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Movie Review

Now You See Me

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for language, some action and sexual content.

Reviewed by: Jessica D. Lovett

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults Teens
Crime Action Adventure Thriller Drama
1 hr. 56 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
May 31, 2013
DVD: September 3, 2013
Copyright, Summit Entertainment click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Summit Entertainment Copyright, Summit Entertainment Copyright, Summit Entertainment Copyright, Summit Entertainment Copyright, Summit Entertainment Copyright, Summit Entertainment Copyright, Summit Entertainment Copyright, Summit Entertainment Copyright, Summit Entertainment Copyright, Summit Entertainment
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Summit Entertainment

the deceptions of illusionists / sleight of hand


bank robbery

How do I know what is right from wrong? Answer

How can I decide whether a particular activity is wrong? Answer


Are we living in a moral Stone Age? Answer

magic and magicians in the Bible

Featuring: Morgan FreemanThaddeus Bradley
Isla FisherHenley
Woody HarrelsonMerritt Osbourne
Dave Franco … Jack
Jesse EisenbergMichael Atlas
Mark RuffaloDylan Hobbs
Michael CaineArthur Tressler
Mélanie Laurent … Alma Vargas
Laura Cayouette … Woman
Michael Kelly … Agent Fuller
Elias Koteas
more »
Director: Louis Leterrier—“The Transporter,” “Clash of the Titans
Producer: Soixan7e Quin5e
Kurtzman Orci Paper Products
more »
Distributor: Summit Entertainment

Sequel: “Now You See Me: The Second Act” (2016)

It is extremely hard to find something to say about this movie… Not because it was lackluster in any way, but because I hate to give anything away, if you chose to see it in theaters. “Now You See Me” is an very tantalizing film, giving you the bright lights and sparkle of a modern magic show in Las Vegas, as well as heated chases through the harsh streets of New Orleans and everything in between. Surprisingly, the theater showing I attended was a full house… hardly a seat to be found. There was an equal mix of teens, young adults, and older adults and the whole let out plenty of audibly hearty laughs throughout—experiencing the film’s quick, witty script. If you enjoy fast-paced, character-driven films with unexpected twists until the last few frames, this will probably be an enjoyable film for you.

Acting heavyweights Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine go head-to-head, Freeman playing the role of Thaddeus Bradley, a famed magician debunker and Caine as Arthur Tressler, businessman and magic show sponsor. Mysteriously, successful street magicians from extremely different backgrounds Merritt Osbourne (Woody Harrelson), Jack Wilder (Dave Franco), Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher), and Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg) are brought together by an outside force to form the magician super-team named the Four Horsemen.

Becoming wildly successful with their daring shows and charismatic public personas, the team rises to public acclaim… but this all comes with a price. Mark Ruffalo, playing Agent Dylan Rhodes with the perfect blend of grit and heart, dedicates all his energies to uncovering the hidden plot behind the increasingly audacious and law-skirting magic tricks of the Four Horsemen. Interpol Agent Alma Dray (Melanie Laurent), assigned to the case with Rhodes, initially throws a wrench in the machine, but then becomes vital to solving the case. With lush cinematography, this movie succeeds in making the audience sympathetic with all the rich characters, blurring the lines between the good guys and bad guys.

The film explores complex ideas, such as whether or not it is morally comprehensible to play Robin Hood with someone else’s money, is revenge ever righteous, and what is the difference between dishonesty and planned illusion for entertainment purposes. The movie also shows how depressingly easy it is to persuade a crowd to give in to mob mentality and cheer on criminal activity, if there they are given the gift of eye candy and emotional thrills. It deeply saddened me that there were some small children in the movie with their parents, as this is definitely not a child-friendly movie… and, personally I would view the theatrical trailers before the film (“World War Z,” being one of them) to be more jading to a small child’s mind than the actual movie itself, though it had its share of questionable content.

Refreshingly, there were absolutely no “love” scenes, though there is one brief instance of a woman in full-coverage bra and panties unsuccessfully trying to seduce one of the protagonists. There is also an inferred topless image of woman at a parade, though she is mostly censored by hands in front of her. There are a few low cut or sheer blouses, but nothing extreme. There are three brief bar scenes, but drinking is not portrayed in a positive light. There is also some sexual innuendo—but, again, nothing extreme—and portrayals of criminal heists as being lauded by the general public in the film, not to mention some isolated clapping from the movie audience at the colorful, elaborate heists. No random explosions for the sake of being explosions, one or two fight scenes are not bloody and have lightened elements to them, such as a character throwing magic cards at the FBI agents to escape them. Two main magic tricks seem to graphically insuate that the characters have died, but all is an illusion.

It is slightly inferred by the film that some elements of magic may not be purely illusory, but occult themes are not blatantly pursued, as all tricks, except the very ending of the film itself are debunked for the audience’s amusement. There are approximately a dozen uses of PG-13 level profanity, including some blasphemous uses of God’s or Jesus’ names. Though I hesitate to put a Christian stamp of approval on a film with any cursing or morality issues, at all, my pretty prudish conscience is honestly not in pain over watching this particular film, and, all in all, it is an exciting, well-constructed film.

Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Moderate to heavy—OMG (4), “G*d-d*mn” (3), “Jesus Christ” (1), “Oh G*d” (1), “hell” (8), damn (3), s-words (over a dozen), *ss (9), and a few other vulgarities / Sex/Nudity: Moderate

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed this film. The “magic” tricks used are traditional fare: slight of hand, misdirection, mirrored reflections and the subtle use of hypnosis. For me, the film was a clever combination of two other movies and a TV show: “Oceans 11” meets “The Usual Suspects” and “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.” If you’ve enjoyed watching any of these, you’ll be delighted with “Now You See Me.”

If we’re to discard films with story lines based on thievery and deception, we might need to shun Mamoulian’s “The Mark of Zorro” and Douglas Fairbanks’ and Errol Flynn’s portrayals of Robin Hood. I fully appreciate scriptural warnings regarding occult practices. The subtle use of hypnotic suggestion that occurs in a couple of small parts of the plot might come under the heading of “spell casting,” but I detected nothing worse than that. I saw nothing in this film that would cause one to apply the warnings of Deuteronomy 18:9-13, Leviticus 19:31 and 20:6.

This being said, it’s a rare treat to have spent $13 on a movie and leave knowing you’d pay the same to see it all over again a second time. For me, this was one of those rare treats.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Jeff, age 58 (USA)
Positive—When I first saw the trailer for “Now You See Me,” I was, honestly excited. Morgan Freeman, Michael Cain, Jesse Eisenberg all together made for what looked like a pretty decent movie. Not to mention the premise was promising, too. Four magicians pulling off the most daring, adrenaline pumping magic tricks ever displayed on stage. This movie had promise and when I saw it I wasn’t disappointed. Yeah I was confused when I walked out, but once I asked the person who went with me what I wasn’t quite understanding, everything made sense.

The story was good and the twists were genuine and definitely unexpected and so I agree with the 5 stars that was given. As a Christian, my biggest concern were the occult content that occurred (voodoo dolls, tarot cards), and when I had read about them right before I was about to enter the theater I was concerned. I agree they were unbiblical and unnecessary to the film, and I do not condone them, but the movie was still good, regardless. In short, I enjoyed “Now You See Me.” Well written, well directed. Perhaps it will be in my DVD collection. Good movie, but if the occult content concerns you, I advise avoiding this film.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
Alexander Malsan, age 23 (USA)
Positive—Okay listen up. I loved this movie, and guess what? I’m not going to Hell for it. If you think that not seeing a movie will protect you or anyone else from language, violence, or inappropriate clothing you are deluding your self. That stuff doesn’t make a movie bad and for the record they clearly state that it was all illusion not magic. I’m a pastors kid, and I know what’s right and wrong, and I’m not saying that stuff is okay, I’m saying we could not be so offended and SELF RIGHTEOUS! I know how to be in the world and not of it. Which mean I can live in this world and all it entails and not, never see a movie or hear a cuss word or see some one inappropriately dressed, but not be the world and not do or say that stuff. So this doesn’t make the movie bad or sinful just not the best! Okay?? Okay
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Hannah, age 21 (USA)
Positive—I never saw it coming… Usually, I can figure out a movie in the first 15 minutes… but, I never saw it coming. Well done.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Tracy, age 44 (USA)
Neutral—…It should be rated Offensive due to Tarot cards, The evil all seeing eye, the skimpy outfits, about to come sex scene in the beginning of the movie, partial nudity, and stealing. The movie seemed like “serving the devil, getting the fame you want and finally joining” ***SPOILER*** (at the ending Ruffalo’s character says “Welcome to the Eye”) after following their tarot card and “destiny.” ***END SPOILER***

The movie was interesting, don’t get me wrong, but I couldn’t stand myself afterwards when I watched it. It felt like I was watching a pro-Illuminati/pro-devil serving movie. …I wouldn’t actually refer this movie to anyone personally. I wished I watched “Man of Steel” instead of this.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Anna, age 20 (USA)
Negative—…Sure there was no nudity, but this movie used the Lord’s name in vain more than once. And the movie was obviously not all smoke and mirrors. It used the concept of real magic. If movies that used magic such as Harry Potter are not approved, then this shouldn’t either. And at least Harry Potter taught lessons in friendship and love and good vs. Evil. The characters in this are egotistical, the steal, they are vulgar, they don’t have respect, they fornicate, and they lie. They aren’t good people to begin with, and they don’t get better by the end of the movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 1
—Orion, age 21 (USA)
Negative—This movie was so overdone that it became tedious—don’t waste your money.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Ray, age 62 (USA)
Negative—It is a shame that so much talent and time were wasted on this film. It had more sizzle than steak. Was it offensive? Yep, it was. It had sexual remarks that were intended as humorous which, for me, fell flat. They weren’t subtle or well written, they were just crude. Overall, the script was in desperate need of a transfusion of talent. But what was mostly disappointing was that Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine, both capable of so much more, were in it. I have often said Freeman could pull a movie up but this one was DOA. Each time he came on I was hoping that he could help, but it just never worked. Michael Caine, well I’m not surprised, he has been in some real losers, but this one may be the worst.

In the end there was no real surprises that did not seem contrived and I felt absolutely no connection with the characters. I kept watching it hoping that it would get better but it didn’t; I hate losing 115 minutes of my life this way. Avoid this film, it will only leave you wishing you had. I saw it for free, and it wasn’t even worth free.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Brian, age 61 (USA)
Negative—As a Christian who reads the Bible regularly, I know that magic of this form is not of God, the Bible says that those who practise this type of magic will go to hell, Revelation 9:21, for example.

Now I have a lot to say about this movie, it has the Illuminati written all over it, and they are not trying to hide it, the magic promoted in this film is demonic, these type of Illusionists get their power straight from demons, (check out illusionist Derron Brown who actually was raised a Christian, but has gone to work for the enemy, he promotes his work for the dark side blatantly), him as well as British magician “Troy” do their magic the same way they promote the magic in this film; it is disturbing, magicians like the ones in this movie are originally supposed to be doing the laying of hands, healing people with God’s help, but instead have gone to demons and got their magic from them instead; “The Eye” is obviously the Illuminati—a real life luciferian organization.

It’s obviously showing one of the many ways of how they initiate their members.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Ace Smth, age 32 (United Kingdom)
Comments from young people
Neutral—In general, the movie is all about deception versus deception, which is quite cool, but evil, at the same time. It is a marvelous storyline, I should say. There are twists in the magic tricks, as well as the plot. However, movies like this turn me off, because it promotes the all-seeing eye, which is an absolute offense to a Christian audience. Why do Hollywood always do that? They are promoting the enemy of Christ.

Most TV shows and movies, nowadays, depict rebellious actions and give hints of the sign of Illuminati and other symbols against the only true God. They’re so cautious to their Muslim audience, yet, when it comes to Christians, they are so cool with it that it becomes normal today.

I like the cause portrayed in the movie, but I despise the whole “Eye” thing.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—M. J., age 16 (Philippines)
Comments from non-viewers
Negative—Fellow Christians, it is time to make a stand, would you watch the movie in the presence of Jesus. Please think about that when you go see any movie, just because a movie doesn’t show full nudity, doesn’t make it safe. We as God’s children should not want to expose ourselves to anything that would taint God’s vessel, including cleavage or anything so form fitting that the individual might as well be nude. Protect yourselves and the Holy Spirit within.
—M. West, age 37 (USA)

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