Pick a plot – any plot

I don’t watch, or read, many mystery narratives. So I always feel slightly under-equipped to reflect on narratives that centre around mysteries. Is there some standard trope, or an inversion of one, that I’m missing? What’s the benchmark for a classic piece?

With that in mind, I enjoyed Now you see me, but in a superficial way. It had bright lights and action, and glimpses of an interesting story-line. But it didn’t have any depth to it.

The premise is an exciting one. Four performers, operating in settings out of the limelight – after the opening scene, they’re brought together mysteriously, and then another scene later they’re opening a huge show in Vegas.

From there, we learn very little, but a lot is suggested / implied / hinted at. They may be getting secret instructions from a hidden order of magicians (or are they?), and they are robbing banks (aren’t they?). All the while a helpless FBI agent is trying to track them down, and resolve the romantic tension with his Interpol partner.

[SPOILER ALERT: From here on out it’s the endings – don’t read if you’re keen to enjoy the suspense of a plot twist]. 

The resolution, when it came, felt un-earned to me. Throughout the movie a set of questions about who is manipulating whom are juggled lightly, rather than dealt with in earnest. At points it feels like the movie is struggling to pick a plot, in the same way the magicians hold up a pack of cards, asking some chump in the audience to pick one.

At the end, there’s a resolution of sorts. But it comes through giving new information to the viewer, rather than through any difficult choice a character’s made.

Having said that, I felt less annoyed about the conclusion than I have in other movies (I’m looking at you, Ocean’s Twelve). I’m not sure why that was. Perhaps a more likeable protagonist? Either way, I didn’t feel as annoyed at the end as I have in some movies.

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