Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Now You See Me: Voodoo Shop & Atlas Interrogation Clips

It's great to see Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine in a clip together, especially in a clip with so much tension:
If that wasn't enough, here is a near "mirror-image" of a threat by Atlas (Eisenberg) to Hobbs (Ruffalo) which is quite interesting:
So, what do we have?
Second clip first.
We have discussed the images from this interrogation scene previously (please see the caption information in Now You See Me Opening Scene for more) and all that appears to be holding true (at least with the bit we have seen heretofore). What is most striking now, however, is how,... "traditional" the interrogation room is where Atlas is being held compared to the glass (or whatever clear material that is being used) of the prison cells for Loki in The Avengers, Silva in Skyfall, John Harrison in Star Trek Into Darkness and Loki again in Thor the Dark World. We have speculated that the clear prisons makes the captors think they are "seeing everything" to be seen, but the villains in these prisons always actually want to be there, so the more transparent the prison is, the more we should be alerted to what we are not seeing of the villain's plans. Back to Now You See Me: if Atlas and the others are being held for the theft of $140 million dollars (the number tossed around in one of the trailers we have seen) that might be a substantial enough sum to warrant a clear prison cell, or just the director's decision. The point I hope to establish is, the film makers have "bucked" a trend/fashion in films as of late to place the criminal (Atlas) in a more typical criminal environment we are used to seeing from TV shows. The room--with its plain, grayish walls and florescent lighting--actually reminds me of images of the bank vault we have been seeing in the trailers so that will be something for us to consider as we watch the film, are there are any "spaces" in the film similar to each other? 
Arthur Tressler (Caine) doesn't look happy--maybe the depressing blue he's wearing accentuates that state of an uneasy mind. Given the conflict of the clip above with Thaddeus (Freeman) we really have no idea what is going on in this clip but there is an important detail of the story in that the Four Horseman magicians reveal a white collar criminal in one of the shows and take his millions and pipe it into the bank accounts of the audience during one of their magic shows; they also tend to try targeting "corrupt" businesses for their tricks (rather like The East with Ellen Page). I have speculated--and I am probably wrong, but hey, so what--that Arthur is the "author" of the Four Horseman's crimes and he uses them first, to frame himself as an alibi, then as either a means for collecting insurance/attacking his enemies/competition. We can tell by the windows they are in a private jet; Atlas is not there, but the brunette I think is Atlas' groupie. Henley (Fisher) wears a black glove that rather looks like the kind OJ Simpson would wear if he was going to kill someone and it is certainly ominous that she stands behind Arthur. Merritt's (Harrelson) hat being in his hand reveals or exposes that he isn't covering anything up but we have to ask, where is Atlas? Just in the background somewhere or is the rest of the group setting him up? Its possible that Arthur is in some way the Horseman's hostage, but I rather think--and, again, I am probably wrong--that making the strong arm threats he makes to Thaddeus in the clip above, that he isn't likely to be intimidated by anyone.
Back to the first clip.
It's easy to see class-struggle--"My bank account is bigger than yours"--at work, but the two characters are in a store selling voodoo dolls (I don't know where the store is or if it sells only voodoo items) and that's where the real arrogance is demonstrated by Arthur, that Thaddeus is no more than a doll in his hand, the same way Atlas treats Hobbs as a rodent. What we have at work is very directed psychoanalysis, that is, what the characters are doing reveals what they are thinking. Arthur picks up a voodoo doll because--using his lawyers and money--he plans on making Thaddeus suffer just like a witch pricking a doll with a spell on it (think of Pirates Of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides); Atlas throws out the phrase, "Like white on mice" because he's thinking of Hobbs in terms of a rodent, but--specifically--a white mouse that is probably used in laboratory research and is pricked by a doctor like a voodoo doll by a witch.... 
What is the real "eye draw" in this image? Well, for me, it has to be the garlic hanging up on Arthur's left side. The long, vertical white contrasts with the blinding rectangle of light on Thaddeus' left side. Why the garlic? It's one of the primary means of warding off vampires. Arthur reads something, so whatever it is he reads in this scene should be properly "contextualized" of taking place in a voodoo store with garlic.
Without a doubt, there is far more analysis to be done on these clips, but not knowing more about the context and events, I am not going any further right now except to say, I can't be more excited for this to come out,...
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner
This might be nothing more than a publicity image and not actually appear in the film, however, if it does, it provides some "reflection" for our minds to work on. With white the dominant color of the background, the areas of shade create a "gray" dimension, and we should be alert to possible "gray areas" of the film, especially in the realm of the moral, and how--if at all--the film/characters exploit or explore those gray areas of magic or money. Atlas appears to be in a prison uniform, then again, this might actually be a warehouse or studio where the Four Horseman arrange and experiment with their tricks. It's not a prison uniform, but it looks that way (since it's gray, it might refer to his state as a "pilgrim," that Atlas really doesn't know as much as he thinks he does, or it might refer to a state of penance about something; another possibility is a sign of "decay" because corpses turn gray or, simply, if he himself has exploited gray areas and it shows in his character, etc. but, again, he wears a blue shirt underneath and we should, therefore, look for any sign of depression he might be hiding under the surface). Looking like a prisoner with a glass over his head suggests that (because he can't see himself) Atlas might be a prisoner of his own lack of self-reflection (possibly leading to his depression he might be refusing to acknowledge). This will be an interesting scene, especially if there is anyone else involved with it, but we can be sure, wherever we see a mirror in the film, it's "reflecting" something we need to note.