Now You See Me
Directed by Louis Leterrier, 2013
John: There are three types of movies. 1) Thought-provoking ones that often end in an unexpected way to throw the meaning and significance of the theme on the shoulders of the viewer. Think Ingmar Bergman…Felini.
Spanky: We wouldn’t waste our time on these, right John?
John: Then there are 2) Heart-felt movies that have an unexpected symmetry, like Moulin Rouge.
Spanky: You and your daughter are the only two people who liked that. Oh, yeah, and maybe Jay Gatsby.
John: The last type is 3) Plot driven, gimmicky, the-least-expected-person is the culprit, crowd pleaser. Enter Now You See Me. However, movies, themselves, are magic illusions, so I think these are worthy of attention.
This overly-long movie has, not only plot twists, but plays the audience, particularly in respect to Morgan Freeman.
Spanky: Possibly. I know half way through the film I asked myself who I was rooting for and rooting against. Do I want the magicians to get away with their illusions? The cops to grab them (best line in the film is when Eisenberg’s magician character tells the policeman, “To accuse us is to acknowledge that magic exists.”). Or for Morgan Freeman—who has a reality show publicly exposing magicians’ secrets—to tell us how it is all done?
John: And though the second half drags a bit, yours is exactly the conundrum the audience is faced with, and that the rather improbable ending emotionally satisfies.
Spanky: When we saw this, the theater was packed (when was the last time that happened?). And people laughed and applauded in a way that seldom happens any more. Certainly not for the first and second types of movies you mentioned. So even though I felt more cheated than tricked, I have to recommend this as escapist entertainment that does pull a rabbit out of a hat.
Bark, Bark (2 Barks out of 4)
John: Better not to think about this movie later, it is a little improbable. But it has a good cast that allows the director to use them for the requisite misdirection. We go to the theater expecting to be amazed. And this move does that.
Go, Go, Go (3 Go’s out of 4)