Movie review: Now You See Me (2013) directed by Louis Leterrier

Movie info (from Wikipedia):

Four amateur magicians, J. Daniel “Danny” Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Merritt McKinney

(Woody Harrelson), Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher), and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco), are each singled out and given a tarot card that lead them to the same empty New York City apartment. After breaking in they find information from an unknown benefactor which is supposed to make them rich and famous.

A year later, the four perform their first major performance as the Four Horsemen in an elaborate Las Vegas show funded by insurance magnate Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine). Their final trick appears to transport one of the audience members to the vault of their bank, the Crédit Républicain in Paris. At the magicians’ commands, the fans in the vault activate, drawing the bills into the vents and then showering the Las Vegas crowd with them.

FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo), and Interpol agent Alma Dray (Melanie Laurent), are to be partnered and investigate the Horsemen and their money tricks. The two question the magicians but have no evidence to hold them. Dylan and Alma turn to Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman), a former magician who now helps to explain the tricks behind other magic acts. Dylan, Alma, and Thaddeus follow the Horsemen to their next show in New Orleans, where their final trick consists of  transferring millions of dollars from Tressler’s private accounts to those in the audience. Will the police manage to stop the Horsemen and send them to jail this time?

My impressions:

It was a very shallow movie, entertaining perhaps but nevertheless lacking any inner logic or sense. Yes, the magic tricks liberally sprinkled with visual confetti — Steadicam spins, lens flares, CGI trick shots – were scenic enough to keep me watching but I couldn’t help snorting from time to time and it was not a happy laughter, far from it.

The plot was neither here nor there. FBI agents and one female Interpol agent, thrown in to be an arm candy, were behaving like drunk clowns who have forgotten their lines. Various plot points were insufficiently resolved at the film’s conclusion, leaving some questions unanswered or answered unclearly; maybe it was due to shoddy script or maybe it was deliberate, who cares. Forget about the Bechdel test – two ladies, the illusionist and the cop – had nothing to say to each other, nothing whatsoever. They were busy with their respectful careers and perhaps also love lives. Oups, wait…women might have careers but they are completely superficial so…yeah, love lives should be put on the first place.

Overall the characters were thinly sketched and had nothing to say, no matter male or female, and without sound psychology the film seemed a meaningless explosion of fireworks – entertaining for a few seconds but leaving a bitter aftertaste.

Final verdict:

A a razzle-dazzle fantasy for avid fans of Ocean’s 11 (and its sequels). Personally I think I am going to be too busy to be tempted by Now You See Me 2 which was released this year.

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9 Responses to Movie review: Now You See Me (2013) directed by Louis Leterrier

  1. blodeuedd says:

    Why did they make a second one? This one suucked

  2. Carole Rae says:

    Sometimes movies like these are good to watch when you don’t feel like thinking and just want something to visual keep you distracted.

  3. heidenkind says:

    I never even heard of the original, but the sequel got a ton of promotion. Perhaps it transcends its forebear?

  4. Melfka says:

    I enjoyed it. Sure, it’s shallow, but the concept was fresh enough compared to “You killed my family, so this is my reeeeeveeeeengeeeeeeee!” movies out there. Sure, this one is kind of about the revenge too, but at least there’s something more to it (I didn’t expect much logic in it, I guess).
    I guess to me it was like a movie pizza: yummy, but not necessarily very healthy.

    • The concept was fresh but after half an hour it became less so…revenge it was, not personal but still. ‘A pizza movie’ works for me fine – actually you give me an idea of a new movie rating on this blog. ‘Pizza’ or ‘hamburger’ might become an equivalent of ‘meh’ button.

      • Melfka says:

        Heh. I’m not sure if it should replace the meh button. I’d say some pizza movies or books might still be “meh” (like a pizza that you wanted to be yummy and be your guilty pleasure, but it turned out burnt and tasteless).

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