Sunday, June 9, 2013

Now You See Me

Plot: Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Merritt (Woody Harrelson), Henley (Isla Fisher), and Jack (Dave Franco) are scrapy young magicians who are recruited to do three big magic shows for a hidden boss. In the first one they rob a bank, and give the money to the audience. FBI Agent Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) tries investigate the bank robbery without being duped by their magic, but he is.  Old time magician turned skeptic Thaddeus (Morgan Freeman) shows up to debunk the young magicians, and Interpol agent Alma Dray (Melanie Laurent) shows up too for no good reason. The 4 magicians run two additional shows despite the FBI's harassment, and at the end nothing is what it seemed -- due to rapidly twisting plot.  [imdb]    [photos]

Review: It starts great. Jesse Eisenberg has power and presence and clever dialog, and the first forty-five minutes are fun and cool.  The art direction and direction of the early tricks is fast paced and theatrical. Overall the first act of The Four Horseman is wonderful, but you probably saw that in the trailer already. After the bank robbery, it turns more and more into a crime drama, and this is not as good.  It is not as much fun to churn though a feasible thriller plot as it is to show tricks.

I like Mark Ruffalo in whatever he is in, and he plays a Columbo-style direct bumbling, but intelligent detective. Woody Harrelson is good too. I am tired of seeing Morgan Freemen, but I suppose he was good too.

When it is fun, it was really fun. The plot twists were cool, but not quite clever enough. The final twist is pretty cool, but why? Why??

There was a sequence in the second show where they explain the tricks they are going to use in the final crime. Good foreshadowing.

Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fischer, Dave Franco, Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freemen

Directed by: Louis Leterrier

Rating: 2.5 stars, 

More: I liked how X's (identity withheld) expression changes when the final twist is revealed. Like Christopher Reeve's bumbling Clark Kent changing into Superman. A disguise more in attitude than in costume.

Even More:  I did not understand the plot twists until I read the synopsis on Wikipedia. After you see the film you should do that too.