Three Reasons Why I Enjoyed NYSM…and One Reason I Didn’t
MILD SPOILER ALERT: there’s a couple of mild spoilers below, but I’ll warn you to skip the rest of the sentence they’re contained in.
I’d heard only bad things about NYSM, but — despite the two bogans who brought their irritable toddlers to the session I attended, and the guy with ants his pants in my row who kept changing seats — I found myself truly enjoying this movie.
Here’s 3 reasons why…
1. Pace. There’s no slack in the storytelling at all. No downtime. No yawn-factor. If I’d been desperate to use the toilet, I’d have held onto my bladder, because I just couldn’t afford to miss a scene. Even the dialog is pacey.
On one hand this makes you overlook a couple of places where (in a slower story), you might say “Waaaaait a minute…”. On the other hand, it makes it fun, funny, tense, exciting, captivating and (in a way) believable.
Which brings me to my next point.
2. I believed. All the way to two minutes before the end (see Point 4 below). Or rather, I wanted to believe. Which is just as good. The use of magician’s techniques in the scriptwriting and direction is excellent and leaves you feeling duped in that “wow!” way of a great magic show.
(SPOILER:) In fact there was a magic trick early on that seemed to have suckered half the people in the cinema audience (judging by the chuckles, gasps and whispered “Did you…?”s I heard around me. It got me too!
3. Characterisation. The constellation of characters was expertly created and cast (as in actors). I was particularly taken with the way each character (see the image above — there’s a lot of them) has their own motivation that makes complete sense, and most have something to gain and something to lose.
We’re held at a distance from the “Four Horsemen” magicians and only get close to three (arguably) peripheral characters. But even that is really a device to keep us guessing.
Mark Ruffalo has fast become one of my favourite actors and he doesn’t disappoint in this as the surly trying-hard FBI agent. And hey, what’s not to love about another movie casting Harrelson and Eisenberg together?
4. But. The final two minutes left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. It took me about a half hour afterwards to work out why.
(SPOILER:) The romance just wasn’t believable. Which was a damn shame in a movie that had held me all that time. And to end on that romantic note was a little … well … weird. It seemed tacked on and pointless. There were other ways that the information it provided could have been shared with the audience. I just didn’t see a reason for these two characters to feel deeply about each other.
FINAL VERDICT: It’s no Inception, but it’s a fun ride nevertheless.
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