilder was pretty much based on David Blaine, as both are street magicians and both have a touch of strangeness about them.

Merritt McKinley is brilliantly played by Woody Harrelson. I often think of him as overlooked as far as acting talent goes and I hope he has landed back squarely on his feet with "Now You See Me". I am certain that Harrelson is back in the big time after starring in this film and, most recently, in the TV series, "True Detective", opposite Matthew McConaughey. McKinley is a mentalist that uses his extraordinary talents for his own financial gain by conning the public out of their money by hypnotization. The only thing that I cannot work out about Harrelson lately is how he tries to look like Don Vito Corleone, in that his cheeks look as though they've been stuffed with cotton balls, though that could be a medical condition – I have no idea.

The film boasts a great supporting cast with acting legends Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine both having parts. The duo had a combined age of 154 at the time of filming and have had many decades of experience on the Silver Screen. Their experience shows, too, with both of them playing their roles with confidence. Morgan Freeman's character of Thaddeus Bradley is probably based on the real-life Penn and Teller, who expose magic tricks by telling the audience how they're done, while Arthur Tressler, played by Michael Caine, is a dodgy dealer of insurance that has apparently conned many people out of millions of dollars over the years. It would not be fair to leave out Mark Ruffalo (Dylan Rhodes) and Michael Kelly (Agent Fuller), because although they go through the film barely noticeable, they still provide some good moments. By barely noticeable, I don't mean that you don't see them, I mean that they get on with their roles like labourers in a factory, compared to the guy in the office.

What the self-styled 'Four Horsemen' do here is obviously impossible in real life, but I almost think it would be pretty cool if it could ever happen. Now I've said that, it's going to be very difficult to continue on this train of thought without giving the plot away, but needless to say that it is pure Hollywood trash as far as the storyline goes and its attempt to convince the audience that it is entirely feasible. They say a magician never reveals his secrets, but I think even the great Harry Houdini would have struggled to contain this one.

The visual effects during the film were quite amazing. I really enjoyed the laser shows that the gang put on whenever they were on stage, and it's the little things like that which makes a film stand out amongst others. The special effects, in complete contrast, were not as good. There was a scene involving a police helicopter and it was pretty obvious that it was a model. It's scenes like this that tar an otherwise pretty decent film. In the same scene that encompasses a car chase, I found the CGI a little too much. I have never been a huge fan of CGI anyway as I much prefer films to be natural without the need to blow huge amounts of cash in hiring people to sit at a computer and draw the scenes on a computer. Now I do know that takes a lot of talent but it spoils a film for me when I see something that isn't physically possible, like nearly everything in "Need for Speed", for example. Hollywood's demand for bigger and better is getting a little too ridiculous. I know I've said it before, but make something original for once. I don't want to see the same old rubbish rehashed, and I'm sure that I am not alone on this.

All in all, it was quite an enjoyable film. This was the second time I had seen it and I must admit that I struggled to follow it the first time around. I also struggled to write the review on it, and the word document has been sat in my Cloud for over a year now. It has been two weeks since I laid down notes for writing this review, and I am coming to the end of it, finally! If you like a thriller with plenty of glitz and glamour, "Now You See Me" is going to be a film you will want to see. If the thought crosses your mind that magic is silly, then you probably won't want to bother. I don't think I will ever watch the film again, but that is probably down to having to write the review twice over!


Special Features

A Brief History of Magic – David Kwong (technical director) talks about a few famous magicians of the past with some fleeting shots of scenes from the film. Personally, I would have liked this to have been a bit longer than the eleven minutes or so it ran for.

Audio Commentary with Producer Bobby Cohen and Director Louis Lettelie – I don't bother with commentaries as much as I probably should, but I do like to take a look at a couple of scenes here and there to see what they're talking about.

Deleted Scenes – here we get over 30 minutes of what landed on the cutting room floor. I had to wonder why some certain scenes didn't make the grade, but it was pretty obvious that some of the rest just didn't work. If you like to know what happens in the editing room of a major Hollywood production, this is the feature you need.

Now You See Me Revealed – 15 minutes of interviews with some of the cast is on show here, but quite frankly, there is not a whole lot to keep the average extras viewer interested.

Teaser Trailer – Why bother? You've already seen the film, you don't need a montage of the best bits.

Theatrical Trailer – as above, trailers for the film you have watched or are about to watch, I find, are completely unnecessary.


What the Critics Say

ReelReviews: "It's a little along the same lines as "Ocean's 11" in what it achieves and, like that film, there's plenty of Oscar power among the actors - a combined 15 nominations, to be precise."

Film.com: "The film itself is sly and smug in kind, fleetingly enjoyable for all of its old-school showmanship and high-tech hokiness."

The Hollywood Reporter: "A superficially diverting but substance-free concoction, a would-be thriller as evanescent as a magic trick and one that develops no suspense or rooting interest because the characters possess all the substance of invisible ink."

Boston Globe: "The editing of the action sequences is an insult to the idea of narrative clarity."

NPR: "It's all a little dumb, but the movie boasts several non-CG tricks and a few genuinely mesmerizing set pieces including a hand-to-hand-to-magic combat scene between Ruffalo and the spry Franco."

My rating: 7/10


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Comments on this review

  • eve6kicksass published 21/03/2015
    I never bothered with this one to be honest, but I can't deny it's got a helluva cast. Then again, so did LAST VEGAS. :)
  • danielalong published 10/02/2015
    Vh
  • Georgieex published 07/02/2015
    vh x
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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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Listed on Ciao since: 30/07/2013