Having seen trailers for this film for a half-year or so, I was very enthusiastic about seeing Now You See Me. Magic, money, bright lights, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine -- that sounds like a winner right there, and when the magicians are the crooks ... I was intrigued.
Four not-so-well-known young magicians are separately recruited for an intricate secret plan. These young people (although Woody Harrelson is only young to someone as old as I am) combine their talents to form a magic act called "The Four Horsemen." In their closing trick in their show, money rains down on the audience, and disappears from a bank in France. The FBI and Interpol are on the case within hours, but can't find any evidence that "magic" actually occurred, or that magicians could rob a bank of millions while on a separate continent. Illusion, misdirection, pick-pocketing and chasing ensue.
I was really, really engaged by the movie, knowing there were going to be some revelations of motive and mastermind somewhere along the way. The cast was lovely, with Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, and Dave Franco as The Four Horsemen; Michael Caine bankrolls the magicians with all the hauteur you'd expect of a clever financier; Morgan Freeman plays a magician-turned-debunker, cashing in on his dissection of other magicians. Mark Ruffalo and Melanie Laurent play the FBI agent and the Interpol agent respectively. There were twists and turns, one-upsmanship around every corner, plenty to look at and second-guess the outcome ...
... And then, at the end, the grand secrets were revealed, and a guy with a broom ambled onto the stage and swept all the stupid denouement into a plastic dustpan and emptied it into a dumpster.
Honestly, I can't remember being so disappointed at a movie's ending before. It was just stupid. What could have been a terrific movie turned out to as dumb as a suspense novel that ends with "and then I woke up."
I won't even bother with this one when it becomes available on Netflix. In the end, I would have spent my 115 minutes of movie time more wisely by playing some Spider Solitaire.
So, there are these four magicians: a girl and two guys and Woody Harrelson. And they are like struggling, noz able to make endzzzz meet, zzzzzzzz.... What? Sorry. Then they are recruited by a rich guy, and so thez become reazzy famouzzzzzzzzz.... Ewww, did I just drool? Sorry. Then Morgan Freeman shows up, and that seems interesting, but then so does a woman who works for Interpol, and shezzz pretty pointlesszzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ... Huh? Oh. Stuff happens, I go to the snack bar hoping for some caffeine, is that the Hulk? Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ... Then finally I wake up. I check my pockets. Twelve dollars is missing from my pockets. A note has been let behind. It says "Now You See Me. Admit One."
In past reviews, especially of sci-fi films with big special effects budgets, I have often suggested that the movie makers cut back just a bit on effects and spend a little to get a decent writer. While Now You See Me is no sci-fi, they took my advice to heart and seemingly carefully pared the movie budget for all departments down to the bones, probably saving more than enough to get themselves a good writer or two, but then the money disappeared! How's that for magic.
I really wasn't much interested in this movie, but I owed Sand for her having sacrificed herself for by going to see Oblivion with me, and if the truth be known, I haven't even dug out of the hole for dragging her to see Skyline, another one of my suggestions, and I will have to admit this movie was not as bad as either of those two. So I still owe her, but not as much.
Now You See Me might have been a clever idea, but it just never materialized. There may have been some good characters there, but you were given no reason to care about them. There may have been an intriguing crime story here, but no, it was handled poorly and ultimately killed with a horrible ending. There was a cast that had potential -- Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Woody Harrelson -- but it was just lipstick on the pig as there was just nothing really for them to do.
This one was not worth the price of admission, and I guarantee you that it will not ever find a spot on my DVD shelf. Man of Steel is next up, and I'm hoping that will not be a super let-down.
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