Saturday, 6 July 2013


Depressingly, trailers that excite, enthral and show some ingenuity are few and far between in an ever-increasing swirl of sequels, prequels and, to be frank, nonsense green-lit by money-hungry executives rather than memorable-making movie-makers. Of course, if such a trailer does appear, the finished product is never what you crossed your fingers for, hoping against hope for a new favourite film to add to your list.

Now You See Me delivers nearly all of this - which isn't bad considering what a tall order that has proven to be of late for other films. We're told to" watch closely" but warned that the "closer we are, the less we'll see" and to a degree, those words are spot on.

For, you see, if pay close attention and buy into the whole premise and execution of Now You See Me, you really will see less - a lesser great experience as plot holes and too-greater leaps of faith on behalf of the audience are revealed.

Maybe then, this is not a film to sit up and concentrate in then. Right from the beginning, you are not only thrown straight into the proceedings but then given a guided tour of it all for your enlightenment - and enjoyment. Part of the innate charm of the likes of Oceans 11 was its "big reveal." Within its last 20 minutes, you would sit agog as the whole plan and its complicated - and convoluted - execution were revealed through the aid of flashbacks and voice overs. This was after having sat through over an hour of mis-direction and subterfuge.

Here then, there is, in comparison to Clooney and Pitt's escapades, no waiting at all. The first 20 minutes of the film sees a fantastic illusion pulled off infront of a huge crowd which leaves all those watching it - the extras in the film pretending to be punters and the real punters in the cinema watching it alike - open-mouthed. The location, the set and the way the Four Horsemen - Eisenberg, Harrelson, Fisher and Franco - work all of the above is dazzling and, surprisingly, totally believable. It sets the tone for the whole film to come - which is both its strength and its Achilles Heel in the end.

We then are introduced to The Dark Knight reunion of Caine and Freeman who proceed to debunk the whole trick ala Oceans 11 finale and set in motion the whole "cat and mouse" scenario between the Four Horsemen and Ruffalo's strangely "constantly- angry" FBI Agent.

Although this is the backbone of the film, it's the "magic tricks" themselves that become the centre of attention and leave you guessing what the next one will be inbetween the reveals. Freeman tags along to each one, debunking them after each of them to a more-and-more angrier Ruffalo and a grumpier-and-grumpier Caine but its not them that hold your attention. Teaming up again after the excellent Zombieland, Eisenberg and Harrelson are the two stand-outs of the Four Horsemen. Eisenberg seems in trouble as being typecast as the cocky chap (think his The Social Network performance and you're there) but, once again, it's Harrelson who steals the show as the all-grinning, tongue-in-cheek mind-reader.  Fisher is left to be the eye-candy but refreshingly isn't dressed up or treated as such which is a rarity in a big budget, male-heavy film, and Franco comes off as the young wannabe apprentice who looks in awe at Eisenberg and the rest.

What then shows the "hidden card up the sleeve" trick is the films finale. Up until then, all is reasonably explained and, to an extent, reasonably plausible. Reasonably. The film has its rules and the plot and the characters follow them, helping the audience to do the same. However, it's the final "magic trick" and it's execution that asks too much of the audience to suspend disbelief and upon closer inspection, does not hold water. There are far too many variables for it to work and therefore it shouldn't, which, after the first two-thirds of believable excitement, comes as abit of a crushing blow. It ditches its only rules for the sake of spectacle and surprise which dampens both in the end.

A solid piece of entertainment that dazzles in its daring delivery, Now You See Me is a great film let down by its OTT ending and its insistence in asking us to believe in true magic rather than believing in the wonder of being deceived.

UK release date: 03.07.13
Certificate: 12A

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