Jennie’s Review: Now You See Me

Letter Grade:

The Good:

The magic & fast paced scenes are fun

The Bad:

Too many aspects revealed in trailers
Not enough magic and surprises

Cast & Crew:

Director: Louis Leterrier
Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Mélanie Laurent, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine

Rated PG-13 for language, some action and sexual content

The movie opens introducing us to the 4 main magicians, Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson), Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher), and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco).  Each magician is out on their own performing their craft in the streets, in shady clubs, or just hustling tourists.  As we are being introduced to them, there is a mysterious hooded individual in each scene.  As all of the introduction scenes wrap up, our main magicians each find a Tarot type card with an address, date, and time on it that has “magically” landed in their possession.  Cut to the aforementioned date and time and the 4 magicians arrive at the mystery location.  As with a lot of professions, a couple of them already know each other, the others know of each other, and they are wondering who has brought them all together.  Cut to a year later, and they are now a team called The Four Horseman and they are performing for huge crowds in Vegas.  Things get a little trickier though when their closing act is robbing a bank.  The rest of the movie flows like a multi layered cat and mouse chase.

The casting really was great.  To be honest, the casting alone was enough to get me through the door.  It seems to be a common opinion on Jesse Eisenberg, that he is too often “playing” himself in his roles.  However, for this movie (like with The Social Network) it not only works, it’s the perfect choice.  The other magicians (even Franco) are believable and good in their roles.  Mark Ruffalo seemed a little forced at the beginning in his role as a very frustrated FBI agent, but he grows on you as the movie goes on.  There was a moment during a fight scene with Franco that I half expected him to turn green and bust out of his costume.  Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine are of course a wonderful addition to any movie, but the most interesting and stand out character is Interpol agent Alma Dray, played beautifully by Mélanie Laurent.  This movie was billed to be about magic, but what it is really about is Ruffalo and Laurent trying to get to the bottom of their case and figuring out who is pulling the strings.  There are fun fight and chase scenes, which seem to be the specialty of director Louis Leterrier, who previously directed the first two Transporter Movies and The Incredible Hulk (Edward Norton edition).

Leterrier’s movie starts out like it’s heading in a Robin Hood sort of direction but ends up more like an Ocean’s movie.  You like the people that are breaking the law, you like the people who are trying to catch them.  You may be rooting against someone for a little bit, but not really.  Every character is more cleaver and successful than anyone you’ll ever meet.

While the twists throughout the movie, and especially towards the end, made me feel better about the movie as a whole, it didn’t really go far enough.  I was looking for a huge WOW at the end of this movie, and I didn’t get it.  Maybe it’s just me though.  There were several people in the theater with me that seemed to be genuinely shocked by the twists and turns by their audible gasping.  I believe what really made this movie fall short for me was that the trailers gave too much away.  Not that they gave away major plot points that ruin the movie, because really they didn’t.  What they did though was show too many of the cool, clever or surprising shots from the film.  There were scenes that would have been so much better had I not seen chunks of it every time I went to the theater or turned on the TV for the last few months.

I generally liked this movie but overall, it left me underwhelmed. It is enjoyable and well executed, but there isn’t anything about it that makes it a movie you need to see right away on the big screen.  Wait for the cheap theater or the when it’s available to stream or rent.

*Photo courtesy of Summit Entertainment 

Jennie Stoddart (24 Posts)

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