Now You See Me (2013)

Now You See Me

Now you see me. Now you don't. Okay. When a few friends of mine knew that "Now You See Me" is about magicians and stuffs, they asked me, "So what makes it different from, say, Christopher Nolan's 'The Prestige'?". All I could tell them is that "Now You See Me" is a more than just a sort of mysterious, grand magic performances. There's a taste of heist crime in this movie, there's a lot of it. I mean, imagine what will happen if four talented magicians team up to rob a bank. It surely will bother the cops, right?

 SYNOPSIS >  Four magicians or called the Four Horsemen, J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson), Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher), and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco)—funded by a conglomerate Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine)—made a magic stage performance in Las Vegas: robbing a French bank for real. This put agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) from the FBI and Alma Vargas (Mélanie Laurent) from the Interpol to solve the question of how the magicians did that, considering the performance as a criminal case. But, FBI then released them because there’s no evidence. Little did they know that the Four Horsemen will perform another bigger magical-crime show, finally Dylan and Alma teamed up with Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman), an ex-magician—now a magic tricks debunker, to catch them.

Now You See Me
The Four Horsemen, with no horse. Is that Mark Zuckerberg?

 REVIEW >  I admit that I love magic tricks. I mean, more than just watching magic shows (and being fooled by the magician): I love speculating the tricks behind the magic performed. That's why, I put real attention to "Now You See Me". The thing is, if it wants to show us a magic-turned-crime performances, it has to clearly separate magic tricks from wizardry stuffs. Hypnosis, card tricks, mind-reading, illusions, whatever the tricks are; there should always be logical reasons behind them. At some parts of the movie, I think that some of the magic performed were just unimaginable and left unexplained (how could a magician puts off handcuffs from his hands and moves them to the cop's hands in just a single wave?—not to mention that he was being interrogated in FBI's office). I mean, are today's magicians modern enough to perform their tricks anywhere, even off the stage? Are they always prepared with their "magical kits" so they can perform magic even in the most hectic situation?

But I put away those negative things from mind and I successfully enjoyed "Now You See Me". I did, because I lowered my level of excitement to the magic shows, from predicting the magic tricks to just being an average magic watcher. "Now You See Me" is not a crime-flavored magician movie, instead it's a magician-flavored crime movie. It's basically a crime movie; the magic tricks are just the cover. And with this new term I gave, this movie turned to be more and more gripping. The heist was tight, the tricks were mind-blowing (don't care if they're logically acceptable or not), the dialogue was fast, and the atmosphere was hot. Nice adrenaline-pumper, except that your brain is also forced to work due to the magic tricks. Two-hour duration was almost perfectly used to expand the potentially repetitive story into a continuously thrilling, full-of-curiosity journey. Oh, forget to mention: the last minute's twist needs more space, I think. It took me some Google searches to understand the secret of the twist. A bit disappointing, too, actually.

Now You See Me
Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk—I mean, agent Dylan—and Melanie Laurent as agent Alma. The leftmost is Michael Kelly, as Agent Fuller

Camera moved so fast and shaky, sometimes a bit disturbing, made me sick. Scenes changed and edited pretty tightly one by one. It’s so fast-paced that during the movie, you wouldn't have enough time to analyze plot holes whatsoever. You could just absorb the story without filtering it. "Now You See Me" will really fool you. This is the kind of movie that takes extra attention, so please put away your cellphone while watching it. Even you wouldn't have time to check messages on your phone, because the dialogue was massive and the story kept rolling down without pause. If you're not an English-speaking viewer, I bet you'll have a great deal of focus to read the subtitle lines instead of watching the action. But, lucky that in such a tight story, it has fresh comedy to—at least—put you out of the stress. Very nice giggles, thanks to these ice-breaking dialogues. Computer effects and transitions were used often, but not abundantly, and they reasonably supported the theme of magic the movie rose. With the combination of good supporting score, technically "Now You See Me" reached more than just the bottom line of an average crime movie.

"Now You See Me" has a big ensemble of cast. It has four magicians, a rich old man, a magic debunker, two cops, and thousands of extras. And it has a good combination of young and old actors. It's nice that "Now You See Me" didn't try hard to deepen their characteristics one by one. It didn't try to build motives that solidify each characterization. Instead, it kept putting them into such proportions in the plot that finally reveal the "necessity" of each character. It focused on answering the question "what do they for?" instead of "who they are?". Well, at the end, some characters might just disappear with no clear explanation, some suddenly change, and so on. A little bit of romance thingy was not working, too. But, overall, each of them played good. The talky Eisenberg, the dandy Harrelson, the sexy Fisher, the junior Franco, the reckless Ruffalo, the calm Laurent, the fool Caine, and the wise Freeman. No miscast. They nicely fit to their own roles. Thumbs-up for the trio screenwriter (Ed Solomon, Boaz Yakin, Edward Ricourt) for this.

Now You See Me
"I need some new properties for Mr. Bruce Wayne," says Alfred. "Okay," says Lucius Fox.

 CONCLUSION >  This is nice combination of heist crime and magic tricks. "Now You See Me" is the kind of popcorn movie that will excite you so much, but is also prone to plot holes. The more I think about it after watching it, the more I realize the holes and imperfections of it (although I was totally amused with the heist when watching it; this is called "Fridge Logic", thanks to Gio for introducing me to this term). Maybe because when I watched it, I saw it closely; while the movie itself says, "the closer you see, the easier it'll be to fool you." Yes, it successfully fooled me.

Now You See Me3.5 out of 5 stars

 ▲  Tight and fast-paced story, nice performance by the cast, good mix of crime and magic
 ▼  Some magics were a bit logically unacceptable, the ending twist was too rushy

NOW YOU SEE ME | COUNTRY USA YEAR 2013 RATING Rated PG-13 for language, some action, and sexual content RUNTIME 115 min GENRE Crime, Thriller CAST Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco WRITER Ed Solomon (screenplay), Boaz Yakin & Edward Ricourt (story & screenplay) DIRECTOR Louis Leterrier MORE INFO

Akbar Saputra

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  1. Ah learning new term from reading your review! Fridge Logic :D
    Yes, the movie is not perfect, but i think its still fun and fulfilling as entertainment, yeah?
    I agree with you on the rushed ending that still did not explain about the true nature of the eye... i stil cant get over that!

    btw nice blog :D would you exchange link with me?

    1. Yeah I was so excited when I was in the cinema watching it, but the excitement slowly disappear as I went home and re-think the whole plot, LOL.

      Of course, I'll put link to your blog! Thanks for coming :D

  2. yay! will update mine with yours too! salam kenal ya :D
    sering2 mampir~~~ *eh*

  3. I have the same rating as yours. And I agree with the camera movement and shaky makes me dizzy too. I don't really believe in magic, so their tricks as surprising and detailed they created, well just not much to surprise me. I found the twists were too forced, especially in the end. Nice review!

    1. Yep, it's really fast-paced and it left viewers stunned by the magic. Thanks :D