Sunday, 23 June 2013


Directed by Louis Leterrier. With Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Dave Franco.


'The Closer you look the less you'll see.' runs the ad for this magic trick and Morgan Freeman's voice over. Which is good advice, I'd advise viewing this film from well over 50 miles away, while watching and enjoying something else altogether.

For me the magic trick was wondering why Hollywood bank rolled this bland, generic, dull thunker of a movie in the first place. But since it's been a surprise smash hit it just goes to show I don't have the foggiest idea what I'm talking about. Actually there was a time when this sort of film would have been great, the 1970s before the advent of CGI, but that overused trick pony now makes these sort of films utterly unbelievable.

Four tricksters, con-men and magicians are recruited by a mysterious hooded figure for some nefarious reason that seems to have something to do with a dead magician and another, now ex-magician, who  makes his living debunking other magicians on TV, which might have something else to do with a big banker and a very angry FBI agent with a serious coffee addiction and his French, Interpol, sidekick. 

So, these four young (apart from Woody Harrelson) magicians  call themselves the Four Horse Men and ingratiate themselves with their audiences by giving away millions of dollars in huge Las Vegas staged arena shows.

Hmm, cue lots of 'magic' courteous of the fore amentioned, whinged-at CGI which, in these sorts of films just makes everything look less real and more artificial, but since the staged magic shows don't have a warm up act and seem to consist of one single trick they're already pretty unbelievable in the first place.

There are lots of things wrong with this, the major failings being Jesse Eisneberg, the CGI, the story, the effects, the idea, the utter lack of the ability to dispend your disbelief and the CGI which I don't think I've mentioned yet, but it's really jarring and does nothing to convince you that anything you're seeing is anything other than CGI.

Morgan Freeman,  Michael Caine and Woody Harrelson all phone in their performances and deserve far better than this. Jesse Eisenberg who I thoroughly enjoyed in Zombieland is just grating and irritating in this and I don't know if Mark Zuckerberg is as irritating as Eisenberg, but I bet when he watched the Social Network he said, 'My voice isn't that irritating, is it?'.

The most amazing trick this film pulls off is making 115 minutes feel like 230.

It's utterly unmemorable and pointless but it's not as bad as some of the shit I've seen this year, so who knows you might enjoy it.


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