Summer movies, amongst the release of superheroes and sci-fi flicks, Now You See Me came across quite differently. A crime heist bundled with magic tricks. I watch this just because of the poster and the ensemble of cast alone!
We met four street magician: The Showman J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), The Mentalist Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson), The Escape Artist Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher), and The Sleight-handed Jack Wilder (Dave Franco). The four was invited by a mysterious order known as The Eye, who gave them a blue print of a grand plan. A year passed, and the four magician become known as the Four Horseman, they are creating a great magic show with the financial back-up from Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine). And their greatest trick that night is that they’re going to rob a bank.
After the robbery has occurred, a skeptical FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) along with interpol rookie Alma Dray (Mélanie Laurent) was assigned to their case and begin the hunt and chase. With ambiguous aide from former magician turned Debunker Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman), the agent tried to catch the magician, is it possible with him constantly two steps behind?
The strength of the film lies in its trickery and its ability to dazzle the audience, immersing them in movie magic itself. It’s a spectacle that is fun to see and highly enjoyable if you are not expecting something like The Prestige just because it involves magician. Now You See Me first and foremost is a subgenre of crime film called caper, that’s known as heist film with a prominent comic element added to it.
As i said previously, I am seriously sold by the cast alone. Of course veteran actor like Morgan Freeman and and Michael Caine are fitting into their uncommon roles nicely. Mark Ruffalo become a hard ass, unlikable agent, but also served as a comic and delivered some of the wittiest line in the movie along with Jesse Eisenberg. Talking about Eisenberg, this is the first time he breaks out from his usual mumbling nerd stereotypes, well the clipped speeches is still there, but he has better hair at least. Both Woody Harrelson and Isla Fisher stood their ground (and props for Ms Fisher to be able to look amazing with the water tank scene, i watched enough ANTM to know how hard it is to look awesome underwater). I like watching Dave Franco here, he did not come across as a douche bag like he usually did in his previous film. I am certainly glad by the younger set of actors as the magicians, it was going for a more senior options (Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jim Carrey, Hugh Grant, Sacha Baron Cohen and Colin Firth were considered for the roles).
This movie is definitely selling its stylishness by bedazzling the audience with trickeries, CGI were used to create the illusions as well as action sequence that will keep you at the edge of your seat (including Dave Franco throwing deck of cards like Gambit). Uniquely, the film has two cinematographer, Larry Fong (Super 8, Sucker Punch, Watchmen) and Mitchell Amundsen (Premium Rush, Transformer series, Wanted), so we can not doubt the visualization would turn this into a high octane film. But the script itself has its strength, especially in witty lines delivered by each character that has its own bite and delivers amusement for the viewers. The result is a thrilling spectacle of the movie, a magic trick delivered by the hand of Louis Leterrier, the director.
Viral pre-release promotion was done in the form of youtube videos of previous real heist cases done presumably involving magician or utilizing magic trickery (1, 2, 3, 4). Their website also has this cool timeline that shown more real-life examples of the cases as well as a feature called The Diamond Heist.
Is the film perfect? no. It has loopholes and plot points that remains unresolved. It defy logic just like magic, but hey, this is still cool movie! A wonderful remix of heist movie, robin hood vigilantism, part (dare i say) Inception, with a dazzling magic-like con. From the start of the movie we’ve been warned, repeatedly, ‘..the more you think you see, the easier it would be to fool you‘. So no need to nitpick, just sit back, relax, and immerse yourself in their magic.
Now You See Me now showing at cinema 21, check their website for schedule of local showing in your cities.