Friday, May 31, 2013
NOW YOU SEE ME reviewed by Pamela Powell
Magic is the art of deception for entertainment value. "Now You See Me" was of questionable entertainment value. With an all-star cast, Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Morgan Freeman, and Isla Fisher, "Now You See Me" took magic to an all new level...robbery. Great concept! All four street magicians were brought together by some unseen "force" to become one cohesive and powerful act. Where? Well, Vegas, of course! Where else? The Four Horsemen, as they were becoming quickly known as, pulled off a bank heist worth millions and didn't keep a penny for themselves. All "proceeds" went to the audience in a shower of dollars or Euros. Now that's good marketing for the next show! And so it went... The police were bewildered, interpol was called in. More targets, more money, more magic. The how's and the why's were the questions of this visually entertaining film.
This was quite the visually stimulating film...Vegas on the silver screen. As the camera encircled the actors, the tilt-a-whirl effect was in full swing. The polished act of the street-smart magicians worked its magic on the audience on and off the screen making you dizzy. Not long into the movie, the buzz kill, Thaddeus Bradley (Freeman), worked his reality on their magic, giving away all their secrets. The federal agents on the case soon realized that they needed Thaddeaus' help to crack this case (or safe) open. And that is where this movie falls short. Thaddeus outs these shysters' shenanigans which takes away all the magic of the film! There was a mystery here. Who brought these four together? What was the purpose of them stealing this money? Who was working for whom? Thaddeaus spoon fed us all the information as we got pulled along. No need in trying to solve the puzzle with small pieces when you have the jumbo sized puzzle pieces! This had a great potential to be a mystery thriller. It gave away too much information as if needing to wrap it all up before it even began.
Jesse Eisenberg's character was by far the most intriguing with his frenetic style and cocky word usage. You had to pay close attention to his fast paced speech to make sure you caught all the essential information. I enjoyed the other characters initial portrayals as they duped and conned their "victims." That was entertaining. As soon as the mystery truly began, that is when the intrigued plummeted. That was so sad to see as this film had so much promise. When the final loose ends were tied up, you had a beautiful, intricate bow perfectly placed upon the package. Although there were some unforeseen twists to the plot, it was relatively predictable. Unfortunately, the unpredictable ones were so unpredictable, they were also unbelievable.
In discussing this film with a friend, I compared it to "Side Effects" only because I think "Side Effects" did it right. You had to solve the puzzle right along with the main character. You were given only bits and pieces of that puzzle; not 70 of the pieces placed perfectly at one time to say "Voila!" The "voila" effect was what "Now You See Me" did. It took all the fun out of a mystery.
As I started this review, I did say it was visually entertaining. It did entertain me. It just didn't satisfy me. "Now You See Me" was a movie that was fluff and fun and nothing more. It's not one I can tell you to rush out and see. I'd wait for the DVD, but if you see it, just sit back and enjoy the spoon feeding.