It is another Friday Movies, and so far I enjoyed critiquing Oblivion from last week. Let us see if the cast of Morgan Freeman, Jesse Eisenberg and Mark Ruffalo are worth checking out.
THE PLOT (SPOILER)
The movie starts with four different acts of magicians who are going on their business of conjuring magic. The whole movie revolves around the four magicians who become renowned as “The Four Horsemen.” These magicians are Jack Daniel (Jesse Eisenberg), Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson), Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher) and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) completes the foursome. Considering, there is a lady in this illustrious group of magicians, it is odd to call the group the Four Horsemen, but yet again the Four Horse-people doesn’t sound as catchy. The band of magicians are on the radar of the police as they conduct magic tricks which involve theft. They do these tricks as they would like to prove themselves worthy of joining the Eye of Horace. A secret order that springs all the way from the Egyptian empire who safeguard magicians and also are the guardians to real magic.
They commit a bank heist of the Credit Republican in Paris under the guise of a magic trick in a live show at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas. This provides a tough case for Detective Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) and Interpol agent Alma Dray (Mélanie Laurent), as they have to unmask the veil in the magicians’ tricks. They acquire the brief service of Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman) to help them make sense of what the magicians have done. Bradley is a magician who makes a living out of exposing the tricks magicians use and sees a big payday in the Horsemen.
Bradley becomes key to the whole story as his past comes back to haunt him. The first magician who Bradley exposed was Lionel Shrike who he ruined. Lionel Shrike died after attempting a daring escape from a poorly built Elkhorn safe. Elkhorn is the same company whose armoured track was robbed of in the last scenes of the movie. Tressler’s Insurance refuses to pay Lionel’s life insurance leaving his family destitute. Credit Republican in France is the holder of the insurance company’s monies. In the end Lionel Shrike’s son carries out vengeance on everyone, clearly this story is a modern day Count of Monte Cristo.
BEST PERFORMER IN THE CAST
I am finding the more I write about movies the more I see that the A-List stars aren’t the ones who spring up the best performances. Well, Now You See Me isn’t any different in this regard. Jesse Eisenberg’s performance was a little too geeky for a magician. Magicians usually have this larger than life personality, that x-factor which I found wanting from Jack Daniel.
Morgan Freeman is truly old and gold for this one. It is only in America where a man with white hair can be spotted having a pair of earrings. However, Bradley took on his role with a legendary aura oozing throughout his scenes. It is quite easy to see why he has had such a long and almost expected longevity in Hollywood, and by this performance he’ll be filling in more roles. Clearly he is my second best actor for this movie.
When it came to Mark Ruffalo, rather amusingly, I was waiting for him to turn into the green behemoth Hulk. It was strange to see him act charged all throughout as we have gotten used to his rather timid act of Hulk’s human form. I enjoyed his performance as he had some of the funniest bits. When at Bradley’s office who turns water into wine Dylan asks rather comically, “Is that how Jesus did it, that’s incredible?” The look he had when he opened the armoured car which was full of inflated balloons, was quite funny and he looked believably awestruck at the same time.
My best performer I’d have to say was Woody Harrelson, his portrayal of the Mentalist, Merritt McKinney was a masterpiece. He had such a charismatic display mixed in with good humour. His hypnosis for people to play Beethoven’s “Violin concerto in d major,” gives you enough laughs throughout the movie. In the scene where they steal all of Arthur Tressler’s (Michael Caine) money, he hypnotizes a couple of the audience to think they are football players who in turn tackle agent Rhodes who is in pursuit of them. Another example of his good humour is at the last scene where he directs this to Jack Daniel, “When I first met you, I thought you’re some kind of, a d***,” and Henley asks, “And?” where the Mentalist swiftly replies, “No no that’s it.” Thus, Merritt did it for me.
VISUAL EFFECTS, COSTUMES AND LOCATION
This is not a movie based on your nondescript neighbourhood magician, they have gone out of their way to incorporate great visual effects to make every trick that more dramatic. The movie is shot from three locations France, Paris, and the US, in New York and Las Vegas. I liked how they made the Pont des Arts bridge the closing location in France. The bridge is arrayed with many lovers’ locks on its diamond meshed wire.
The effects were major throughout the movies. The Four Horsemen are chased all the way to Five Points, which is where Lionel Shrike used to practise his tricks. At Five Points this is where the real magic happens aided with technology of course. From holographic live images, to turning a whole building’s façade into a 3D screen it was a true work of art.
The only axe I got to grind is with the video editing, as they had random disjointed flashbacks and cryptic advanced scenes surface randomly throughout the movie. It was mind boggling and sometimes spoilt the tempo of the movie. However, thumbs up for the sound it was one of the best I have heard in quite some time.
This is a definite work of art it is obvious that it has no need for alternate endings. Yes, forgive me for my creative lethargy, but this was the best movie so far for me this year.
This is a must watch, if the star studded cast doesn’t woe you, nor the visual effects, neither the storyline, why else do you watch movies? It gets a 4 out of 5 stars for me. Did you like what I had to say about Now You See Me? Was it the movie of the year for you? Did I give a harsh critique to one of your favourite stars? Be sure to leave your comments, see you until Tuesday.