Trying to fall in love with film again.

'Now You See Me' manages to pull a slight of hand on it's viewers

Now You See Me (2013) - IMDbStory 

Four magicians are brought together and form The Four Horsemen who pull off elaborate heists while being tracked down by an FBI agent who will stop at nothing to catch them.

This is one of those stories that only really works when you watch the movie because it sounds ridiculous in abstract, but it works. Due to the "magical" nature of the film, you suspend your disbelief once you start watching which makes the story more fun.

Acting

This movie has a great cast. It stars Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Dave Franco, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman.

If you've seen a lot of his movies you'll know that the role of Daniel Atlas is perfect Jesse Eisenberg. He's a control freak but one that you want to talk to even though you know he'll say something really rude. Essentially he's an asshole, I wouldn't go as far as to call him loveable but he's enigmatic.

Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson and Dave Franco play the rest of the four horsemen and compared to Danny, their characters are less interesting, they make up the rest of the dynamic. Woody's character Meritt McKinney is a mentalist who is the comedic relief character, Dave Franco characters Jack Wilder is a pick-pocket and sleight of hand magician who is also the wildcard of the group (get it, cause his name is WILDer and he uses cards?? I'll stop now). And Isla Fisher plays Henley Reeves, an escape artist who is the heart of the group. There isn't much else to their characters than that.

Mark Ruffalo is the biggest surprise in this movie, the character is very removed from his other characters who are more loveable. Dylan Rhodes is probably my favourite character in the whole movie and definitely the most complex. He's the driving force of the film and because of that, he has the best interactions with other characters, which result in the best moments in the film.

Morgan Freeman plays Thaddeus Bradley, an ex-magician who debunks magic and the second most interesting character, however, there isn't more to his character than what we get. I wish we would've been given more to his motivations as that could have given the movie a lot more depth.

The actors in this movie have a lot of chemistry, especially the four horsemen and because of that, you believe that they would all work together in that capacity. All the seamless character interactions make the movie feel more grounded and realistic. Even though the movie is about magic.

Writing/Direction 

The writing in this movie is clever, the whole movie feels like one big magic trick and I've read reviews saying that is a bad thing. I half agree. A lot of complaints come from the fact that the characters don't have a lot of substance and I agree, they aren't very complex with the exception of Dylan Rhodes. However, in this case, it works because this is a story-driven movie rather than a character-driven one. And while I'm someone who prefers character-driven moves,story-driven ones have a time and a place. This one works, it doesn't require a lot of you the viewer, just your attention. Which I happily gave it because the magic tricks and illusions are really cool.

The plot while pretty simple to follow is quite convoluted if you aren't paying attention. You get a resolution at the end but it didn't feel like a solid and satisfying ending, and while this may have been done to make room for a sequel, it (the sequel) doesn't do much to answer questions (but that's for another review).

The movie was directed by Louis Leterrier who directed both Transporter films, The Incredible Hulk and Clash of the Titans. The one word I would use to describe his filmography is “meh” but this is his best film in my opinion (based on what I’ve seen). It has genuine surprises and likeable characters. It also has solid pacing, the movie is just shy of two hours but feels much shorter than that because there’s so much going on and I was completely invested in what was going on.

CGI/Set Design

The overall look of the movie is very sleek, which makes a lot do sense seeing as it’s a heist movie. And while there is nothing spectacular about the visuals in the movie, it’s still aesthetically pleasing with really good establishing shots and use of location.

There is some CGI used and while it’s pretty noticeable however at no point did it take me out of the film for more than a few seconds, I noticed it but wasn’t distracted by it.

Score/Soundtrack

The score for this movie is amazing. It fits the tone of the movie perfectly. It was composed by one of my favourite composers Brain Tyler and he did a phenomenal job. The score encompasses the feel of the entire movie. It's tense but is also filled with something inherently magical for lack of a better word. I wouldn't go as far as to call the score iconic but it is very memorable and definitely stuck with me. I found myself humming some of the music form the movie while I wrote this review.

Overall Thoughts

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a sweet spot for heist movies. There is something about them that I love and this one is no different. This movie is incredibly entertaining and is very rewatchable. I've seen it a few times and even though I can almost quote certain scenes, I still have a lot of fun when I watch it. While this isn't on my list of top 10 movies, I find that whenever anyone around me wants to watch it I always join in. That being said nothing beats seeing it for the first time (especially that plot twist).  All in all, this isn't a movie to watch if you're looking for complex characters however it does have some pretty cool magic tricks.

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