Directed by: Louis Leterrier
This isn’t really a review, since I went to see the film after it had already been in cinemas a while, it is more of a comment on what I’ve heard or read of other people’s opinions of it. So it is full of spoilers. Don’t read if you’ve not seen the film already.
Now You See Me is a heist movie with magic, and for the most part done very well. Sure, you know you’re watching CGI a lot of the time, but I wouldn’t expect this to have the budget to compete with the special effects of big summer blockbusters. Jesse Eisenberg is in Mark Zuckerberg/The Social Network mode, if Zuckerberg had actually been a magician. Isla Fisher could have done more with what had the potential to be a really good female role, in a Summer with very few. Woody Harrelson, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman are all exactly what you expect from them, and Mark Ruffalo, not surprisingly, is in fairly stereotypical cop-mode. Clearly the director’s attention was not so focused on his actors, rather the spectacle of the film, and ensuring the twist comes like a slap in the face.
So the twist. That’s really what needs to be discussed. I think most people agree that the film up to the twist is pretty good. A lot of people, particularly on my Twitter feed seemed to think the twist completely ruined the film, even calling it the worst 5 or 10 minutes of cinema ever. It’s really not that bad. I think majority of critics and cinema goers tend to feel better about a film, if it makes them feel like they’re in on it. That’s definitely just my own observation, I have no evidence to back it up. But people are more likely to take pleasure in an “ah, clever” moment, than a full-on WTF. The twist is actually almost obvious. Of course it was the cop all along, and of course it was some kind of revenge scheme. It’s like how in literature it’s usually the butler who killed his employers. And the twist works because it actually makes sense, and yet the whole thing plays out so you never see it coming.
You know what they should have done? Ended the film right before the twist. Or rewrote it so you never find out how they did things, but not because we’d be saved from an ending most people seem to hate. If we never get the answers, the film would be talked about so much more, everyone would have their own theories, people would see it again to see if they can figure out. And then come out with a sequel, with an explanation, and a better twist. They really missed out on a good sequel possibility.
So to conclude, I don’t see the hatred for the ending. If people saw it coming, they’d have less of a problem with it, but then the issue would be it was too predictable, or not original. I admit it could have been better, but it doesn’t ruin the whole movie.
Now You See Me is out now.