Saturday, June 29, 2013

REVIEW: Now You See Me

Now You See Me

Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo


May 31, 2013

Louis Letterer

Summit Entertainment (Lionsgate)

1 hour 56 minutes



Magicians are starting to get popular once more with films like 'The Incredible Burt Wonderstone' and TV shows like 'Arrested Development' promptly featuring them as central characters.  While magicians have been protrayed in a more comedic light, very few films have shown them doing things other than little party tricks.  Introduce yourself to 'Now You See Me,' a new action thriller that turns magicians into bank robbers.  The director of this film is Louis Letterer, whose previous works include 'The Incredible Hulk' and 'Clash of The Titans.'  As you can see, it's not the best track record out there, but then again, it also isn't the worst.  This may very well be Letterer's masterpiece, as 'Now You See Me' is exciting, mind-bending, and one of the summer's best movies.

Meet Daniel, Jack, Henley, and Merritt.  These four individuals are all very talented magicians but for four very different reasons.  A year ago, they were just a group of street magicians who didn't even know each other.  Now, they are a ferocious Las Vegas act who are performing tricks that are so amazing that you'd have to look at the bigger picture to understand how they pulled off something so incredible.  All it took for them to become the targets of an FBI investigation was for them to successfully rob a bank in Paris, France and give the money to their audience.  As it turns out, this was only the first of three grand tricks that are being played out on a global scale.  Even when the FBI thinks they're a step ahead, they're always two steps behind the street magicians, who call themselves The Four Horsemen.  And yet, the FBI can't understand exactly WHY The Four Horsemen are robbing banks and individuals and not keeping a single cent for themselves.  It must all be a part of the big trick.

All of the acting in this film is top notch overall.  Jesse Eisenberg and Mark Ruffalo are the two scene stealers as Daniel, the leader of The Four Horseman, and Dylan, the head of the FBI investigation against the magicians respectively.  Woody Harrelson manages to get some solid laughs out as Merritt, and Isla Fisher and Dave Franco also give solid performances.  Michael Caine isn't in the film for very long, but he is good for the small role he has.  Morgan Freeman plays a rival magician whose mission in life is to expose magicians so he can get money, and his voice alone makes his performance, dare I say, magical.  Melanie Laurant and Common play the two "assistants" to Ruffalo, and they too are also really good.  There isn't a single performance in this film that is bad, or even just ok.  The standouts in the film, though, are most definitely Eisenberg and Ruffalo, while everyone is just really good overall.

The thing about magic tricks is that if it doesn't fully succeed, then the audience boos and walks away in disgust.  'Now You See Me' is a magic trick that succeeds on all notes, and for that makes a superb thriller.  The acting is stellar, the special effects look authentic, and some of the magic tricks in this movie are just so damn awesome that it makes you feel even more satisfied when the secret behind the tricks are revealed.  Louis Letterer has crafted a magic movie that is thought provoking and entertaining as hell, and proves that he does have something unique to give to the world as a director. Ed Solomon, Boaz Yakin, Edward Ricourt have written an original magic movie that manages to keep the audience guessing until the final reveal is made. 'Now You See Me' might split audiences depending on how they perceive the film, but I for one had such a fun time and will remember this as one of the best films of the summer by the time 2013 ends.



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