Now You See Me Review
The saying “now you see me, now you don’t” is synonymous with trickery and magic so it’s not hard to guess the subject of the new film from The Transporter director Louis Leterrier. Admittedly a film about magicians wouldn’t usually get me into the cinema but after watching the action-packed trailer I decided to give it a chance, and I’m glad I did. At times structurally unbalanced and verging on fantasy it may be, but despite this Now You See Me is still an exciting film based on an unusual idea, and these days that’s nothing to be scoffed at.
The story of four solo illusionists who are mysteriously brought together to form an unusual Las Vegas show, it knows how to do an all-star cast. With Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher and Dave Franco taking on the roles of the illusionists, the film also stars Mark Ruffalo and Inglourious Basterds’ Mélanie Laurent as the team trying to catch them. Oh yeah, and there’s also Morgan Freeman as the magician-turned-exposé expert, and Michael Caine as the show’s financier.
Now You See Me starts by showing the illusionists and their individual shows but once a bit of backstory has been revealed, it seems someone decided that was enough, and the relationships between them are rarely revisited or developed further. As a result, the second half leaves the audience feeling little connection to the characters or their success/failure. It’s a real shame as all four of the main actors give good performances and leave you with the impression they could have done so much more given the opportunity.
The beginning of Now You See Me is driven by your desire to know what the ‘conjurers’ are trying to achieve and why, not to mention trying to work out the mechanics of their show. Imagine the complicated set-ups of Ocean’s Eleven and its sequels and you’ll have some idea of what the filmmakers were grasping for. They fall somewhat short but that doesn’t mean you don’t want to keep watching to find out the final outcome. Unfortunately once the storyline starts to drift away from the clever inventions and more towards the fantasy of ‘real magic’ it feels like the film starts to lose its way.
By the end you’re struggling to maintain interest as a car chase is thrown in for no more reason than the fact the director wanted a car chase in the film. It could have been a lot worse though, as Now You See Me is saved by a fairly strong finale (I’m not giving anything away) and it’s just a shame that the second half couldn’t reflect this. All in all, definitely worth a watch, especially if you’re getting sick of all the reboots and sequels that have been dominating the cinema recently. Don’t go in expecting to be absolutely blown away and I guarantee you’ll enjoy it.