"Hollow, Problematic Vision"
What You Need To Know:
NOW YOU SEE ME centers on four ace magicians and con artists recruited by a mysterious figure to team up for a series of elaborate robberies. The team gives the money away to people who’ve been harmed by capitalist entities like banks or insurance companies. They capture the attention of a federal agent, as well as police. Many plot twists pile up, with characters constantly revealing secret motivations, alliances, and betrayals, as the magicians known as the Four Horsemen keep upping the stakes of their crimes. They become folk heroes. The question remains: Who’s funding the Horsemen, and can the feds stop them?
NOW YOU SEE ME is fun to watch, with appealing performances, fast-moving action, and many laughs, but like the magic showmen it portrays, it ultimately rings hollow when you start thinking about it. Thus, its most elaborate revelation simply doesn’t add up. Also, it has a strong Romantic, liberal worldview that gets revenge from large capitalist institutions for the 2008 fiscal crisis instead of big government. Finally, NOW YOU SEE ME has plenty of foul language and some innuendo.
(RoRo, PCPC, B, RHRH, Ho, LLL, VV, S, AA, MM) Strong Romantic, liberal worldview, with righteous anger, justice, and revenge as a motive against capitalist companies that cheated people and/or hurt them in the 2008 financial crisis, but the latter involves some overt liberal revisionist history that excuses the actions of big government institutions and regulations, which in reality precipitated most of the crisis, plus a joke about an FBI agent being a transvestite (he’s not, it’s meant as an insult); at least 32 obscenities, five strong profanities, and two light profanities; action violence is non-graphic and bloodless, with fist-fights and kicks, car chases and foot chases, man appears to burn up in an auto explosion after a crash, female magician pretends to be eaten by piranhas in front of a crowd and looks like she bloodies the water in a tank; one scene where woman jumps on top of a man and stripping to her underwear before he suddenly decides he has to run to a meeting and pushes her off himself, some brief innuendo, and a joke about cross dressing; no nudity but woman strips down to her underwear in a scene before her undressing is suddenly interrupted; brief scene features a federal agent grouchy while drinking, and then he apologizes to a female Interpol agent for being drunk; no smoking or drugs; and, strong miscellaneous immorality includes revenge theme, non-violent magic tricks cause three major robberies of a bank, an insurance kingpin, and an investment firm to occur, with the money being given to crowds of people who had suffered under various economic miseries of the recent recession, many scenes where magicians mock and disrespect legal authorities, and anti-hero leads win against police and federal agents though some of their actions are born from righteous anger.
NOW YOU SEE ME is a high-spirited and often funny heist movie, but it has a strong Romantic, liberal, anti-authority worldview undercut further by plenty of foul language and some brief sexual content.
The plot centers on four ace magicians and con artists recruited by a mysterious figure to team up for a series of elaborate, major-scale robberies. The team (called the Four Horsemen) give the money away to people who’ve been harmed by capitalist entities like banks or insurance companies. They quickly capture the attention of a federal agent, as well as police.
Many plot twists pile up, with characters constantly revealing secret motivations, alliances, and betrayals, as the Four Horsemen keep upping the flashy stakes of their crimes. They become folk heroes because they give money to people with real grievances while making the federal officials, an Interpol agent, regular cops, and a rival former magician look foolish. The question remains nearly throughout the plot: Who’s funding the Horsemen, and can the feds figure out their game and beat them?
NOW YOU SEE ME appears to have it all for a great summer popcorn movie – fun stars in highly appealing performances (all the leads are dynamic), fast-moving action, and lots of laughs, but much like the magic showmen it portrays, this movie ultimately rings hollow when you start thinking about what happened after you see it. For example, its most elaborate secret revelation simply doesn’t add up and will leave any viewer who seriously considers the plot feeling tricked.
On a moral level, the movie is also mixed up, as it turns out the Horsemen are committing their robberies as part of an elaborate revenge plot on an insurance company and banks that refused to pay damages when a magician died decades before, leaving his family penniless. The magicians give the money away to their audiences, which are filled with people who were also left damaged by the recession with no one to help them. So, the movie tries to say they’re heroic when in fact they are still stealing and committing revenge, no matter how sympathetic the cause. Also, the movie seems to have a Romantic, liberal worldview toward big capitalist institutions, with some liberal revisionist history about the 2008 economic crises thrown in for good measure. Of course, in one sense, it may be argued that often it’s big government that, ironically, encourages big capitalist institutions that don’t care about their customers.
NOW YOU SEE ME also has plenty of foul language and some brief lewd content. These other elements may only merit and extreme caution, but, ultimately, the worldview content may be more objectionable. NOW YOU SEE ME may be lots of fun to watch during its running time, but it doesn’t add up to truly media-wise entertainment.