Disclaimer: *mild* spoilers.
Now you see me is 2013 heist film which garnered cult following. The movie is about 4 street magicians; J Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson), Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) and Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher), who come together by the means of a common sponsor who provide them tarot cards with address; they are made to follow a set of instructions which lead to heists before mass audience and FBI. These 4 horsemen are skilled in their respective specialties. Atlas is a playboy whose trick is all about the presentation. Jack Wilder earns a living by tricking people, stealing their money, even then his potential earns him the notice as the sponsor intend to commit heists. Merritt blackmails a man who cheated on his wife with her sister. Amidst all this, Henley is shown as the real showperson by doing a dangerous trick before the audience, earning popularity at the end. These characters are introduced on their respective platforms which says a lot bout their individual personalities. Named as the four horsemen sponsored by Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine), these magicians are chased by FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) and interpol officer Alma Dray (Melanie Laurent) after the first heist which involved the robbing of a french bank. Rhodes and Dray are helped by Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman), a former magician who now earns a living by exposing tricks of other magicians.
This is definitely the best movie of Louis Leterrier, who earned a bad reputation with the remake of Clash of the titans. Leterrier’s direction raised the bar of amusement with every new act that is being presented, whether it is in the four horsemen’s show or the chase sequences. The beginning starts with the introduction of the four horsemen in their acts.
Eisenberg played himself like he always do with rapidness in speech and narrowed eyes, and it worked for the character. Dave Franco did his part well enough to have a strong presence although he looked less impressive compared to his counterparts, and Woody Harrelson delivered his standard performance as he lived his role, Merrit McKinney. The one who stole the show is Mark Ruffalo with his lively portrayal of a frustrated FBI agent going after the horsemen. His facial expressions and mannerisms worked the humor part of his character, my personal favorite is his tone and manner by which he says “What?!”, every time he is fooled by the 4 horsemen. Mark Ruffalo makes this movie what it is, not to mention the character shift adding the enigmatic sparks. Isla Fisher is bright and bubbly in her portrayal of Henley Reeves, making the character likable. Melanie Laurent makes an adorable presence with her astute nature and controlled acting. Michael Caine literally looks, talks and acts the same in every film he’s done since batman begins, and he is no different in this movie. Although he is suitable for his character, at times he is perplexing. Morgan Freeman turned out to be a disappointment, and the lack of proper establishment of his antagonistic presence is the only drawback I can deduce from this flick, hoping better development in the sequel.
The movie is highly panned and criticized for the number of plot holes, especially the final twist. Personally I challenge these criticisms, as a thriller is better if it is more inexplicable than straightforward. The best part of a suspense thriller is the final twist and what, makes the twist even more enthralling is the way it is presented. From the beginning, i.e. when the person wearing the pullover is brought to our notice, we end up analyzing each character trying to make out if he/she is the one. The final twist left me baffled as I didn’t see it coming. This might not be case to everyone though. And, if you watch the movie a third or fourth time, you will notice the buildup to that twist. The film starts with the message “the more you look the less you see” and asks “are you watching closely?”, it is an indirect message for the viewers who keep the searching the potential person who could be the one in the pullover, and also to those who look for the fillers which eventually lead to the resolution. Without giving much away, the four horsemen is following blind obedience in order to join a cult for magicians and there’s a 5th person involved. Again trying not to spoil it, this 5th person is looking for both vengeance and resolution, and whenever the 5th horsemen comes face to face with his nemesis we could see the anger and thirst for revenge in his eyes, which is a major plot development. Then, couple of tricks done by this person is seen and it is presented such that it is not suspected. This 5th horseman is the game maker in this whole ordeal and the only reason backing him is his anger towards injustice created by the rich, the greedy and the jealous. Another criticism is about the involvement of Alma Dray. If analysed closely, Dray is the best and the most noble character in this movie. Thaddeus Bradley explains that the magicians create a scenario to keep the audience distracted and that the real trick is happening somewhere else, and which is exactly what Dray’s involvement is. She is an unintentional distraction for the audience.
The movie became an instant hit owing to it’s unique presentation of the plot, fast pacing, a fine blend of humor and action and intense performances from the cast. By unique, means the structure of the plot where the magic is shown first, then the trick; explaining heist involved in the movie’s plot. Brian Tyler’s music created the celebration mood as well as buildup for the trick which sounded like a puzzle that is waiting to be solved. Another aspect which deserves a shout out is the cinematography, the aerial shots, the angles and the tones created the apt mood, keeping the audience’s attention till the end. The combination of cinematography and editing increased the pacing. The structure might seem confusing for the audience but everything about the film is revealed in pieces throught, and thus there is scope for deeper analysis. The action-packed timing, the humor, chemistry between Ruffalo and Laurent and teamwork by Fisher, Harrelson, Franco and Eisenberg, create the spectacle and awe inspiring scenario. Now you see me is one of the best entertainers of that genre and is worth viewing.
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