Review: Now You See Me (2013)

Magic! Twists! Crosses! Double-Crosses! It really is all an illusion: this movie is only pretending to be clever.

I’ll happily suspend disbelief for a magic trick – but that magic trick has to be happening in a world that seems vaguely realistic. The set-pieces and staging don’t look like anything that would actually exist in the physical world – so it’s difficult to go on any kind of ride with the story, or any of its characters (none of whom are likeable).

In fact, I never once feel that any of them is in any real danger, even when one is killed (probably because he’s the least-known actor in the cast, and did I mention I didn’t find any of the characters likeable?). I understand that we’re not supposed to ever be sure who to trust, but we still need someone – anyone – to root for. I ask:

Who are we supposed to root for?

Everyone in this feels like a villain: from our “heroes”, magicians Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher and Dave Franco; the cops on their tail led by Mark Ruffalo; Michael Caine‘s sleazy bazillionaire benefactor / stresspot (I mean, even Nolan can make Caine seem appealing – what’s your excuse, Louis Letterier?); even Morgan Freeman‘s magician detective is unlikeable. Morgan Freeman! Come on, Letterier.

I feel like when directors try to pull a Fincher (dark world full of character twists), they fail because they somehow miss that those characters have to be sympathetic at some point in order for any twist to happen.

Further Viewing

I can’t imagine why you might, but if you like Now You See Me, then you’ll probably love 21 (2008):