Rob’s Review: Now You See Me

Letter Grade:

The Good:

Likable characters
Familiar things done well and with style.

The Bad:

Actors don't have to stretch themselves much.
Beginning of the third act drags a bit.

Cast & Crew:

Writer: Ed Solomon, Boaz Yakin, Edward Ricourt
Director: Louis Leterrier
Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Mélanie Laurent, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine

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

Now You See Me

Now You See Me is a fun movie. There’s nothing terribly groundbreaking about it, but the stuff we’ve seen before is done well and with a good deal of style. There are secrets and intrigue, car chases through the streets of New York, and foot chases through the French Quarter during Mardi Gras. It’s actually kind of a throwback to an older style of movie. (Charade came to mind in the theater, but that’s not a perfect fit.)

, and  play the Four Horsemen, a talented bunch of solo magicians who have been brought together by an unknown third-party to play Robin Hood, robbing the rich and giving to their poor audiences.  and  are the FBI/Interpol agents tasked with ending the Horsemen’s crime spree and  is the former magician turned magic debunker who is also on the Horsemen’s trail.

Now You See Me

We actually don’t spend as much time with the Four Horsemen as you might expect.  They’re largely present in the beginning and end of the film, but in the middle you realize the focus is really much more on Ruffalo and Laurent, the agents tracking them, and in this relationship you also see a bit of a throwback; the enigmatic European teaching the high-strung American to chill out a bit and see the big picture, to appreciate the beauty of the magic around them.  I enjoyed Laurent’s performance the most in the film, but none of the actors are really stretching themselves here. Morgan Freeman is playing Morgan Freeman, Ruffalo is playing Ruffalo, Eisenberg is playing Mark Zuckerberg, and Dave Franco is playing a slightly less stoned James Franco.  They’re cast well, and they work as the characters they’re playing, but there’s not much range on display.  You can also see director Louis Leterrier’s Transporter roots peeking through in the car chases, which isn’t a bad thing when the chases aren’t feature-length.

Now You See Me 3

Midway through the film there are a lot of pennies in the air, and I found myself really hoping that they’d be able to tie all the loose threads together. By the end I thought they had
done an admirable job of that, and in a movie where “Because, Magic!” is a valid excuse the filmmakers really did a good job of showing how all the breadcrumbs they’d dropped along the way fit back together in the overall plan.  My primary complaint about the film would be that towards the beginning of the third act they go pretty far afield from the Four Horsemen, and the pacing suffers from it.  (I’ll move on to the conclusion now because I think I’ve run out of metaphors to mix in here.)

Now You See Me isn’t groundbreaking cinema, but it does familiar things well and with style and with likable characters.  You find yourself rooting for both the cops and the robbers and it left me with a little extra bounce in my step as I left the theater, so I think it’s worth checking out.

Rob Bernard (108 Posts)

Rob is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief, and Techie of Cinedraft. He hated Million Dollar Baby. And is really excited about the Ender’s Game movie. More About Me