Monday, 30 December 2013

Now You See Me: Blu Ray Review

Now You See Me: Blu Ray Review

Rating: M
Released by Universal Home Entertainment

In this new heist / caper / magic, Jesse Eisenberg, Dave Franco, Woody Harrelson and Isla Fisher star as a quartet of magicians aka The Four Horsemen - J Daniel Atlas (a cardsman), Jack, (a pick-pocket) Merritt (a mentalist) and Henley (another escapologist), who, having worked individually are brought together by a mysterious benefactor to pull off some of their biggest ever tricks after a year of planning.

But the group attracts the attention of the FBI's Dylan Rhodes (a wonderfully rugged Mark Ruffalo) after they apparently rob a bank in Paris and give the money to their audience during a show in Las Vegas.

Rhodes teams up with an interpol agent Alma Dray (Inglorious Basterds' Melanie Laurent) and a debunker of magic Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman) to try and track the Horsemen down and stop them.

And so begins a taut game of cat and mouse....

Now You See Me is a slick, flashy, crowd-pleasing affair. With swirling cameras looping around all the actors and the action all the time, you may get a little dizzy and disorientated as the speedy plot plays out. There's hardly any time to catch your breath really as well as the chase begins and there's certainly no time to dwell on some of the plot holes, light characterisation and confusing moments as it speeds to its ever so slightly open ended conclusion. A lack of real explanation as to why the group's taken in by this scheme is missing until the end, giving you open-ended discussion over why they're involved and causing you to feel a little cheated.

Like any magic trick, Now You See Me is a heady mix of quick cuts, sleight of cinematic hand and misdirection. Nothing is of course as it seems and its ending is ludicrous, making a lot of what has already proceeded seem like something mysterious yet empty.

Eisenberg is smug and arrogant as Atlas; Harrelson's smirking and wise-cracking as the Mentalist - and unfortunately Fisher and Franco barely register as characters in this rather crowded cast. They're lost in the confines of the story and the initial brilliant opening scene, introducing us to all of the characters doesn't follow through on its promise. Freeman and Caine have a frisson of conflict as Tressler, the Horsemen's bank roller and Thaddeus the debunker. But it's Ruffalo who emerges as eminently watchable throughout this piece; his FBI agent seems to always be one step behind the action but his dogged determination is catchy and pretty soon, you're on his side, rooting for the capture of the quartet. That's the thing with Now You See Me - its mix of magic, heist caper and slick Hollywood swirling cameras is infectious - like any good trick, you're caught up in the moment as it plays out - but the minute you step out of the cinema, you find yourself questioning what you've seen - and while Now You See Me proffers up some entertaining moments throughout its 110 minute run, you're soon left with a hollow after glow and a feeling that you've been tricked. A real case of Now You See Me, Now You Don't on the plot front...
Extras: Extended version of film, history of magic, deleted scenes, audio commentary


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