Now You See Me
Illusionist Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), escape artist Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher), mentalist Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson) and street wizard Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) are without a doubt amongst the best in their profession, even though they’re no internationally known stars. One day they all get a Tarot card with on them a date and location that leads them to an abandoned building where they find blueprints of a huge illusion. Who brought them together, of why they received these blueprints, however, remains a mystery.
A year later we find the four back in Las Vegas, where they united under the name “The Four Horsemen” are ready to perform a huge stunt: a bank robbery… in Parijs! When they succeed in this and the money starts pouring over the audience from the ceiling they not only manage to get the news but also attract the attention of the local FBI unit under the lead of Dylan Rhodes who – assisted by Interpol agent Alma Drey – longs to stop them before they commit another crime.
While Rhodes asks the help of Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman), a magician who’s built a career by debunking other magicians, the horsemen are readying themselves together with their promotor Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine) for their next show which will be even more spectacular and surprising than the last one. And the surprise this time will not only be for the audience…
A bank robbery, several well-known names in the cast, and an overkill on style and “schwung”. Say those words in connection to a movie and many people will immediately think you’re talking about “Ocean’s Eleven”. While watching “Now You See Me” you constantly get the feeling you’re watching a sequel to that well-known trilogy by Steven Soderbergh with a bit of supernatural added in the mix, and for once that’s not a negative thing!
The intro of the movie starts a bit slow, but as soon as the first big show of the Horsemen gets put on the screen the speed as well as the level of show rises sky-high very quickly with only a few brief moments where you can gasp for air. It’s almost like being put on a rollercoaster where you can take some air while the cart is being pulled up to then shoot you off in the depth at extreme speed, followed by a double looping and a cork screw. And when you then arrive back at the start the personnel is standing there with a big smile on their faces and the statement you need to remain on your seat as there’s another round coming up.
Just as described above the movie goes from one “act” to the next, and this without boring at any time. The problem, however, is that a lot of the fun lays in the fact that you don’t know what’s coming and the surprise is completely gone when watching for a second time, making Now You See Me lose a lot of its initial charm. That first viewing, however, is definitely worthwhile thanks to a great atmosphere, good acting, a fun story and unexpected plot twists that may be a bit lacking in credibility but won’t bother you too much. A rollercoaster is also Always the most fun the first time you’re in it!
Now You See Me won’t become a classic and is a bit too superficial to watch multiple times (a bit like a magician’s tricks once you know how they’re done) but is great fun the first time around.
Now You See Me gets an excellent transfer to Blu-ray where the material shot on 35mm is nicely brought forth. There are quite a lot of dark scenes and mostly those where the characters are in the spotlights can cause issues in a transfer, but luckily we can say that there’s no problems with posterisation or banding. Shadows can be difficult to see at times, but this is only a very small point of criticism and most people won’t even notice it. What you will notice, however, are lens flares but this is a choice of the makers rather than a transfer problem, and skin tones can be a bit oversaturated at times but this seems more due to the difference between natural lighting, CGI and professional set lights than the transfer. All in all a very good transfer!
The sound comes through a 7.1 DTS-HD MA geluidsspoor that’s also of high quality. While large-scale action scenes get a lot of support from the rear channels, dialogues remain clear at all times. In the softer moments we also get a lot of detail from the background and this makes it clear that there’s absolutely no issue with the dynamics in this track.
Director Louis Leterrier (what a name!) and producer Bobby Cohen give quite some background info on the movie in their audio commentary track and that’s good as the “Now You See Me Revealed” feature is quite promotional. “A Brief History of Magic” on the other side is quite interesting as although it only lasts 12 minutes, it does give illusionist David Kwong the possibility to give some history on real magicians who used the methods of the “Four Horsemen”. Further extras include deleted scenes and trailers.