Sunday, June 2, 2013

Movie review: Now You See Me

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Danny Ocean, meet your match. Based on the trailers I had seen for this film, I had thought that "Now You See Me" was like Ocean's Eleven but with magicians...and at it is...but it is way more than that. The premise is that four people; J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson), Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher,) and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco); are brought together by a unknown person to form a team of magicians known at The Four Horsemen. Backed by a super-rich benefactor, Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine), they perform a show in Vegas where they manage to rob a bank in Paris (France, not the casino). Of course their heist gets the attention of the FBI and Interpol, so they are investigated by FBI Agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) and Interpol Agent Alma Dray (Melanie Laruent) along with former magician Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman) who has made a living exposing magician's secrets.

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Beyond the obvious story line, there are several sub-stories that at face value don't seem to have much to do with the plot, but at the end you see all those lines come together (sorry, no spoilers!). I had a friend who saw it before me and said that he figured out the ending 30 minutes before, I sure didn't. If anything I figured out part of the ending a mere minutes before, but then I was still left with my jaw open. I did have issues with the camera work, a lot of fast moving shots that from my seat in the front of the theater made me a bit woozy. I think with a better seat further away from the screen would be better. The magic tricks in the film are quite amazing (although I think many of the larger scale ones were digital effects as opposed to actual illusions) but I believe many of the slight-of-hand tricks were genuine and the cast had to be trained to do them on camera.

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Eisenberg's Daniel Atlas has many of the same personality quirks of Eisenberg's portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg in the "Social Network", very controlling and thinks he knows everything and is smarter than everyone else. And in this case he is. Woody Harrelson is hilarious, very sarcastic. The other two Horsemen, I'm not familiar with either but they all play off one another quite well. And you can never go wrong with Morgan Freeman or Michael Caine. This is also the first film I've seen Mark Ruffalo in since "The Avengers", although his character in this film has some similar personality traits to his Bruce Banner, but without the transformation into a green giant with an anger issue.

Overall I loved this film, it's brilliantly written with action and comedy. It's PG-13 but there are several swear words so this isn't for the younger set. If you liked the Oceans films (the newer ones with Clooney and Pitt) then you'll probably enjoy "Now You See Me." Just remember what J. Daniel Atlas says at the very beginning of the film, "The closer you look, the less you see."



4 comments:

  1. Ok you sold me! I love the whole Ocean's Eleven franchise, including the original! And, I'll watch anything with Morgan Freeman. Nice review, thanks for no spoilers!

    http://www.robincharmagne.com/blog
    Saw you on The Collective Blog Hop

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    1. Cool! Let me know what you think after you see it. A lot of the reviews I've seen (beyond my friends) haven't been very good, but I really think that it's getting panned and passed over because of the bigger films out now (Iron Man 3, Star Trek, etc.)

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  2. Not everybody in this cast gets a chance to shine and show what they do best, but at least they try with material like this. Great review Rachel.

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    1. You are right. I mean, Morgan Freeman and Woody Harrelson aren't George Clooney and Brad Pitt, but they are recognizable names. I think any time you have an ensemble that large, and you have some big names included, it can be difficult for the "lesser" names to have their chance to stand out. I think besides the obvious (people stealing money), that's why this film reminded me of the Oceans films. I wouldn't be surprised to find out the writer(s) were influenced by them.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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