Now You See Me, Now You Don't (aka Most látszom, most nem látszom) Movie Review
Written by Steve Pattee
What have you done to my son? – Mom
Written and Directed by Attila Szász
2005, 30 minutes, Not rated
Ernõ Fekete as Dad
Dóra Létay as Mom
Vitéz Ábrahám as Alex
When I think of low budget, my first thought isn't Hungary. Hell, when I think of movies in general, I have to admit Hungary has never crossed my mind. But after watching Now You See Me, Now You Don't, I should reconsider if it is any indication of the untapped potential this country has to offer.
NYSM's story is neither impressive nor original, but because of some beautiful camera work, great direction, stellar acting and a haunting score, this 30-minute short leaves an indelible mark on the brain long after it's over.
Dóra Létay and Ernõ Fekete play a married couple whose love between them left long ago. These two are so cold to each other, I'm surprised I didn't see their frosty breath as they interacted. It seems they are only together for their young son (who is well acted by Vitéz Ábrahám).
So what happens when scientist Dad comes home with a strange box and, the next thing you know, their son has disappeared. Not disappeared in the classic sense (as in gone), but in the sense that he is now invisible. Needless to say Mom is more than a little upset.
While the story itself is predictable — you'll call it in the first 10 minutes — NYSM has a lot going for it, starting with the cinematography. Director of photography Tamás Keményffy paints a beautiful canvas with a plethora of eye candy in such a relatively short time. Be it contemplative close ups or poignant wides, Now You See Me, Now You Don't really is a moving picture.
The acting by both Fekete and Létay is excellent. These two play the distant couple completely believable. A telling scene of the two's skill is when they are on the porch discussing their how their day went. While they are talking to each other, neither is listening — and neither cares. It's a moving scene for such little said, and it's painfully obvious the two are under a dark cloud of despair.
One thing that slightly hurts the film, though, is it goes on about eight minutes too long. It's a fine eight minutes, sure, and it manages to work within the context of the short. But it also manages to rip away any power what its true ending should have. It would be like watching eight additional minutes of Dawn of the Dead (1978), after Peter and Francine escape in the helicopter to destinations unknown. You might see where they are headed, but it makes the struggle to the roof almost a moot point and less powerful.
Writer/director Attila Szász has virtually nothing listed on IMDB (his only other credit is a producer's credit for Áldott állapot), and if this is his first feature, then…wow. It's very rare that someone hits the playing field so strongly, and Szász has a hell of a future ahead of him if this is just a taste of things to come.
While audio, video and special features won't be graded (as this is a screener), the Hungarian DTS track has a fantastic mix that's coupled with an impressive score.
The film's MySpace page has instructions on how to obtain the Now You See Me, Now You Don't, but the caveat looks to be you have to join some sort of club in order to purchase it. Here's to hoping that the filmmakers find a way to release it independently, as the steps involved may turn off potential buyers, which would be a shame.