I just happened to watch this movie. Please don’t judge me. Oh well I reviewed a 1977 movie in this blog already who gives a damn.
Four Horsemen, comprised of four street magicians named J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson), Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher), and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) rob a bank in front of hundreds of audiences that end up in them being chased by FBI. Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) is an FBI agent responsible for this case, accompanied by Alma Dray (the beautiful Melanie Laurent) of Interpol. This chase is further complicated by the existence of Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman), a former magician who debunks the tricks of other magicians (including Four Horsemen) to sell them to the public.
One may ask why I ended up watching this movie. I was persuaded by the stellar cast; Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Melanie Laurent were the first three names that caught my eyes. Done watching this movie; I was speechless in disappointment. So below expectation.
The first time I knew that they were making this movie about magic, of course the first movie that came to my mind was Nolan’s The Prestige. Pardon me to compare NYSM with The Prestige but it was inevitable and perhaps this was the factor making me disappointed the most. The two hours spent sitting to watch the movie was spent in confusion. This was that type of movie that focuses solely to the ending, to surprise the audiences; in which case, yes, I was surprised, but it was a mad-kind-of-surprise. I was fooled. The most important information to debunk the “plot twist” was hidden until the end of the movie and I can imagine the filmmaker laughing at us for not guessing the plot twist earlier while they just save it up until the end and–blargh–you get information overflow in the ending that was uncalled for. I bet you can watch the first 30 minutes of the movie and last 30 minutes of the movie and still get the same plot like us–who watch the entire 2 hours–do. What I’m trying to say is that the plot is poor because they only want to show everything in the end, it is sloppily put, and it’s unbelievable. I can sense they are somewhat inspired by The Prestige, but I can say that in every scene of The Prestige hidden the information of the plot twist in the ending and Nolan carries us rather smoothly towards the ending to make us feel sympathetic and surprised at the ending, not mad and confused like this.
The sloppy story is shown by how stupid people there are. FBI looks so stupid (and even they admit it in one scene) and unprepared. (SPOILER ALERT) The entire police department couldn’t tell that someone fakes his own death? They even don’t bother to check the background of the agent they send to be responsible of the case (which becomes the plot twist, and even the Interpol agent has access to know about it means that it’s not hard to research)? A millionaire using his dead cat’s name (that he happily shares) as his bank account’s password? Come on, that’s a bank account’s password, not a mid-grader’s first email address’ answer to the security question?
Don’t even get me started with the characters. I can’t even distinguish the characteristic and personality of the four Horsemen, aside from their speciality in doing magic tricks, and the fact that one of them is in love with another one; but that’s it. Atlas is a control freak, but it’s also not shown consistently to the end of the show, this fact is only used to show how stupid FBI is by that trackers fiasco. They are the core of the movie but they even have the dialogues that sound alike, I mean if Atlas’ part were changed with Henley’s part no one would notice because the characters are not developed. The only moderately good character development is Jack Wilder who then becomes the “hero-from-zero” kind of character but it’s even made to lead us up to the ending. Everything’s for the ending, I repeat, the movie is so ending-centered.
On the brighter side, to “even up” all the criticism, I think NYSM is a rather entertaining movie to watch with a fresh idea among the superheroes trend in 2013. I like the superb cast and the cast alone pumps up like 3 stars for my personal rating for this movie. I have to admit the magic part is entertaining, perhaps something the filmmakers have been doing research for. I once learned magic tricks and I knew a few but what I saw in the movie was all different tricks from the usual tricks so yeah, let’s call this movie pretty impressive and entertaining on that level
However, even magic requires more logic and common sense from the audience to truly believe that what happens is magic. But NYSM doesn’t do it for me. It drags me to the ending that is rather unbelievable and confusing. I’d rather be deceived by a street magician with a cheap card trick by a very close margin.
Overall Rating? A solid 5/10.