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Movie Review: Now You See Me

By Edited Jul 16, 2016 1 0

Certificate 12A, 115 minutes

Director: Louis Leterrier

Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson

In Now You See Me four magicians of various types are recruited by a mysterious benefactor. They are street magician J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg, American Ultra, The Social Network, Zombieland), mentalist, hypnotist and small time hustler Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson) escapologist and illusionist Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher, Grimsby) and pickpocket and sleight of hand master Jack Wilder (Dave Franco, Bad Neighbours, Bad Neighbours 2, Unfinished Business). Individually, they are struggling and small time, but together they have the potential for so much more.

Fast forward a year and the four are now performing as a magic act called The Four Horseman. Their first show is funded by Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine, Interstellar, Kingsman: The Secret Service, The Dark Knight Rises). As a finale for their act, they rob a bank - in another country - at the same time as they are performing. When it turns out that the bank in question has actually been robbed, FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Marvel Avengers Assemble) is dragged in to investigate, something he does not actually want to do as he thinks the entire thing is ridiculous, along with Interpol Agent Alma Dray (Mélanie Laurent). The Horsemen are arrested but, unless the FBI admits magic is real - something that would make them a laughing stock - they have absolutely nothing to connect the four in Las Vegas to the robbery, or anything to hold them on.

Now You See Me
Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman) is a former professional magician and now a professional debunker who makes his money these days from watching other magicians perform their tricks, and then dissecting how the tricks were done. He was watching the first trick in Las Vegas and the FBI asks for his help in solving the crime. Thaddeus is less than complimentary towards the FBI and considers them idiots who will never figure out what is actually happening.

The entire film basically revolves around the magician's motto of "Misdirection is the key" where the audience - in this case primarily the FBI, but to some extent the film's viewers - have their attention drawn to one thing in order to distract them from what is actually happening - the magic "trick." This constant misdirection means that what the FBI think is important, isn't and what they believe they are looking for, they aren't and results in them constantly being one step behind.

Now You See Me is a crime caper with a bit of a difference. The use of magicians and illusions makes the entire caper a complex, interlocking and finely planned magic trick, that does bear some resemblance to the complex stratagems often seen in the episodes of the old Mission: Impossible television series. There are some twists to the plot but it is possible to figure them out ahead of time, even if sometimes not that much ahead, especially if, as you should be, you are aware that misdirection is playing a large role in the film. Even if you do guess the twists, the whole film is nicely executed. Now You See Me... ...now you don't.
Now You See Me egdcltd 2013-07-04 3.5 0 5
Magic: The Complete Course
Amazon Price: $22.95 $7.14 Buy Now
(price as of Jul 16, 2016)


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