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FILM: “Now You See Me” – A Thriller Done Right

 

 

The first time the public was widely introduced to Jesse Eisenberg was in 2009 with the release of “Zombieland,” in which his dorky quirks paired with Woody Harrelson’s macho personality made for fantastic comedy. In “Now You See Me,” the casting of this duo had much of the same effect. Their differing personalities brought out the right amount of comedic content needed to balance this thrilling film.

In fact, casting could do no wrong in the movie, with other big names like Morgan Freeman, Mark Ruffalo, Isla Fischer, Dave Franco and Michael Caine.

 

In a basic sense, four incredible magicians, together known as the Four Horsemen (Eisenberg, Harrelson, Fischer, and Franco), are purposefully brought together by an unknown source and given a task that reveals itself over the course of the movie. 

 

Although the film falls under the genre of “thriller,” but I think an appropriate sub-genre would be “mystery.” The unpredictability of the film keeps audience members on the edge of their seats, and a surprise ending gives them exactly what they paid to see.

 

Of course, director Louis Leterrier develops the film through varying perspectives, allowing the audience to understand what is going on from the FBI’s standpoint, but also leaving both the FBI and audience constantly one-step behind what the Four Horsemen are actually doing. 

 

 

Another aspect of the film I found interesting was the casting of the villain.  While watching the film, the audience experiences role reversals and are put into a position in which they want to root for the criminals, much like Steven Soderbergh did in directing the “Ocean’s” trilogy.

Although the Four Horsemen are stealing money through their magic, the audience almost hopes the FBI will continue to fall short.

As a bonus to the film’s creativeness, there is mystery in each character, something that isn’t the case in most films.  With each character, there is an extensive back-story that isn’t completely revealed until the very end, allowing the movie to end with all of the loose ends tied.

In terms of revenue, “Now You See Me” started out as a $75 million production, and, to date, has made about $60 million.

 

Fans of psychological thrillers such as “Shutter Island” and “Seven,” another film in which Freeman was cast, should put “Now You See Me” at the top of their must-see list.    

 

In all, the best part about the film was that it held audience’s attention from the first word to the last.  Although the filming did seem rather jumpy from time to time, bouncing from the Four Horsemen to the FBI, it was strategically done, and, in the end, it was perfectly executed. With the commonality of predictability in most modern films, it was refreshing to watch one that was not only funny and absolutely clever, but that was unpredictable to the ending credits. 

 

Actors to keep an eye on include Eisenberg and Harrelson, because both have a few upcoming films to look forward to in 2013, Eisenberg with both “Night Moves” and “The Double” releasing soon, and Harrelson’s role in the second of “The Hunger Games” trilogy, “Catching Fire.”

 

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