I hope that you watched that trailer because it is a really good run down of the movie. Now You See Me is an action movie from director Louis Leterrier who is known for doing the Transporter movies. The screenplay was a group effort that brought in talents like Ed Solomon who worked on the first Men in Black movie and Boaz Yakin from Remember the Titans. That is quite the staff lineup in my opinion because I enjoyed all of those to movies. The cast is pretty crazy in its own regard with Michael Caine, Mark Ruffalo, and Morgan Freeman playing very interesting roles. What can I say about this movie before I get into the details? You need to pay attention while you watch this movie, not because the story is really complex, but because the magic tricks are pretty damn cool.
The classic tale of Robin Hood. The concept of taking from the rich and giving to the poor has been told and retold over the years. It even predates the very famous story of the merry band of men. The problem with doing that in today’s world is the fact that law enforcement technology has advanced to the point that getting caught is the most probable outcome when doing anything. Having a jet take you to another country is something that will only delay the inevitable if you can even get to that step. What is the only possible way to successfully get away with a crime? You could pull it off in a way that cannot be explained. That is pretty much the concept behind Now You See Me. A group of four magicians are brought together in order to steal some cash. If you are able to do this with a bunch of magic tricks, then there is no way that the FBI can stop you. They can’t prove how you did it and you need proof in order to detain people in the United States. The odd thing is that the magicians aren’t keeping any of the millions of dollars that they are stealing so you can’t pull them in for possession of the stolen money. What you need to wonder about is the motive for the crimes if money is not the goal. People are not so noble as to risk their lives for the sake of helping others. These are street magicians, not superheroes. The bulk of the movie is the chase. We watch the FBI trying to make sense of the illusions around them as they are stuck in race where they are always a few steps behind the competition.
Who here watched The Social Network? Well, I hope that those of you who did watch it enjoyed Jesse Eisenberg’s performance as much as I did. Having said that, I wasn’t really sure where the guy would end up after that role. Fortunately, there was another movie that needed an arrogant guy to take control of an operation. J. Daniel Atlas is the kind of magician that likes to put on a show. Let’s make everything big so that everyone loves me. It almost seems like he is overcompensating for something. The guy is a bit of a control freak, but he is good at what he does. You could consider J. to be the leader of The Four Horsemen, but there really isn’t a clear hierarchy in the group. I only said that because, as a showman, J. leads the performances.
I bet that a lot of you watched Wedding Crashers. Do you remember the crazy girl who had sex with Vince Vaughn? She is back and it doesn’t look like she aged a day. Isla Fisher plays Henley Reeves. Henley used to be J.’s assistant, but some bad blood broke the two up. She because a solo act and excelled as an escape artist. That is a pretty dangerous type of act if you ask me. Henley basically takes on the role of J.’s assistant during their performances. If J. is the leader of The Four Horsemen, then Henley is his right hand woman.
More people should really be talking Woody Harrelson being in this movie. I love this guy as an actor, but everyone is excited about Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Mark Ruffalo. I guess you can’t beat out God, Alfred, and the Hulk. Woody plays Merritt McKinney who is a mentalist. The guy specializes in hypnotism and that probing of the mind stuff that people like to watch on TV. The kind of shows where the guy makes you think he is talking to a dead family member because you are easy to read. Merritt uses his hypnotism to help out The Four Horsemen in a lot of ways. Activating people in crowds to do things like cause distractions and aid in the crimes is a really useful thing.
You know how a lot of famous actors end up getting their friends and family involved in show business? Well, Dave Franco is the little brother of James Franco. Don’t let the connections fool you, this guy is a very underrated actor. Dave plays Jack Wilder. Jack is new to the magic scene and he specializes in sleight of hand. Although, he is quite capable at a few things and I think the name Jack was intended to relate to the fact that he is a jack of all trades. Having said that, he is very skilled at picking locks. Jack’s role in The Four Horsemen was very interesting. He was sort of a side act in the actual shows, but he ends up getting a lot of the action while they are escaping the police.
Do you guys like Morgan Freeman? I don’t even know why I asked that question. If you said no, then you might want to rethink your life. Morgan Freeman plays Thaddeus Bradley. Thaddeus is a former magician spends his life making specials that debunk magicians. Basically, he makes money off of exposing the secret behind the acts. This makes Thaddeus a very key player in catching The Four Horsemen because they need to know how they are doing things in order to catch and detain them.
It always seems like Michael Caine is coming out of retirement for one last movie. I am not complaining. I wish that more actors had half of the talent that this man has. Unfortunately, Mr. Caine doesn’t play a very big role in this movie. Michael Caine plays Arthur Tressler. Arthur is the head of Tressler Insurance and he was responsible for financially backing The Four Horsemen prior to their criminal streak. Things always seem pretty great until you are the victim. Arthur is the one that officially brings Thaddeus Bradley in on the case.
A lot of people jumped on the Mark Ruffalo bandwagon after watching The Avengers. People forget about his role in things like Shutter Island. Oh well, I needed some more Mark Ruffalo in my life. Mark plays Agent Dylan Rhodes. Dylan did not want to be put on this case because the idea of magicians robbing a bank seemed ridiculous to him. Honestly, that was kind of the point. Dylan spends most of his time frustrated because he cannot comprehend what is going on around him, much like the rest of the FBI. That is bad for them because Agent Dylan Rhodes is leading the investigation.
Someone that knows a lot more about French films than I do should vouch for this actress. I have never even heard of Mélanie Laurent before watching this film. Having said that, we see a lot of her in this film. Mélanie plays Alma Drey. Alma is a member of Interpol that gets brought in on the case after the first heist. The first robbery occurred at a French Credit Union. They call her the rookie because she was a desk agent prior to taking on this case. I guess that Interpol wasn’t taking this case very seriously either. Alma spends most of her time helping out Dylan even though they bump heads a lot. Unlike Dylan, Alma believes in a little bit of mystery.
The characters as a whole got some very interesting screen time. We don’t actually see a lot of Michael Caine or The Four Horsemen. One of the complaints that I have about this film is the focus on the FBI’s side of things. That is honestly not a technical critique because it fits in with the style of the film. The story was meant to emphasize magic as it is. Something that is riddled with mystery and we had to see the cops being confused to emphasize that. They did not show the magicians outside of the shows because constantly giving us a behind the scenes of what they were doing would ruin the magic element of the story. It is no fun if you know how it’s done. Having said that, I wanted to see more of the magicians because of the acting talent. Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson were pretty damn funny when they got the chance to be and I needed more of Dave Franco. He really did a lot with his screen time. As far as a technical critique, I did not like the way that they handled the relationship between Dylan and Alma. The part where one is a believer and one is not was fine, but their little romance felt unnecessary and forced. They just met each other and they were constantly butting heads. I don’t understand why Hollywood thinks that you can’t have a man and a woman working together without having them fall in love. It is just stupid at this point.
Overall, I really enjoyed the movie. This is the kind of film that wasn’t trying to be an American classic. It was an action movie with a little bit of mystery thrown in. When you describe it like that, this film did its job pretty well. The magic tricks were very entertaining and I loved the fight scene. There is this fight scene between Dave Franco and Mark Ruffalo that was very well choreographed. It was street fighting mixed with magic and it was a sight to behold. That was probably my favorite part of the movie and it is because of stuff like that, that we needed more Dave Franco. I did mention that the magicians did not get enough screen time, but I will reiterate that it had to be that way. It is something that I could see people complaining about and I will agree that it was a waste of talent. Since this movie is about magic, I should talk about the special effects. They were pretty nice. The cinematography for the tricks used very advanced image projection. You don’t really see that in the world we live in now. The tricks themselves were really cool if you ask me. The effects weren’t ridiculously over the top and I appreciated that.
I found it pretty interesting that they brought in Egyptian mythology for this film. The motive behind the robberies is to join a mysterious organization known as The Eye of Horus. Ancient Egyptian mythology told of a group of people who safeguarded the secrets behind true magic. They used these skills to steal food from the Pharaoh and give it to the slaves. That was an interesting concept and I know that Ancient Aliens will now be referencing this movie sometime in the near future.
Although I did enjoy this movie, it was definitely not perfect. Flashy scenes don’t completely make up for the fact that there was an unnecessary romance and a poor allotment of screen time. I would definitely suggest that you avoid spoilers for this movie at all costs because there is a focus on mystery in this film. A detective movie is no fun if you know who the killer is. On that note, this is a film that I think will not retain much of its value when you watch it multiple times. Morgan Freeman explains most of their tricks along the way because it is an investigation which will take away from the fun during your second viewing. Also, there is a mystery accomplice that is running around during the film and knowing who that is will throw you for a loop. I think that the first time that you watch this will be the best chance to tell whether or not you like it. I am not saying that there is no point in watching it again. When it comes out on DVD, I will definitely watch it again. It just isn’t that movie that you watch thirty times because it is your favorite. Although, I have only seen the movie once and my opinion regarding multiple viewings is speculative. I do think that it is worth the money if you are looking for an action movie. That sounded pretty critical, but I will reiterate that I did enjoy this movie. In fact, it was one of the most exhilarating movie experiences that I have had in quite a while because I really like mysterious stuff. It is a new twist on the heist genre that was desperately needed. There are a lot of movies coming out right now and I think that this is something that you can’t miss out on.