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Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Now You See Me : You may wish you didn't

Director : Louis Leterrier
Screenplay : Ed Solomon, Boaz Yakin and Edward Ricourt
Cast :  Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Mélanie Laurent, Morgan Freeman & Michael Caine (OMG!)
Run Time : 115 min

Magic! Ever since the times of Houdini, many seek to entertain the world with magic but only a few succeed. This is what Now You See Me is all about. The trailer showed glimpses of phenomenal tricks, illusions beyond comprehension and with a cast that includes Sir Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman it promised to be a movie that will you keep you on the edge of the seat, guessing how the rabbit came out of the hat.

 First rule of magic:  Always be the smartest guy in the room.
It starts off well, describing the lives of 4 magicians : Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), a young, talented street magician who excels at card tricks and charming young women into his bed. Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson),  a "has-been" mentalist who now earns money by hypnotizing wives and threatening to expose infidel husbands. Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher), an escape artist who is perfect for the role of the magician's assistant. Jack Wilder (Dave Franco), a wannabe magician who isn't very good at magic, but is brilliant at picking both locks and pockets. These 4 seemingly unconnected individuals are all invited to a single location by an anonymous caller that represents a secret society known only as The Eye who are said to be the guardians of  True Magic through the ages. Here, they see blueprints of a scheme so elegant, and so comprehensive that they are lost in its depths. They then embark on a journey to perform magic on the big stages all around America, starting with Las Vegas courtesy of their generous sponsor Arthur Tressler (Sir Michael Caine). It is here that they take on the name "The Four Horsemen". The movie picks up speed at a phenomenal pace going from simple street magic to Bank Robbery in a matter of minutes.

Shit. They can do magic.
As they travel, following orders from The Eye, evading the law and impressing the common people. Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman) follows them around explaining their tricks. It is here that the movie seems to lose the plot. By definition Magic becomes that much less Magical when you explain it. After picking up pace so fluidly in the first half, the movie seems to saturate becoming nothing more than a compilation of fancy light shows.

Both Arthur Tressler and Thaddeus Bradley are outmaneuvered completely as the movie progresses and made to look incompetent. It takes courage to cast Sir Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman and then demolish both their characters completely and this is exactly what Louis has done. Cheers to him, but it seems like a complete waste of their talents. These two are giants in the world of cinema and are capable of incredible versatility and the director seems to have forgotten this fact entirely. When you buy a Ferrari, you expect to drive it at 200 mph, you deserve that much at least. Louis though, decided to leave both his Ferraris in the garage. Somehow, they salvage the movie with a brilliant plot twist that leaves you in shock and awe. The final sequence is grand to say the least and
Bruce, I am God.
looks fantastic  in 3-D.

"Now You See Me" has a really good story-line and sublime special effects. It will impress the casual movie-goer but if you have watched movies like "The Prestige", you will be disappointed.
In the end, it is hard to pin point what went wrong in the movie. It was made beautifully, and had all the ingredients to become a truly great movie but it lost its way somewhere along the way. This, my friends is the difference between a movie about magic and a movie that is Magic.

Quotes :

J. Daniel Atlas: The closer you think you are, the less you'll actually see.

J. Daniel Atlas:   You have what we in the business like to call nothing up your sleeve.  Because if you did it means that you and the FBI and your friends at Interpol actually believe in magic.
Dylan Hobbs:   Can you explain to me how you went from Las Vegas to Paris in three seconds?
J. Daniel Atlas:   What do the kids call it these days ? Oh, magic.


  1. The trailer seemed so promising.Good review and a very nice conclusion there

  2. Good review. Do kinda agree with you on the couldve-been-an-awesome-movie-bit. Predictable 'twist' in the ending. Lots of cliches used in the movie as well. The first half was exceptional!

    1. Yea, I just saw the movie and I agree. Btw kartik, speaking of magic, the last line of your review is just that. Brilliantly put!