A young street magician (Jacob Latimore) is left to care for his little sister after their parents passing, and turns to illegal activities to keep a roof over their heads. When he gets in too deep, his sister is kidnapped, and he is forced to use his magic and brilliant mind to save her.
1080p, Dolby Digital 5.1, 2.40:1 Aspect Ratio
2016, Rated R, 1 hour 30 minutes
Starring: Jacob Latimore, Seychelle Gabriel, Sasheer Zamata, Storm Reid, Cameron Esposito
Directed by: JD Dillard
Ever since I was young I always have been a fan of magic, particularly sleight of hand. So even the title, Sleight, interested me when I first heard about this film. The story focuses on a young man named Bo who had everything going for him – a nice scholarship, good single-parent family, a teacher/mentor who gave him a lot of support – but when tragedy struck again, taking his mother (his father had already died), he was forced to blaze a new path to support his sister. Knowing that his simple street magic act wouldn’t suffice, Bo turns to dealing drugs. The story of a kid turning to crime as a need is not new, but the way in which everything plays out made for an excellent story. Rather than turn her back on her newfound love interest, Holly, who’d met Bo during one of his street acts, goes all in to help and support him. Together they never give up through some drastic downturns in their luck.
Though it is a mostly a lesser known cast, the acting throughout is superb. I thought every single player did a fantastic job with their roles. Dulé Hill plays the apparently benevolent top dog drug kingpin, Angelo, providing a good job to Bo. Yet he is not exactly what he seems to be – and Hill does a masterful job of keeping the character believable throughout. Seychelle Gabriel plays Holly, a young woman working a job and going to school while dealing with issues at home. The incredible thing about her character is the empathy and selflessness – she puts aside her troubles and, at least temporarily, her goals to help Bo through his crisis. And, of course, Jacob Latimore’s performance as Bo was terrific. It was a wonderfully complete performance, touching a wide range of emotions and situations. He was both powerless, and powerful, something not easily done, especially this well. While Latimore has already had a couple of nice roles, I can see him gaining more and more traction in his industry.
I return to the magic element as being one of the things that makes what appears to be a rather unoriginal story in fact, quite unique. Bo has honed his repertoire to go well beyond simple sleight of hand tricks. He has designed his own illusions sometimes at a detriment to his own health. At one point in the movie Bo tells Holly essentially that the difference between someone doing a trick and a real magician is that the real magician is willing to go to extremes for the sake of the trick. That line struck me since it also applies to his life – he was willing to become something he never intended to be simply for the sake of providing for his sister.
While not on anyone’s most popular lists of films to see from 2016, I highly recommend Sleight. It is well-told story that anyone can enjoy.
The video presentation of Sleight is excellent – images and colors were crisp and detailed. The scenes in which Bo performed magic tricks were shot in such a way that enhanced the feeling of awe you see in the audience. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack didn’t offer anything radically special, but it qualified as solid.
- Digital Copy