Sunday, June 2, 2013

Now You See Me- review

Now You See Me a caper movie with a good but squandered cast. The writing is pretty weak and the focus is mismanaged.  There is a lot of action, but the shaky camera makes it difficult to watch.  On top of it all, the overall message even seems muddled.  For such an ambitions movie, it’s a mess.

A mysterious benefactor recruits four street magicians with various skills to steal a great deal of money. They form a performance group called the Four Horsemen.  An FBI agent, played by Mark Ruffalo, and an Interpol agent, played by Melanie Laurent, chases them.  While their paths cross, they come to discover the plot is part of something much deeper than simple tricks.  Who is behind these great magic tricks and getting these four together?

As I mentioned before the cast is fairly solid.  Melanie Laurent is really charming and does a fine job playing a red herring.  Mark Ruffalo also does a decent job as a burn out F.B.I. agent attempting to catch the Four Horsemen.  What I don’t understand is why they decided to make Mark Ruffalo the main focus of the story.  In a caper movie I usually want to focus on those doing the caper, not those attempting to catch the criminals.  For another thing, audiences want the crimes to succeed- so why are we following the F.B.I. agent that is trying to foil them?

There is also a matter of the twist ending which is truly stupid.  It wants to be a much more clever movie than it is, but in the end it is just about thieves.  They even make a big preachy speech about what they did to supposedly bring magic to the lives of people and not be about greed. The emotional appeal does not change the fact that the plot is motivated basically by revenge and plays on the mindset that because the victims they steal from are rich, they deserve it.

In fact that is a huge flaw to this story.  You are given so little details about the characters that you really don’t care much when things happen.  There are lots of action scenes that are filmed poorly through a shaky camera. For example, we have interrogation scenes for the Four Horsemen where they only focus on Jesse Eisenberg’s and Woody Harrelson’s characters.  So Isla Fisher and Dave Franco get the short end of the stick.

In short Now You See Me is a bad movie.  It has star power and it has a few fun parts that remind me of seeing some great magic shows as a kid and being super impressed with the illusion of it all.  However, those scenes are very few and far between.  It would be worth a rental for the idea alone but the twist ending will leave a bad taste in your mouth.  If you see it, watch it with a very open mind.

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