Now You See Me is a mixed bag. Michelle’s Review


Now You See Me is a prime example of why I generally do not watch movie trailers. Not out of active avoidance, it is just they don’t show trailers at critic screenings and I DVR all my TV so there’s rarely any reason for me to see them. The trailer gives away too much information. Walking into this, I felt like I had already seen this – and liked it.

The problem with Now You See Me is in musician J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg) line from the trailer – “The secret to magic is, you are the smartest person in the room.” The movie goes to great lengths to show us fabulous magic tricks and illusions but is too much like a kid saying “look what I just did! Isn’t it cool!?”.  Screenwriters Ed Solomon (screenplay), Boaz Yakin (plus 3 more) and Director Louis Leterrier (Clash of the Titans, Transporter and The Incredible Hulk) are too quick to explain how each and every trick was done.

After every trick professional magic debunker Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman) explains every trick with a smug certainty that it became annoying. It would not have been so bad if he said this is how it “could” have happened and the screenplay was clever to make the audience wonder – is this explanation real or not? The explanations get so ridiculous that they even explain the classic disappearing bunny in a box. I wanted to spend a few minutes pondering how the Four Horsemen: mentalist Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson), sleight of hand expert Jack Wilde (Dave Franco), escape artist Hanley Reeves (Isla Fisher) and the showman J. Daniel Atlas did their thing.  The only time the movie doesn’t answer a key question was at the very end, when I actually did want to know.


A mysterious benefactor brings these Magician together for a mysterious task that includes pulling a bunch of heists. The movie spends a lot of time trying to get the audience to question why they are doing it and the answer fairly ridiculous. Mark Ruffalo is terrible as the dogged FBI Cop out to get them. There is something about his performance that seems as though he is actually “mocking” the cliched angry cop and he has no chemistry with his partner Interpol agent Alma Dray (Mélanie Laurent).

While Ruffalo, Dray and Freeman bring the movie down, I really enjoyed watching the Four Horseman interact with each other. It is such a uniquely cool mix of actors. Now You See Me is one of those fence sitting movies, while it does have some flaws there is enough there to warrant a viewing, maybe even a 2nd just to see if everything hangs together once you know the reasons why – it get extra points for not being in 3D.

Final Grade B-