I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I feel a tad hypocritical gushing about how much I enjoyed NOW YOU SEE ME even after a second time. The movie strains credibility at almost every turn, but you know what, it’s so freakin’ entertaining and moves at such a frenetic pace that I couldn’t help getting caught up in the fun… Twice! 

Playing like OCEAN’S ELEVEN but with magic, we are introduced to a collection of disparate magicians who are brought together as a team for a purpose larger than each one of them individually. 

Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson), Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher) and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) are as different onstage as magicians as they are offstage as personalities. To say they don’t immediately get along is no surprise, but brought together for a singular purpose, the team gels and manages to stay one step ahead of the law as they pull off a series of elaborate heists disguised as their magical act. 

With a tagline that warns “The closer you look, the less you’ll see,” you know you’re in for a mindscrew that would make Keyser Söze’s head spin. And for me the twists and turns worked. But then again I didn’t overthink any of it, even on my second viewing. 

Some movies are meant to be fun. Popcorn fluff and I never got the sense from this movie that it was trying to be anything more than a roller coaster ride with a lot of smoke and mirrors to confuse the viewer and distract them from any plot holes that might exist. I say “might exist”, because nothing glaring stuck out at me that pulled me out of the movie. 

I guess if I had a gripe, it would be that some of the magic tricks defied logic and are clearly CGI fantasies. That to me is the movies real pitfall. If the illusions were better grounded than the story would have more weight to it and a much bigger and better earned payoff in the end. 

Across the board the entire cast is delightful with the only misstep being Mélanie Laurent who plays Interpol Agent Alma Dray. I found her character inconsistent and distracting, but who knows maybe that was part of the misdirection. 

I promised my readers that I would review movies based on their merit and whether they were worth watching. NOW YOU SEE ME is definitely worth watching, but I suggest switching your brain to a lower setting and just going along for the ride.

MARCH 19, 2014


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