Now You See Me is a funny, witty, exciting film about a group of magicians who pull off bank heists during their performances and reward their audiences with money. Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Melanie Laurent, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine, this is a uniquely original film filled with stunning special effects and clever magical illusions. Now You See Me doesn’t have quite the smoothness as The Prestige, Oceans Eleven, or any other magic/illusion/heist film, but does feature enough positive elements to make this movie worth seeing and a great addition to summer movies.
The film begins by showing the four individual magicians who are featured in this film, Daniel Atlas (Eisenberg), Merritt McKinney (Harrelson), Henley Reeves (Fisher), and Jack Wilder (Franco), and gives us a glimpse at their specific talents. After seeing a brief “trick” by each magician, they are each recruited by a man in a grey hoodie, who is later revealed in the end. Flash forward to a year later and our group of magicians is going from venue to venue with a very impressive performance. In the first show we see, the closing act involves picking someone at random from the audience and allowing them to rob their own bank. This is where we see for the first time what this group of magicians is truly capable of, and the audience sees that there is something more at work than just a magic show. Following their performance, the FBI questions the group, and the magicians spend the rest of the movie dealing with the backlash and criticism while continuing to put on the performance of a lifetime.
Melanie Laurent, Morgan Freeman, Mark Ruffalo, and Michael Caine all play important roles in the film as well. Caine plays a rich supporter of the magic group, Ruffalo plays a lead FBI agent, and Laurent plays an Interpol detective working with the FBI. Freeman, however, is a former magician himself and spends his remaining days exposing magicians and uncovering the secrets to how they do their tricks. All of the characters do a good job in the film, and the relationships and interactions between the characters is one of the strong components of this movie. Aside from our characters, the humor, wittiness, awe-inspiring tricks, and exceptional special effects are what carry this film.
Now You See Me is a refreshing, new film in a time when sequels and franchises are all the rage, but it does not have 100% the quality feeling of similar films. Now You See Me starts out extremely strong and is very entertaining throughout, but there are times when you get the feeling something is missing or not all the way complete. There are a lot of illusions and twists in the story, but the film has its ups and downs until concluding in a mediocre ending. Most of the magic tricks are revealed in the movie, which is really cool to see, but the final explanation as to why everything has happened does not quite do the job. It feels as if once everything is finally uncovered, not all of the pieces feel like they fit. Luckily, the film moves very quickly and has enough to offer to easily overlook most flaws.
Watching the film, Now You See Me, is a lot like watching a real magic show, but the illusions go farther than just the performance. Everything that happens in the film seems to build off each other as the magic group works toward a large, final payoff. It is also the kind of movie that seems to feature a mix of typical, parlor magic tricks and illusions, with a sense that some of it is actually real. The film is about 2 hours long, but does not feel like too much. It could also be a great film for most ages as there is little to no language, sex, serious violence, and is fairly easy to follow most of the time. Finally, there are enough familiar, popular actors in this film to make it a box office hit.
Now You See Me is rated PG-13 for language, some action and minor sexual content. Running time is 1 hour and 56 minutes. 3.9 out of 5 stars.
By: Hayden Pittman
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Tags: comedy, Dave Franco, Film, Hayden Pittman, heist, Isla Fisher, Jesse Eisenberg, magic, magician, Mark Ruffalo, Melanie Laurent, Michael Cain, Morgan Freeman, movie review, Now You See Me, trick, Woody Harrelson, youplusdallas