'Now You See Me': Film Review

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Jesse Eisenberg & Woody Harrelson star in Louis Letterier"s latest film that gives no suspense or rooting interest.

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The cast of characters in this quick-fingered charade consists of hustlers, con artists và tricksters, the chip core group being (despite the fact that one of them is a woman) The Four Horsemen, entertainers so popular that they can draw sell-out crowds in giant arenas. There’s cocky illusionist Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), wise-ass mentalist Merritt (Woody Harrelson), feisty escape artist Henley (Isla Fisher) và scamming pickpocket Jack (Dave Franco). Brought together by an unseen hand with an eye to lớn melding their skills to lớn spectacular effect, the flashy quartet takes lớn the Las Vegas Hilton stage with the announced intention of robbing a bank before the spectators’s eyes.


In a rapid-fire mash-up of high-tech gizmos and flashy showbiz razzmatazz, a randomly selected French audience member dons some futuristic headgear & is teleported to his bank in Paris, whereupon the millions in paper money in a vault there magically rains down on the delighted onlookers. Among those in admiring attendance are august figures of uncertain intent, the show’s financier Tressler (Michael Caine) & Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman), a debunker of magicians’ tricks who discreetly videos the proceedings.

The quality heist naturally attracts the attention of law enforcement, most significantly that of FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) & Interpol officer Alma Dray (Melanie Laurent), whose attitudes và methods are at odds from the outset. The sweaty, antsy Dylan looks like an uncouth bumbler alongside the appealing Frenchwoman and is warned in no uncertain terms by Thaddeus that the group’s next show, in New Orleans, is just a set-up for something else.

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The smart-mouthed script by Ed Solomon, Boaz Yakin and Edward Ricourt challenges the audience to lớn outguess the screenwriters by tossing around such phrases as “targeted deception” và “the closer you look the less you see” & encourages skepticism about the true intentions of the characters. But despite all the frenetic activity onscreen, interest in the participants wanes quickly because all you ever see of these people are fronts, postures they’ve adopted to lớn position themselves in the illusionist world they occupy, which even in this pretend world confines them to lớn cardboard-cutout status that inspires no audience investment.

It’s all about the game, the tricks, with no deeper context or involving motivation other than a vaguely stated impulse for Robin Hood-ish redistribution of wealth. As the Horsemen are not in it purely for profit, almost any catalyst for what they do, however simplistic, would have been helpful. Most plausibly, they could have been playful anarchists or, more provocatively, a deliberately mixed full bộ of anti-big finance and anti-big government types. Most typically, they could have been people with individual grudges they could settle through their joint actions. Most cartoon characters have more backstory than these Horsemen have.

In the absence of anything lớn hang real characterizations upon, the actors at least supply plenty of juice: Eisenberg’s slight-of-hand artist is entertainingly arrogant & obnoxious, Harrelson’s hypnotist is still dealing with an iffy past and Fisher’s escapologist is loaded with chutzpah. Franco’s streetwise, Artful Dodger type remains more on the periphery. Among the alleged good guys, Ruffalo’s eternally frustrated federal investigator would have immediately been dismissed by J. Edgar Hoover over hygiene issues alone. His euro counterpart, Laurent, however, has no such problems, & is responsible for the only measurable amount of warmth the film exudes.

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Letterier, of TransporterClash of the Titans fame, directs as if inspired by The Voice và other performance-oriented big-audience shows, swinging và darting the camera up, down, around và through the action in nearly every shot as if lớn disallow even a moment’s certainty as lớn where one stands in relation lớn the trò chơi of tốc độ chess being enacted in this pretend world. In line with Thaddeus’s compulsion to demystify the Horsemen’s tricks, the filmmakers ultimately reveal how the magicians pull off their stunts (in a combination of “real” magic and, inevitably, CGI). But like most magic acts, the effect is over in a moment và leaves no impact. Now you see this movie, then it’s gone.

Opens: Friday, May 31 (Summit Entertainment)

Production: K/O Paper Products

Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Melanie Laurent, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Jose Garcia, Common, David Warshofsky

Director: Louis Letterier

Screenwriters: Ed Solomon, Boaz Yakin, Edward Ricourt, story by Boaz Yakin, Edward Ricourt