Now-You-See-Me-Official-Movie-TrailerWhat do you get when you cross Ocean’s Eleven with David Copperfield? Now You See Me. Except for the fact that Ocean’s Eleven had an excellent cast and was created as Steven Soderbergh was hitting his peak. Don’t get me wrong, NYSM had an ensemble cast and had a certain style to it, but it was 46% good. I say that because that is the rating according to rotten tomatoes and, I must say, it is pretty accurate.

Now, before you think this is simply going to be a post bashing a certain movie, just hang on a minute. NYSM is a unique film. It’s unique from the standpoint that you can’t simply dismiss it. People often want to say a movie was good or bad, but remember, this movie was 46% good, so we can’t simply label it as bad or good.

The cheese factor was pretty high in this movie. It had many cheesy parts and for some reason those scenes were consigned to Henley Reeves [Isla Fisher] – flying around in a bubble is always cheesy, even if you are a magician.  However, simply casting Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman make the film a bit more reputable, not to mention, Mark Ruffalo playing detective Dylan Rhodes. Even Jesse Eisenberg playing the same role he always plays didn’t bother me all that much.

As you can guess from the trailers and tagline – Come in close, because the more you think you see, the easier it’ll be to fool you – there is a twist at the end of the film. And, even though you know one is coming, it is a pretty good twist. Far-fetched but somewhat believable, as far as movies containing magician-thieves are concerned.

Therefore, exiting this movie with some youth, I was a bit cautioned about giving my final verdict. Was it good or bad? My somewhat vague answer was, It was fun. In many ways it possessed your typical action/thriller/caper levity, but it still engaged the audience and kept you wanting to see the end. It’s a film I probably won’t see again, but one that is enjoyable to discuss with a group (which is exactly what we did) if nothing else, simply discussing all the loopholes in the plot.

All of that to say, “46% good” is a pretty accurate assessment of the movie. It’s not good and it’s not bad, it’s fun.

As far as the theological discussion goes, there are always topics and parallels to discuss. We could discuss our culture’s desire to always have a scene of sensuality present. We could also discuss the film’s themes like the depravity of man. There is some room to ponder “The Eye” as the all-seeing God and the magicians aspiring to fellowship with the Master Magician.

But, the theme that resonated with me the most, was the theme of revenge. Ultimately, this was the foundational theme of the entire film. [spoilers ahead] Dylan Rhodes ends up being the mastermind behind the entire scheme. It was his father that drowned in failed magic trick, which was due in part to Thaddeus Bradley’s [Morgan Freeman] work of exposing magician’s tricks. Since Rhodes was orphaned at the age of 12, he spent his entire life trying to get revenge on Bradley and indeed does exactly that some decades later. For Rhodes, his entire life was devoted to this. It took years of planning and involved many players, and it was ultimately successful. This made me think about God’s master plan.

One could easily say that the Bible is about revenge. God created a people, made a promise to commit himself to those people, they rebelled, and we are waiting for this revenge to finally take place. He is bringing justice on the Devil and all those who have not bowed the knee to him. His plan is one that has taken years to unfold, but a thousand years is like a day to him [2 Peter 3:8]. His plan involves many players, but he is not dependent on them. Revenge is such a theme in movies, because it is such a theme that resonates with us. We all long for justice to come and God promises us that it will. “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says The Lord.””

Rhodes was a son that brought revenge on his enemy. God, too, has a Son who’s bringing revenge on the last great enemy.

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