Review: Now You See Me

Now You See Me?

I have a few guilty pleasures when it comes to movies sub-genres. Two of them are covered, magic and heists, in Louis Leterrier's Now You See Me. I am a sucker for those damn Ocean's movies, and I could watch movies like The Prestige over and over. Something about learning the big secret, or not, in the end is very appealing in a day and age of everything being spoiled before you walk in the theater.

So combining two guilty pleasures should make easy work to get a emphatic thumbs up from me, right? Well not so fast David Copperfield Now You See Me has some issues but tries to make up for them in wonderment; while I can respect that its still pretty flawed. The general premise of the movie is 4 streetwise low level magicians are recruited by a mysterious person to join together for some unknown reason. Like a standard magic trick there are many knowns, and of course, even more unknowns. In the beginning we are introduced to each magician doing what they do best. We start with J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg) who is a wowing young women with high level card guessing techniques. Next we meet Merritt Osbourne (Woody Harrelson) who fancies himself a mentalist who can hypnotize and "read peoples minds." On a tour boat we meet Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) who seems to specialize in ripping off unsuspecting tourists. Last but certainly not least we meet the charismatic Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher) who does death defying magic in the vein of Houdini. So the gangs all here now its time to get down to business.

Once the crew is fully assembled we see our first major magic scene. The crew (The 4 Horseman as they are known) pull off an elaborate trick and rob a bank in Paris from a stage in Las Vegas. This of course gains the notice of the FBI and Interpol. After this moment we are introduced to Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) who is assigned to the odd theft case. He pursues the group as they hatch two more schemes around the US. To what end is all apart of the major reveal. Needless to say the reveal is satisfying. However, the ride to get to the reveal is somewhat boring in parts. I thought all the scenes when the crew isn't performing magic were relatively mind numbing. I did like Mark Ruffalo's character but thought he could have been a little more over the top. His frantic nature played well against the cool and calm Jesse Eisenberg. I wish Ruffalo would have gone just a tad further. The 4 Horsemen themselves were tolerable and no one really stood out to me. Eisenberg's quick speech pattern and witty banter made for some interesting moments, but his snide comedic moments fell flat. There are also is a significant presence of Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman. However, while they had plenty of screen time they meant very little to the story. Freeman plays a magic debunked named Thaddeus Bradley who is tracking the 4 Horsemen. I couldn't have cared less about his character. He was merely thrown in for a pseudo mid level bad guy.

In the end the movie shows us just what the crew was up to all along and for me those type of scenes are great. However, as I said previously the movie had a lot of boring downtime that just can't be ignored. At a length of 2 hours the movie could have used a serious trimming. At 1 hour and 30 minutes this movie would have been lean enough to really make some impact. I would ultimately say this is the perfect Netflix movie. When you are scrolling through your queue and got nothing else to watch Now You See Me is great. Its not offensive, but you won't finish it and want to have deep conversations about the machinations of that world. This was summer movie filler until the next blockbuster lands.

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