Wednesday 31 July 2013

Now You See Me…

Minor spoiler-of-the-obvious alert! Don’t you just hate it when a film that you’re really enjoying, that has actors in it that you really love, has an abrupt twist that doesn’t come off right and then charges straight into a flat ending?

Yeah, that sums up nearly all of my reflections of this movie. Maybe I’m being hypercritical or looking at it too much with a writer’s eye, because someone I saw this movie with agreed with me that the ending was flat but thought the twist that came just before it worked.

I, however, can’t help thinking that with the swapping of a couple of key elements, and the removal of the flat (and extremely contrived just-to-leave-room-for-a-sequel thus damaging the impact of the end of the first film) ending you would have an exceptional story and a really good movie.

I don’t want to give away any plot spoilers, and opinions on this one are divided. If it worked for you, great. For me, the fundamental error here was that the point of view throughout the movie was wrong. Fact. In a book with a protagonist like Watson to Sherlock Holmes, set slightly to the side of the main character, this would have been a brilliant story. Translate that onto film, with the point of view remaining ever so slightly to the side of the main character, and you would have had a winner.

Instead you have a film with a huge reveal that did not reward or shock the audience to the degree that it should have. Another reason for this is that the misdirection throughout the film was too obvious – the viewer knows they are being misdirected – the impact of which is that in the end they don’t believe any of it to enough of a degree to invest emotionally. The reveal, therefore, does not work.

When the film got to the end I wanted to jump into the reel, wind it back about 5 minutes, do a very quick re-write and switch the places of two characters, then let it play. Abracadabra! (Oh yeah, had to get that in there!) I think you would have had an extremely clever film, but more importantly, you would have had one that rewarded the reader at the end and made their investment (time, concentration, etc.) worth it.

Elloise Hopkins.


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