Homefront movie
7.25 out of 10
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie
8.75 out of 10
Disney's Frozen movie
10.0 out of 10
Delivery Man movie
6.75 out of 10
8.25 out of 10

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Now You See Me


The Closer You Get, The Less You See

8.5 out of 10 | DVD

Rated: PG-13  Language, some action and sexual content
Release Date: May 31, 2013
Runtime: 1 hour 56 minutes

Director: Louis Leterrier
Writers: Ed Solomon, Boaz Yakin, Edward Ricourt
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Melanie Laurent, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Common

SYNOPSIS:  An FBI agent and an Interpol detective track a team of illusionists who pull off bank heists during their performances and reward their audiences with the money.

REVIEW: Louis Leterrier, known for his breakout directorial debut with Jason Statham's The Transporter and the ambitious but less well received Clash of the Titans reboot, returns after a three year hiatus to bring together a clash of another kind - law enforcement vs. a quartet of thieving magicians. Written by Ed Solomon (Men In Black), Boaz Yakin (Safe), and newcomer scribe Edward Ricourt, Now You See Me combines the thrills of illusion and misdirection with the cat-and-mouse chase of predators and prey.

Magician J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg, 30 Minutes or Less), mentalist Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson, The Hunger Games), escape artist Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher, The Great Gatsby), street entertainer and pick pocket Jack Wilder (Dave Franco, Warm Bodies) are drawn to an apartment in New York City by tarot cards that each finds in their possession. Triggering a mechanism that instructs them with holographic images, the quartet become part of something larger by becoming the Four Horsemen. Sponsored by benefactor Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine, The Dark Knight Rises), the quartet become a huge act in Las Vegas. When their final grand illusion, 'Rob a Bank' delights the audience by raining 3 million Euros on them, the FBI led by agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo, The Avengers) and Interpol agent Alma Dray (Melanie Laurent, Night Train to Lisbon), start their manhunt to get evidence on The Four Horsemen's next heist. As the magicians move on to other cities, Rhodes enlist the help of former magician and current magic rebunker Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman, Oblivion) to help his team. As Atlas and the Four Horsemen stay ahead of the FBI and Interpol at every turn, is there anything anyone can do to stop the Horsemen?

A cross between George Clooney and Brad Pitt's Oceans 11 and Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman's The Prestige, Now You See Me as a film of grand illusion, misdirection, and thievery. Thaddeus explains why agent Rhodes is being played for a fool over and over again by the Horseman, explaining to Rhodes and to the audience the tricks of the trade as he tries to debunk the Horseman's next trick.

Eisenberg plays to his strengths, putting on a character of false bravado and putting on an air of confidence that masks a sense of insecurity. The former popular master mentalist, played by Woody Harrelson, is so cocksure in his abilities that he alienates himself from the rest of the group. Dave Franco plays young upstart street magician and pickpocket Wilder excited to be chosen to be with some of his idols. And finally, the escape artist and illusionist Henley played by Fisher is the final beautiful and capable piece of the puzzle. Michael Caine's Tressler funds the extravaganza, Morgan Freeman's Bradley pulls back the curtains on the illusions, Mark Ruffalo's Rhodes believes in only when he can see, and Melanie Laurent's Alma Dray takes almost everything on faith.

But who is the fifth Horseman? Dray banters around the name Shrike, a magician and illusionist from the 70s who died during one final and fatal illusion. Throughout the film, the audience is guessing as to the fifth Horseman's identity. What is this person's motivation? What drives them to steal money from banks?

Any good magic trick will leave an audience amazed, wondering how the trick took place. Not many of us believe in magic, but the art of illusion and the suspension of disbelief is part of the dying art form of the craft. As street magicians become more popular and magic shows on the Las Vegas strip become less popular, the art of illusion is still paramount. Sometimes the illusion itself is enough, not the mechanics of the trick behind it.

Now You See Me is a carefully crafted illusion, coupled with a cat-and-mouse game between magician and law enforcement. At the end all will be revealed, but the sleight-of-hand of getting there is worth the price of admission.

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