Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Case for Seeing Things

Now You See Me is made with a much smaller budget than some of the other films I have seen on a Tuesday evening recently (Pacific Rim, The Wolverine) but despite that, it comes out on top of them for one reason: they are more exciting. 

The pace in Now You See Me is fast and furious, which is a great relief as the story makes close to no sense and, when I looked back on the film, I realised there was not one character that I actually liked (well, I liked Morgan Freeman’s character Thaddeus Bradley, but that is probably just because it is Morgan Freeman).

The story concerns a group of magicians at various stages in their career who are brought together by a mysterious force to enact a series of daring acts that bring them to the attention of the FBI and Interpol. 

The FBI apparently consists of one terribly inept and continually angry agent Dylan Rhodes, (played by the normally pleasant Mark Ruffalo), and a large building filled with people who have no initiative nor responsibilities.  Interpol comes in the guise of a beautiful French woman (the amazing Melanie Laurent from Inglorious Basterds) who has no influence, jurisdiction, drive or even character, though does seem a useful way to get some plot exposition and provide a bit of eye candy.

The lawmakers are up against the lawbreakers of Isla Fisher (charming), Woody Harrelson (charmingly annoying), Jesse Eisenberg (annoying – which seems to be the only thing he can play, so its lucky so many movies need people of this type) and Dave Franco as the foil.  We kind of follow these people too, but not really, and then we move back to the perpetually perplexed police. 

And that movement is relentless.  There is lots of racing around (both of the camera and of the actors) and special effects and shouting as well (which almost always denotes action while of course meaning nothing), and then Morgan Freeman appears to calm everything down and let the audience know that everything is all right.

Though not even his presence can stop the ending from being wildly unsatisfying and relentlessly dumb.  Not that it stopped me from enjoying the rest of the film, but how the Four Horsemen’s tricks all work out and the nature of the big grand scheme that motivates everything are all a bit stupid really. 

Not that it really matters during the film, which is I suppose, the greatest trick the film pulls off.  For all its many, many flaws, it is still a remarkably well executed film, and definitely watchable, though perhaps not re-watchable.

Verdict: Now You See Me is a magic trick in itself – a movie with a whole lot of terrible components all joined together to make a film that is exciting and interesting and a whole lot of fun, even if the end makes you realise quite how much bollocks it all really is.  7 Nothings up my sleeve out of 10.

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