Now You See Me (2013)

Imagine if David Copperfield, David Blaine, and Criss Angel got together to rob a bank. It would never happen.

They are known as The Four Horsemen, and they are made up of four magicians (Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson, and Dave Franco), who have found themselves in some hot water, after being considered suspects in a bank-robbery that occurred in France, while they were taking bunnies out of hats in Las Vegas. However, FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) doesn’t believe this shite and along with his rookie Interpol investigator (Melanie Laurent) and well-known magic debunker (Morgan Freeman), they band together and figure out what is real and what isn’t. But in the world of magic: what you see, isn’t always something you can believe. Or, is it? Who the fuck knows!

Movies about magicians are sort of like real-life ones: they’re interesting in the way that you want to see what they pull off, how they pull it off, and where all the time and effort comes into play. Add that with a whole crime-caper aspect, and you got yourself something that might just be a bit of a winner, in terms of the audience and the box-office. But after awhile, like most magic tricks you see in real life, once the secret is revealed; you believe in certain things, and you don’t believe in others. It’s all a matter of time until the cracks begin to show, and that is exactly what goes down with this movie.

But hey, at least it starts out fine and dandy, for the most part. What was surprising the most about this flick is that how after the first 25 minutes, instead of having all of our attention and eyes locked onto the Horseman, we then find ourselves watching and following the story of the cop who’s trying to figure out just what the hell they did. Some will be surprised, some will be pissed, some will think it’s a clever-way of presenting the twists, and some will just be content. Overall though, it was a smart move on the movie’s part, because it puts us in the dark about what really happened, almost as much as it puts the cop himself in as well.

Like her real-life hubby: she's fucking with everybody.
Like her real-life hubby: she’s fucking with everybody.

Once this part of the story gets going, then things get a bit conventional with the typical, “cops-and-robbers” film that we have seen all of the time, except now: WITH MAGIC! It is interesting to see how these peeps pulled off have of these tricks and what expenses they went to in order to make them happen, but the problem I had the most was that it just didn’t all add up. I’m not one of those guys who gets crazy about a movie that has to deal with sci-fi, the powers that be, or some sort of mystical powers some person might have, because I know it’s all made for the purpose of being somewhat fake and unrealistic, but here; it felt like a cheat. That’s all thanks to Louis Leterrier who doesn’t seem like the type of director I’d trust with this material, since the guy isn’t really known for his smart, tricky moves.

But what the guy is known for, is mainstream film making, and that shows so evidently because of the way he is able to constantly mess with our minds by doing quick-cuts, fast-editing, and non-stop music blasting throughout the whole thing, as if we were at a rave, popped-up on some of the finest X (I could have only wished). By doing all of this, Leterrier is trying to distract us into thinking that everything that is being revealed to the characters and us, is reasonable and believable in a world where magicians are the top, money-makers of the world. As much as it may work on the average, movie-going audience, it did not work on this cynical, d-bag film critic.

Once the reveals are (ahem) revealed, we see what this movie is trying to throw down our throats and trying to make us believe in, but it doesn’t work because not a single bit of it seems like it could have actually happened, real-life or not. The Horseman start off as magicians that can pull off some neat tricks and whatnot, but after awhile, we see that they are more or less a bunch of meticulous planners that knew exactly what they wanted to do, at what time, when, who, where, and how, but it rarely makes sense once we see it all. However, Leterrier isn’t too concerned with that and instead; just wants to entertain the hell out of us with his spastic direction that honestly never seems to take a chill pill. Even when two peeps are just talking, Leterrier seems bored and almost like he needs to get going, or his dosage of ADD meds will ware down and he’ll have to take another five.

And entertained is what we are for the most part, but when the entertainment-value is mostly based on what we believe in, and the tricks the movie plays on us; then it gets a bit sour and unbelievable. I’m usually down for any movie that wants to give us a bunch of twists and not always giving us the right clues to set our minds straight, but it has to be done in an understandable manner, that doesn’t seem just to be used for mind-fucking us. Even the ending itself is a bit of a mind-fuck, if only for the fact that it seems preposterous, even after all of the time that we spent with these characters, this plot, and this heck-of-a-mystery.

At least the ensemble is amazing, right? Well, sort of. Nobody in the cast really sucks the wind out of the movie and brings it down by the antlers, except for Leterrier who seems to have an awesome cast of characters on his plate, yet, doesn’t know what to do with them so instead, just gives them a bunch of two-dimensional characters, lets them play around, and hope that they do the job he was supposed to be doing in the first place. Maybe it’s not such a bad strategy for some directors, but when you have a cast this good and a plot this interesting, you need more, more, more! Come on, Louis!

"See this card? Next second, it won't be there due to our impressive usage of CGI."
“See this card? Next second, it won’t be there due to our impressive usage of CGI.”

Jesse Eisenberg is a good fit as the egotistical, cocky leader of the Four Horseman who obviously seems to know it all and have more confidence on display than we have ever seen from him before; Isla Fisher is sweet, sexy, and sassy as his former-assistant, who seems to be more of the brains of the group, rather than the boobs (although they are as fine as can be); Woody Harrelson seems to be having buckets of fun as the hypnotist of the group, and looks like the only dude out of this cast who was in on the joke; and Dave Franco is still coming up fine in his career, playing the youngest member of the group, with a chip on his shoulder, and plenty of time to learn and think. All are fine together, but since the movie is less concerned with their dynamic, and more about the tricks they pull off; each and every performance seems like a bit of a waste.

And instead, the movie’s more focused on Mark Ruffalo as Dylan Rhodes, our cop for the 2 hours. It doesn’t suck that the movie is based-around Ruffalo’s character and whether or not this dude figures out just what to get done, but it doesn’t help that his character is at least a bit boring. Ruffalo does all that he can with this dude by giving him the scruff, the loosened-tie, and the few sips of a Jack Daniels, but he still isn’t as interesting as you would have liked to see, especially coming from the guy who can make any character he plays worth watching. However, being a lover of Ruffalo, I still have to give the guy credit for at least trying to make this character work, going out of his way, and at least showing some effort. Hell, even if the attraction between him and Laurent doesn’t quite work, at least you want to see them together in the end.

And last, but sure as hell not least, we have the men with the plans: Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman. Together, these two are dynamite and seem to be having the times of their lives just playing-off one another and seeing what they can pull-off next. But even when they are separated and moving on with their own stories, they still seem to be having butt-loads of fun, and really make this movie more entertaining, just with their charm and wit. Obviously Caine gets the shorter-end-of-the-stick with his slightly maniacal character, but nonetheless, the dude still seems to have that sprinkle in his eye that makes you want to give him a big-ass hug.

Consensus: Though it has the ideas and promise that may make any, average moviegoer locked and loaded for a good time, Now You See Me still comes off as a cheat that was made for the sole purpose that it would mess with our minds, yet, not really make much sense by doing so. It would just trick us into being tricked, and leave with our money in it’s hands.

5.5 / 10 = Rental!!

"Okay, I get most of it. But what the hell did he do with the card I originally had?"
“Okay, I get most of it. But what the hell did he do with the card I originally had?”


  1. I fear that a sequel might cook up soon, that, hey, if done right, might be a good thing. This is essentially Magician Avengers, that for some reason, told Nick Fury’s story instead of the actual magicians. Should a next movie come up, let’s hope for better, yeah? Good review, Dan! 🙂

  2. Great review Dan! This is a movie I really want to see still, the trailer looked reasonably interesting, and a pretty decent cast. But I want to see what they do with it. Apparently it did not wow you.

    • It did not wow me, because it just seemed like it was too hard to believe in. Maybe a bit more of that factored in, and everything would have been somewhere near being nice.

    • It’s not something you need to see, but if you do, you’re life won’t suffer from it. You might just be a little ticked, or happy. Whichever one I guess.

  3. My expectations died a little when I saw Leterrier’s name attached to the project, but I will probably still see this for that ensemble cast. Good review, Dan. 🙂

  4. Good review dude. Uggh!! The twist just kills me. . . .

    It sounds like more of the movie’s storyline bothered you a bit more than it did me, but I actually loved what was happening up until about midway through the third and final act. And I totally agree about Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman — they really contributed a lot with their fun-loving nature and well-known personalities (even if it is still easy to picture both of them in The Dark Knight!!!)

  5. I enjoyed the chemistry of the Horsemen, but I wish there was a little more to them. They were written so thinly. The plot does get too messy at the end, but it didn’t bug me that much. Chalk it up to going in with really low expectations.

  6. I must be less cynical then you Dan, because I enjoyed the heck out of this film from start to finish haha. Are the events believable in accordance with real life? Heck no! But they do seem plausible within the movie world? Definitely. At least I think so. I thought everything added up, and in fact, I even felt like they overexplained themselves in a few scenes. Leterrier’s swoopy shots are a bit tiresome and the dialogue has moments of stupidity, I’ll give you that. However after the big reveal at the end, I felt like certain elements of that idiocy was all part of the clever smokescreen that they created to keep your focus off certain details. It was fun, it kept me interested, and most importantly it used misdirection and other magic tricks really well to conceal its true intentions. On that level I thought it was smarter than a typical cops and robbers flick because it was playing into the whole magician theme with its storytelling. Its puckishness actually reminded me of Lucky Number Slevin and its Kansas City Shuffle -You look left and everyone else goes right. Plus it at Morgan Freeman catching some sweet, sweet justice.Anyway, good review sir.

  7. You seem to visit my channel frequently so I thought I’d check out yours. You really didn’t like this movie, huh? I didn’t think it was THAT bad, but I understand why you’re frustrated because at times I was myself.

  8. I came by briefly to see what score you gave it before I went to see it… your rating showed a little more promise than the critics, but sometimes when it comes to movies, nothing anyone says about them will stop me from taking advantage my curiosity when it’s THIS strong.
    After seeing it, I glad I stuck with my gut. I didn’t care that everything didn’t quite add up and, yeah, the “mysticism” explanation was a little out there… but what mattered in the end was that I was flat-out entertained by all the parties involved, especially Mark Ruffalo.
    Loved the 3rd paragraph where you gave us choices about how we’d react to the perspective of the story… for me, I’d have to go with choice c)… after the movie ended and I thought about it, I felt “it was a clever way to present the twists” 😎

  9. Yeah, the premise was definitely more interesting than the final product here. It was fun while it lasted, but after the fact, its effects quickly wear off. Nice review, Dan.

  10. Preposterous is the right description for the ending, which didn’t make sense at all…aliens would have been just as logical 😉

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