Now You See Me
An FBI agent and an Interpol detective track a team of illusionists who pull off bank heists during their performances and reward their audience with the money. —IMDB
As I write this review, I literally JUST got out of the theater, so everything is very fresh in my mind 🙂 The description on IMDB is surprisingly accurate, but it can be difficult to see how all the pieces fit together (kind of the whole theme of the movie, so it’s pretty appropriate).
You have 4 main players (some of those are teams): The magicians, known as the “Four Horsemen”, an FBI/Interpol team investigating the heists (I’ll explain), and the last two players are Thaddeus- a former magician who now makes a living revealing how the tricks of famous illusionists work, and Arthur Tressler, the mega-millionare who funds the shows the Four Horsemen put on.
At the beginning we are introduced to the Horsemen individually, all of them have separate “Careers” (one is merely a pickpocket), and all of them are great at what they do. They receive Tarot cards with different signs on them, and the same meeting place and time. They never see who is pulling the strings, but inside is a projection revealing a set of blueprints to various buildings, and a symbol they take for themselves.
In their first show in Los Vegas a year later, they have an audience member, chosen at random, sign a playing card and take that and his ticket to the show into a “teleporter”, transport him to his bank in Paris, and then they steal the money and release it over the crowd. As this trick is being performed, the money vanishes from the Paris bank.
The FBI and Interpol team up to try and catch them, and as the team continues to perform, they continue to pull of strange feats of magic, which Thaddeus Bradley is determined to debunk and go on to make millions off of his role in tearing through their illusion. The Horsemen, meanwhile, are trying to follow the plans mysteriously set out for them without ever knowing who is pulling the strings.
Woven throughout the story is the tale of a famous magician, something Shrike (I’ve been watching “Hannibal” and that’s the part of the name that struck my memory)- a brilliant illusionist who Thaddeus destroyed first with his practice of debunking magicians. To get his career back, Shrike had himself locked in a safe and thrown into the East River. The safe, and his body, were never found again, but the stories behind how he pulled his famous tricks helps the police figure out how to approach catching the Horsemen.
It’s a PHENOMENAL story, and the main twist at the end LITERALLY had people in the theater clapping and cheering. It is very difficult to predict, I only figured out the ending because I noticed a tiny background detail. While I couldn’t predict the ending exactly, it gave me a good framework of what the twist would be 🙂 Don’t worry, I will post it in the “Fun Trivia” section and make it so you have to click through from the homepage to see. Even then, I won’t tell you anything too specific, just what to watch for.
I haven’t said a lot about how INCREDIBLE the story structure and execution is, so there’s my blurb about it! The writing was phenomenal and the theme of “The closer you are, the less you see” applies to everything in the movie. Even the twist at the end, if you’re in the audience trying to figure it out by looking at little pieces, you’ll never see it coming 🙂
Mark Ruffalo heads the team trying to find the Horsemen, and I’ve always loved his acting, so it’s no surprise I love it here too (my favorite of his are “The Avengers” (duh) and “Just Like Heaven”). With such supporting cast as Woody Harrelson, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Cain, the standard is set and met for great acting!
I was hesitant about Isla Fisher (I’ve loved some of her work and disliked other things, mostly for writing) and Jesse Eisenberg (I left the room when my fam was watching “Social Network” because I was bored out of my skull), but they did a great job. Their performance was natural and fit the story perfectly. If an actor is spacing or not bringing their game consistently, I refer to it as “Seeing the strings”, and there were no strings to be seen here!
Dave Franco (brother of James Franco) plays the youngest of the Horsemen (the pickpocket), and he does an incredible job! I was nervous, I’m no great fan of elder Franco, I think he’s gone stale, but Dave is phenomenal and brings his A-game to the role.
Age Recommendation: 8+
You can really set this wherever you want, it’s not strict. I just set it at 8 because I thought it is an appropriate age to be able to appreciate this film. There is slight cursing, but nothing too bad. No graphic violence, sex, or anything really. The movie is basically “Ocean’s Eleven” with attitude, so it’s all pretty open in the age range.
OK, the IMDB stuff! And we’re starting with the most adorable piece of trivia:
Michael Caine decided, after filming a scene, to take a quick nap in his dressing room. He fell asleep and apparently slept longer than intended- he missed the director calling wrap for the day and the lockdown of the set. He woke to a pitch-black dressing room and wasn’t released until the next day, when a crew member heard him calling for help.
AANNDD… That’s it for the trivia on IMDB. Well, not literally, if you want to see endless lists of who was originally considered for what role, head over to the page for the film!
And now- the tricky thing that I noticed that reveals who is pulling the strings of the whole film (but where I don’t directly say who it is).
I mentioned that woven through the story is this back story of the famous magician something Shrike (I have issues with names, OK?). Well, if you pay very close attention in the film, behind a certain character the word “Shrike” appears- graffiti, printed on old junk and such, and that’s your biggest clue as to who is pulling all the strings. If you want to figure out the movie, look for the word “Shrike”.