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Now You See Me

Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Common, Mark Ruffalo
Director: Louis Leterrier

When I was a kid, magic shows were a rave. No matter if it was good or very amateur, it was still, as they said magic. There were some good acts I've seen, but I was never really in the amazement that what they're doing was magic. I was one of those people who was watching how they do the trick. The summer brought in one of this year's surprise hits, and it was a movie about magic. Now You See Me plays on a con by using a con by itself: magic. It's a step away from the blockbuster flicks that's on screen, coupled with a cast that I found to be formed in random, bringing in the power of special effects. It's an entertaining flick, but it has to be something you see with an open mind, and just allow yourself to be taken away by the whole concept in order to enjoy it.

The movie starts with four relatively unknown magicians good with their craft. After seeing their acts, a mysterious man calls them together, and a year later, they were known as this magical group, The Four Horsemen. They caught the attention of the public when they robbed a bank, right in the middle of doing a show. FBI agent Dylan Rhodes tries to get at the bottom of it all, especially when the magicians are not doing it for personal gain, which baffles him and the people who are out to get the group.

The trailer and the poster gives off the notion that the magicians are the leads, but they were the antagonists the entire time. They leave the police stunned and baffled with their no-motives motive; there were four people with no personal gain doing all those things that don't benefit them. Even when theories are made about the events, something comes up onscreen that makes you think otherwise. Although there was this factor that ruined the build up because they kept on repeating it over and over without making a significant connection to the flow of the movie. Unless you know the big twist, everyone is a suspect because it seems that everyone could be in the con.

I found the actors involved to be really random, like they were all grabbed from nowhere and were stuffed in the movie. It's the first time that I felt that the casting decision was not ideal, and yet it worked. The magicians certainly had chemistry, from the written material and the actors involved. The writing made it such that they each specialized in a kind of magic/con, so the tricks would not be repetitive. Jesse Eisenberg was the charmer, and his tricks were meant to charm people. Isla Fisher was the daring type, the ex-assistant who would do all those drastic stunts. Woody Harrelson was a hypnotist, who was really good at sealing his work. Of course there is the not-so newcomer Dave Franco, who basically cons people (and was later used as a distraction). Despite Franco's character being more of a conman than a magician, I like how he's finally getting noticed in his movies, even if limited. His entire sequence with Mark Ruffalo was one of my favorite scenes in the movie.Then there's the rest of the cast. Ruffalo's not unfamiliar to the role, but I've seen his police style in other movies. Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine played limited roles, and admitted, not their best (and somewhat forgettable). While I find Melanie Laurent to be a good actress, her story line was the weakest, although she was the one providing the link to the motives.

The movie makes good use of CGI effects, rendering the effects of magic. I liked the tricks they used, as it wasn't ordinary from magic shows, even if everything was a complicated illusion. Con movies are usually so planned and so detailed, with the whole secret meeting kind of set-up, but I found this con to be smart. They were doing a con by using the oldest trick in the book: magic. Magic itself is a con. It's to make you believe that the impossible is actually possible, but there is a trick for it. While it's dazzling with all the special effects (their last trick was amazing), there were a lot of plot holes when it came to the story. 

The movie itself is entertaining, with all its effects. It was fast paced, but with mediocre writing. It has to be viewed with an open mind because if looking through the details, there were a lot to nitpick. While there is word on a sequel, I think they should just stick with the first production. It's a surprise hit, and with the twist already spoiled, I don't know how they're going to make it work. I mean topping the effects in this one is going to be difficult. 

Comments

  1. Good review. It was definitely fun while it lasted, but once that final twist came up, I felt more cheated than actually happy.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! It was fun, but I think it's more of a see-it-once kind of flick.

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