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Movie Review of Now You See Me
The Closer You Look, the Less You See
When four distinctly separate magicians, mentalists and sleight of hand artists are summoned together by a tarot card to an almost-empty apartment in New York, they begin a year-long adventure into magic, mystery and illusion that takes the world by storm. In this epic tale of Robin Hood meets the Prestige, four extraordinary illusionists and propelled to world-wide fame, where they perform feats of incredible magnitude to the delight of their audiences. But more lays beneath the surface, and nothing is really quite what it seems.
With twists at every turn, this movie brings the thrill of magic, the art of observation and luck and true heists to epically new heights, and it leaves the audience wanting more. This movie has been previewed for months with no release date - until now. My wife and I were anxious to see it from the moment we first saw the initial previews, and when we walked into the theater, we were prepared to be disappointed, but we left thrilled, exhilarated and overjoyed by the performance.
Have you Seen "Now You See Me"?
For thousands of years, people have loved the idea of magic. We flock to magic shows in Vegas. We watch Copperfield and Blane with rapt attention. We love the slight of hand of up-close, personal magic, and we love the idea of an illusion so complex that we are left guessing at how it was even possible. We've seen magicians make giant airplanes and elephants disappear. We've watched levitation and slight of hand tricks so fast that they leave our minds spinning, and we continually come back for more. This movie captivates the spirit and the purpose of magic, and differentiates brilliantly the dichotomy between deception born to thrill and excite and tricks that are designed to rip people off.
This movie has something for everybody, from an ancient Egyptian secret society of magicians to the age-old "rob from the rich and give to the poor" aspect made famous by the stories of Robin Hood and his merry band of followers - and everything in between. It has betrayal at it's deepest and darkest and it has the villain who wants nothing more than to expose the truth about some of magic's greatest tricks to the world. It has the police and FBI tracking down the "four horsemen" of magic, attempting to unravel the mysteries of their splendid tricks and bring them to justice, and it leaves the audience guessing at what true justice would actually entail.
You don't know who to root for. You don't know who the good guys are, or who you're naturally supposed to distrust and dislike, and the characters continually amaze and surprise you. This movie has more twists than a maze, and it leaves you wanting more the instant that the final credits start to roll.
This is not a movie that is resolved neatly and tidily at the end. It certainly leaves some questions unanswered, but it resolves enough of them sufficiently to leave you feeling good about the movie-going experience as a whole. It unites the audience and draws them in with a sense of camaraderie and leaves you cheering for these four unlikely allies - even though they actually do commit crimes. They keep none of their winnings for themselves, rather they return them to the people who need it the most - the victims of insurance nightmares, frauds and charlatans who make their living off of the suffering of others.
I thought that the movie was extremely well-cast, and included big names like Woody Harrelson, Morgan Freeman (in a very uncharacteristic role) and Michael Caine. The four horsemen - Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco and Isla Fisher were brilliant together and they were brilliant on their own. This movie claims a cast that came together to create an epic masterpiece that has been unrivaled in recent film releases. The character development was real and believable, and it allowed room for growth and encouraged empathy on the part of the audience.
J Daniel Atlas (played by Jesse Eisenberg) is an illusionist, perfecting up close hand-to-eye magic tricks up close and personal. He is a master performer, but takes his shows mostly on street level, using his abilities to pick up women and hoping for something better.
Henley Reeves (played by Isla Fisher) is an escape artist, gaining notice from escaping unscathed from a box full of flesh-eating piranhas. She was formerly Atlas' assistant (and sometimes lover)
Merritt McKinley (played by Woody Harrelson) is a mentalist who specializes in blackmailing people for money and hypnotizing his marks in spectacular and unexpected fashion.
Newcomer Jack Wilder (played by Dave Franco) idolizes the other three magicians and is thrilled to be given the opportunity to work with all of them. He specializes in up=close illusion as well and often makes his living as a pickpocket while his audience is distracted.
Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman) is the magician that other magicians love to hate. He makes a fortune exposing the tricks and illusions of fellow illusionists and takes pride in unraveling the mystery behind the world' greatest Magic.
Detective Dylan Rhodes is the one unwillingly saddled with the case after the four magicians claim to have successfully robbed a bank in front of a live crowd in Las Vegas. Or is he? He is partnered reluctantly with Alma Dray - a rookie Interpol agent (played by Melanie Laurent) as they continually seem two steps behind the four horsemen - and the magicians pursuing them.
Overall, I think that this movie took a unique and uncommon theme and wrapped it up with dazzling effects, brilliant cinematography and camera direction, coupled it with insanely fast-paced action sequences, included a car chase, explosion and bank heist and packed it up into one tidy package. I fully intend on seeing it more than once in the theater, and have already set a reminder to buy it on Blu-Ray once the DVD is released. This is one of those rare films that splits the genre in half and goes places that most common films fail to breech. It is unique, it is timeless and it is riveting from the opening sequences through to the very end. This movie is definitely one for the collection, and it's a must-see in theaters on the big screen. Grab your popcorn, sip on your soda and sit back and enjoy the ride. It's worth it.
Official Movie Trailer
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Subsequent Viewings Are Betting than the First
Like my favorite movie of all time (Inception), Now You See Me is one of those iconic films that only gets better with repeat viewing. Far from being predictable and boring the second (or third or fourth) time around, re-watching this movie brings viewers a deeper understanding of what's truly happening behind the scenes.
My wife and I purchased the blu ray dvd of Now You See Me as soon as it came out, and enjoyed watching it several times in the following week. This is truly one of those original movies that you can't stop thinking of - even after the playback has ended. I look forward to uncovering even more secrets that are revealed after repeat viewing. This movie is a must have for the collection.