“First rule of magic: always be the smartest person in the room.” This is demonstrated all throughout the mysteriously riveting 2013 movie Now You See Me, directed by Louis Leterrier. A group of four magicians: Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher), Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson), and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco), all receive a card with a date and location on where to meet. Upon meeting at the designated meeting spot, they discovered they were all chosen to be part of a series of special magic acts. They are from then on referred to as The Four Horseman. For their remarkable acting, thrilling stunts, and magical storyline, Now You See Me is an excellent pick for all ages to enjoy. The film follows The Four Horseman and their quest on helping people who got cheated out on their money by performing magic acts. The Horseman begin one of their shows by doing a magic trick where the audience pulls out a piece of paper with their account balance on, and the balance suddenly increases to a higher amount of money. The horseman call up to the stage Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine), who is the owner of Tressler Insurance. They explain that all the people in the audience have been cheated due to Tressler’s Insurance, and the money that was going into the audience’s accounts was coming out of Tressler’s bank account. Since the events of the horseman have been going on, the FBI hire agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) to investigate along with Alma Dray (Melanie Laurent) of Interpol. In addition to the FBI, an illusion exposer Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman), try to uncover the mysteries of the illusions. Throughout the movie, it is unexplainable to why the horseman are undergoing these illusions without any benefits for themselves.
However, it is revealed that agent Rhodes hired the horseman to get revenge on Bradley and the others that were involved for his father’s death. Many people seek revenge when something traumatic happens in their life. In the movie, it is revealed that Agent Rhodes’ father died from a faulty safe that he used in one of his underwater magic tricks. Rhodes is the hooded figure in the beginning of the film who chose the four magicians who later became The Four Horseman and help him seek out revenge. In the Horseman’s first magic trick, they chose a random guest out of the audience for their show. This illusion included the man getting teleported to a bank in Paris where he helped get money from the bank, and the money was then rained down from the ceiling of where the show was being held. At another one of the Horseman’s shows, an illusion was preformed where money was stolen from Arthur Tressler’s account and placed into the audience’s accounts. These two illusions were not just random picks. The man’s bank that was in Paris and Tressler’s insurance company both would not give any benefits to Rhodes’ family after his father’s death. Rhodes also targeted Thaddeus Bradley because when his father was alive they were rivals. Rhodes’ father did the underwater trick that had the faulty safe because Bradley was in competition with him and challenged him to it. The themes in the film were performed well by the actors. So, the acting in Now You See Me was a great fit for the characters in the film. I loved Dave Franco’s character. He did a great job with the action role he was put in and being the underdog who had to fight and pull off stunts. For example, when the FBI finds the horseman in the apartment room, Franco’s character is left behind to get rid of papers and other information they had in the room. The agents come in the room, and Franco has to try to fight them away. The performance is very believable, and he makes it seem that fighting was natural and easy. This role in an action film contrasts from the movie Franco stars in, 21 Jump Street. This film is a comedy and Franco pulls of the different genres of movies. Another star I liked was Isla Fisher. Fisher played Henley Reeves, a magician who focused on intense stunts.
I really loved Fisher in the movie The Bachelorette, which was a romantic comedy. She excelled in this movie and excels in Now You See Me, an action film. Fisher is great at performing her stunts and presenting the illusions. For example, when she first does her trick in the box of water and when she explains the transportation illusion. I like how she has a hint of mystery and wonder in her voice. One person that stood out as a performer was Mark Ruffalo, who played Agent Dylan Rhodes. I have seen him in many different movies and roles; two of my favorite movies Ruffalo has stared in are Rumor Has It and 13 Going On 30. In both of these movies, he is portrayed as a love interest and did really well. In contrast, his part in Now You See Me was an FBI agent, and he looked like a natural and as if he fit the part of a real agent. Ruffalo did a good job of not giving away that he was the one who brought the Horseman together and the one was behind it all. Along with the acting I thought the overall film was very believable as well. Although some tricks were a bit farfetched such as the teleportation device, a lot of the tricks were believable. For example, the card tricks that Daniel Atlas does are very similar to magicians now, and hypnosis is a very believable thing to people who go to shows today. “The more you look, the less you see” is a quote said multiple times throughout the film. This ties into the stunts aspect of the movie because if you look closer to the tricks and analyze them you lose the full excitement and awe of the illusions being performed. The film had a very distinct style and ways of using each characters abilities. But there is another movie that it reminds me of, The Prestige. In this movie, there are two rival magicians that compete for the fame and try and steal each other’s tricks and secrets. There are both similarities and differences in these two films. In Now You See Me, Rhodes’ father is killed because of a faulty safe in an underwater magic trick her performed. Similarly, in The Prestige a woman is killed when she cannot escape from a box of water in a trick. At the end of the film, one of the main characters also drowns in a glass box filled with water used for a magic act. Another similarity is in the very end of both films the man who was responsible for the death and deception of another person is tricked, and they both end up in jail.
In Contrast, The Prestige is more about the lives of the two men and how they try to compete and get the upper hand, while Now You See Me was about magicians helping one person get revenge on something that happened years before. Although Now You See Me is similar to other movies, it had great special effects and stunts. I thought the most impressive special effect was the scene of the car chase. They did a good job of making the chase look believable. When the car wrecked, rolled across the highway, and blew up into fire and smoke, the special effects made it look realistic and as if it really could have happened. A stunt scene that was performed well was when Jack Wilder fights the agents in the apartment building. The fight had a lot of advanced moves and violence and Wilder made it seem realistic. He has such ease in the stunts that really made his performance stand out. Another example is the final show that the horseman perform. There were lots of lights and the final three horseman were projected on the buildings while they talked somewhere inside. When the horseman announce that it is their last show and said goodbye, they proceeded to jump off of a tall building. The special effects make it look as if the horseman turn into money as they fall from the rooftop. Because of all the special effects and tricks that happen, I think the movie’s title was based off this. When the horseman perform their shows and tricks, they do it in front of everyone. Since they often show the audience what they are doing and explain what is happening, I think that is why it is called Now You See Me. It is also a play off the common saying “Now you see me, now you don’t”. This is a common saying among magicians because they often make things disappear and reappear, and the audiences don’t always see all their tricks and how they are executed.
In my opinion, Now You See Me was an outstanding movie. The overall theme and storyline was easy to understand. One of the best scenes was when Jack Wilder fights off Dylan Rhodes. I loved the action of this scene and how it was performed. The best part of the fight was when Wilder fights Rhodes with magic. By doing this it shows that Wilder is versatile in his role of not only a magician but a great fighter as well. I would love to go and buy this movie so I could watch it more than once. This is a movie I really enjoyed and would love to watch more so I could see more of the details and pay more attention to the tricks. I would rate this a 10 out of 10 and would recommend it to others if you like exciting films that keep you interested and wondering what will happen next.
Courtney from Study Moose
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