Reviews: Now You See Me
Sure, it might not be the best heist film, but it pulls off its tricks well enough and keeps the audience fairly enthralled. The main problem, of course, is that the Willing Suspension of Disbelief is perhaps stretched too far. The common complaint - how do the Four Horsemen manage to buy their show-stopping stages and special effect-creating devices? While it's reasonable to assume that they were pulling it from the rich executive's bank account (I really can't remember his name), but still. And how are they doing it after they straight-up drain his bank account as karmic punishment? He surely is nowhere near that forgiving. (And how'd he get out of those chains, anyway?) The other big thing about the movie (not necessarily a bad one!) is that is somehow manages to resemble a Wile E. Coyote or Tom and Jerry cartoon more than anything - in this case, Dylan is the Coyote and the Horsemen are the collective Roadrunners. This makes the twist (that Dylan is one of the Horsemen) that much more shocking - it flips the entire cast's group dynamic on its head. The characters themselves, while seeming a bit too flat, serve their purposes reasonably well. In short, the film is much like the magic tricks contained within it - it's great fun as long as you don't stop and try to analyze it too hard, or else it loses its luster. Nonetheless, it has a few moments of smart writing that I really liked.
A simple, twisty heist film
NYSM is, at it's heart, a refreshingly simple film. Yes, it has twists and secrets and gambit pileups, but in a film about magicians robbing banks, that's exactly what it should have. What makes it simple is that it doesn't really have anything else. And I'm absolutely fine with that. It doesn't overstay it's welcome, it doesn't fill time with a pointless romantic subplot (while there are actually two romantic "subplots" they're dealt with in such a minimal fashion that you could almost literally blink and miss them) or unnecessary action sequences (there is one action sequence in the entire film). It knows why it's here, and why you're watching, and gives you that, and only that. I've seen comments that the film seems empty or pointless, and, I guess, if you're used to a more hit-all-the-demographics approach then it might seem a bit sparse. I prefer to use the word "focused", but I can understand why that's not everyone's cup of tea. Admitedly, this means the characterisation suffers a little - there's no real depth to any of the individuals, and you're given no good reason to really care about any of their fates or motives. If you want a film to get you emotionally invested, then this is likely not your film. If you just want to see come-uppences being got and banks being jobbed in a neat, stylish little package, then this most definitely is your film.