Now You See Me


Rating system:
Alpha – the film was good and said what it needed to say
Beta – the film was mediocre and didn’t quite say what it needed to say, but was still entertaining
Omega – not a film worth watching

There have been many films centered on the idea of a good magic trick, and although Now You See Me follows a similar structure and formula as many predecessors, it is still a pretty enjoyable ride.Now You See Me is directed by Louis Leterrier, starring Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman, and many other familiar faces. The film is about a team of magicians that are performing heists using their magic skills. This clever mix is entertaining to see unfold. The trick in the film is the many turns and unpredictability, although this idea is played out perhaps too much for its own good.

The ensemble of characters in this film is worth noting. The characters all feel unique, but, with the exception of one, are all static characters. However, each character’s intrigue contributes to an overall interesting ensemble. Noting that, this is not a character driven movie. This movie relies on its clever plot and many twists and turns, many of which leave the audience befuddled. This is in many ways a tricky movie, but it’s one that is pretty entertaining, regardless of the fact that some of the narrative elements seem flat out ridiculous and that some of the scenes rest on the verge of a fantasy film rather than a realistic illusion film. The theme of income inequality, something that is very relevant today, is important to note. Although the theme was only marginally touched, it was a welcoming change from some of the other mindless summer movies.

Louis Leterrier, the director, doesn’t have an excellent track record. He directed Clash of the Titans and The Incredible Hulk, both of which were at best mediocre films. And again, the direction of this film is mediocre. Most of the action scenes were choppy and hard on the eyes. That being said, the action set pieces were still intriguing enough that they were fun to watch. There were some interesting visual elements in this film: plenty of wide angles and potentially more lens flares than J. J. Abrams. But overall, the visual elements in this film were in some ways lacking. The camera was all over the place and some of the shots were simply unnecessary. But those things do little to detract from this film.

The writers of this film deserve the most credit. This was a clever film, with plenty of very interesting magic set pieces, and a good deal of humor. The dialogue was fresh and, because this was a well paced movie, there was always some amount of suspense. In the end, the characters and the events in this movie were fun to watch, although there was nothing too special about the overall experience. Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige was the definitive magic movie, and there are many structural elements in Now You See Me that mirror this previous film. This movie is formulaic, the direction is mediocre, and it is often times predictable in its unpredictability. Although this doesn’t come close to The Prestige, there is enough to enjoy in this film to make it worth the watch. Who doesn’t love a good magic trick? We give this film a rating of beta.

Editor’s note: Lorenzo Venneri is a film student at Rice University. He does his best to give the most unbiased, honorable, and critical evaluation of any film. Naftali Burakovsky is an economics student at UCSD who has had a passion for film from a young age. He loves film, but always gives an honest and critical judgement to preserve the integrity of quintessential movies. Venneri and Burakovsky have been watching films together since they first became friends many years ago. Together, they are committed to letting you know what’s good and bad, what’s worth two hours of your time, and what isn’t.