My girlfriend often says the main problem with Hollywood (among many) is that it seems to have a skill to bury interesting thoughts. Screenplay writers, directors, and producers base their films on fresh and intriguing ideas; however, by the end of almost any modern movie, they become completely exhausted and the audience can always predict the finale. The recent blockbuster “Now You See Me” is an exact illustration of my girlfriend’s thesis—I think she should write movie reviews instead of me when I am getting too lazy. It is not a bad movie, but personally I do not share the common excitement of other reviewers about it.
“Now You See Me” was filmed by Louis Leterrier in 2013, and gathered $117.7 million at the US box office. The main characters are played by Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Mark Ruffalo, Melanie Laurent, Dave Franco, and others. Besides them, one of my favorite Hollywood actors—Morgan Freeman—has also starred in “Now You See Me,” so I felt content about the actors.
The movie’s plot develops around a group of four professional illusionists, led by so-called Atlas. They use their perfect skills in deceiving and creating illusions to steal money and rob banks. For example, they rob a Paris bank being physically present in Las Vegas, and make a show out of it; or they expose a financial swindler and transfer all his money to the bank accounts of their audience. All this is done by the magnificent Four Riders (as they call themselves) to win a competition, or show, organized by a mysterious stranger; the reward is the initiation into an ancient order that possesses the most advanced secrets of the art of the illusions. In their turn, this group of four is chased by FBI agents (Mark Ruffalo, Melanie Laurent), who want to reveal the illegal activities of the four magicians.
The atmosphere of the film is impressing, especially in the beginning, when it shocks viewers with its novelty. Action scenes, due to the use of illusionists’ tricks, also look impressive. But closer to the middle of the movie the tension weakens, and then simply fades away. The creators of “Now You See Me” managed to intrigue the audience, but failed to sustain it; the finale was predictable, and perhaps, the worst part of the movie. I will not spoil you with the details, but if during watching “Now You See Me” you think “Can it be this guy who gave the magicians all their tasks?” you will most probably not be mistaken. One of the most interesting (at least for me) features—the clues to the tricks performed by the Four Riders—was realized not in its full potential, as many of these clues looked unconvincing.
At the same time, technically the movie is high-class. Fighting scenes with the use of magical tricks and illusions look fabulous; stunts, special effects, and the visual content in general are among one of the aces hidden in this movie’s sleeves. I also enjoyed Morgan Freeman’s play as an actor: for me, he has always been an actor whose acting is extremely pleasant to witness. In fact, “Now You See Me” is a good movie by all criteria except the screenplay, and despite my negative comments about it, I would still recommend it for viewing.
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