REEL REVIEWS: Film is all smoke and mirrors

Morning Star movie reviewers Brian Taylor and Peter Howe give their take on Now You See Me.

  • Jun. 9, 2013 7:00 a.m.
Morgan Freeman stars as Thaddeus Bradley in Now You See Me.

Morgan Freeman stars as Thaddeus Bradley in Now You See Me.

Four small-time magicians become wrapped up in an elaborate series of illusions to gain notoriety and entry into a mysterious secret society.

We say, “Abracadabra.”

HOWE: I really enjoyed Now You See Me. It had elements in it that I like in a movie: a mystery to solve, magic and action. Couple this with a stellar cast, and you know you’re in for a fun and exciting ride. I loved the concept of the magicians (the Four Horsemen) using their unique set of skills to pull of some pretty amazing heists, all the while staying one step ahead of FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo).

TAYLOR: The Four Horseman are Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson), a hypnotist and mentalist; Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), a confidence man with a skill for designing tricks; Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher), who has a knack for escapism, and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco), who is a sleight of hand man with a penchant for breaking locks.

Combined, the four of them are given blueprints to a series of amazing illusions by an unknown source. They decide to undertake the tricks and find funding from a multi-millionaire (Michael Caine). It isn’t long before they’re performing for packed houses.

HOWE: The best performance from the show must go to Interpol agent Alma Dray, played by Melanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds). There’s an air of mystique surrounding her character: Is she or isn’t she working for the Horsemen. But the most amazing trick of all; how did Morgan Freeman get his teeth so shiny and bright?

TAYLOR: Overall, the film had a sort of whirlwind aspect to it, as if attempting to sweep the audience into the magic show experience. Combined with the fact that these magicians become wanted criminals, chased by the FBI, perhaps the dizziness I felt was meant to suspend my disbelief. However, I became slightly disappointed by both the story and its delivery.

Now You See Me is a film that hides its true premise from the audience until the conclusion reveals the solution to the mystery. As such, my enjoyment was wholly determined by a payoff that left me wishing it had concluded differently.

HOWE: Overall, I found myself having some fun. When they do their illusions it feels like you are there in the crowd, witnessing something special. So if you fancy a clean action mystery dotted with some jokes throughout, grab your wand and go watch Now You See Me.

— Taylor gives Now You See Me 3 vanishing acts out 5.

— Howe gives it 4 bunnies out of 5.

The film is currently showing at the Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon.

— Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are freelance movie reviewers based in Vernon, B.C.