Sleight (2017) Review

sleight-movie

Summary: A young street magician 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.
There might be mild spoilers ahead. 
Pros:
Cast and Characters. There’s really only one character that this film truly follows. However, there are some supporting characters who are involved with the hero’s story and for the most part everyone is interesting enough for this film.
  • Jacob Latimore as Bo. I’m interested to see what else Jacob Latimore does, because so far I’m pretty impressed with him. His character Bashir “Bo” has taken up the mantle of being the parent in his household as his mother died a year before and there’s really no mention of their father. He has given up his future of an Engineering scholarship in order to support his sister. He performs magic tricks on the street and he also drug deals. He’s an interesting character because throughout this movie, he’s just trying to make things better for his sister but he’s not making good decisions in order to do that. Bo is a subdued character, he’s very mild mannered actually, he doesn’t raise his voice ever actually. He carries himself like he’s putting on a front, there’s a scene towards the end where he just breaks down and that was a beautiful moment. He’s trying so hard in the best ways he thinks he knows how. Jacob Latimore does a good job carrying this movie. He did a very good job with playing the various amounts of emotions this character goes through. The love of performing magic and pride he feels when he sees spectators enjoying his tricks. The emotions of feeling like he’s against the wall when he knows he wants to get out of the drug dealer but that life isn’t an easy one to leave. He definitely carries this film.
  • Seychelle Gabriel as Holly. She starts out as the love interest, as soon as he meets her, it’s easy to tell that he is attracted to her. As they get to know each other, they spend a lot of time together and we get to see their relationship grow on screen. I didn’t think it was forced or rushed. She was a good supporting person for Bo, she learned about his life, she cared for his sister whenever Bo had to go off with Angelo, she got invested. She was very loyal. It’s also learned that she has her own battles to face and when Bo discovers them, he tries to be there for her as well. In terms of them being there for each other it’s pretty even, as he offers support for her as well. It’s actually really cute. I thinks she’s fine, she could be replaced with any young actress to be honest, so I don’t think she stood out in terms of her acting but her character was a nice addition.
  • Dule Hill as Angelo. I’ve never seen him in anything but Holes. So anytime I see him I think “I can fix that” lol but this character was intimidating, he was charismatic in a scary way and and Dule Hill did a great job portraying that. He had this little “devil may care” smile going on that he flashed but that did not mean there was a good attitude on the other side of that smile. He was the supplier for Bo’s drugs and at first, he seems like a cool dude until he finds out about another dealer then it just takes a dark turn. He goes to threaten the dude, when the dude doesn’t agree to his conditions, he gets even more extreme, even forcing Bo to do the dirty work. He’s just a terrible scary person. I don’t want to spoil anything but the last 2/3s of the film he turns against Bo (for a reason) and he definitely puts the fear into Bo. Dule Hill was really good in his role, he was able to be larger than life and he was good every time he was on screen.
  • Supporting Characters. Storm Reid plays Tina Wolfe, Bo’s little sister and Sasheer Zamata plays Georgie, a neighbor and they’re both good in their roles as well. Storm Reid is adorable, she loves her older brother (she looks so unlike him that it is a bit jarring lol) but she does her job in loving him, worrying about him and idolizing him. Georgie is fine in that she’s an adult that they need in their lives, she helps out when he needs her, she is an adult voice in this world where Bo is out there on his own, she doesn’t want him to be a drug dealer, she even says that it’s not her place but she doesn’t want him to do this. It’s good for him to have an adult in his life who had a positive hand on his shoulder. Frank Clem as Dr. Granger shows up in the last act of the film as a last resort, Bo goes to him for help and he does his job.
The “Magic”. Okay, so the trailers says this is a mix between Iron Man and Chronicle and that’s not completely wrong. But if you go into this thinking there’s “magic” then that’s the wrong idea. Bo can do amazing things that he puts off as magic which is fine because a magician never reveals their secrets and he only does it twice, to Holly and Dr. Granger (and the audience). It’s pretty cool though. There’s a particular sound that is matched to his movements and abilities. There’s many things we see him do that are really cool, parlor tricks but once you learn how he has these powers it makes you look at it differently.
It’s Low Key/Quiet. This film is a bit chill, the tone is a relaxed one. It’s not over the top, the little bits of violence may be (but the only part that is they don’t show). This film lives and breathes by Jacob Latimore and the film takes it’s direction from him.
An Origin Story. I know these days people are like ugh origin stories but this one is so very different. It focuses solely on Bo and his story, and with the way it ended, it definitely leaves it open for a sequel. It would be interesting to see where Bo’s story goes from here, he created his abilities, what else could he do? I want to know.
Emotional Scene. There’s a scene at the end, it’s after the climax and the film is almost over, Bo handles some business and then gets into a car with Holly and Tina and he just breaks down crying. The girls look at him and they both hug him. I’m a contagious crier and I teared up, but I also felt that. He’s been playing parent for about a year and I assume he’s 19 years old. That’s a lot, to give up everything he had going for him to take care of his sister and in this moment, all of that, plus what he did that night all hit him. It was a great scene.
Cons:
Anti-climatic. It feels like this movie isn’t really building up to anything. It’s just an experience that we’re going on which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but once the second half happens, it kind of amps up and there’s more happening and then the climax happens and while I was wondering if Bo was going to make a bad choice, the whole moment wasn’t necessarily filled with tension. At least not for me. I was expecting a bit more.
The “magic” Details. So it’s shown that Bo is very smart, probably borderline genius when it comes to Engineering. There are pictures of him getting an award, there are trophies, etc. There might be spoilers here, warning. There is something he did to give himself these powers and while he talks about it to Holly, kind of explains why he got into magic, he never actually states how he did this. It’s so interesting to me and while Dr. Granger kind of exposits a few big words of what he needs to do for more power, and they kind of talk about some of the details of what’s there, it’s explained or shown at HOW he did it and that bugged the crap out of me. I wanted to know. Especially with all of the things that start happening at the end, I felt like it needed to be explained.
No Consequences. So Bo does a lot of desperate things, or things out of fear but NOTHING happens to him. Well, maybe one thing that deals with the drug dealer but the other things he does, nothing really happens to him.
Overall, I really liked this film. I wasn’t sure what to expect. The first trailer made me go “meh” and then I kept seeing trailers and I got more and more interested. I liked Jacob Latimore in Collateral Beauty, one of the few things I liked about that movie and he really stood on his own here. He led this movie in such a quiet and understated way. His character is very likable, he makes some terrible mistakes but you want to see him win. The power aspects of this film are really cool, I wish I could have learned how he did it, it’s definitely something I was curious about that I don’t think the movie delivered on explaining. It is a bit anti-climatic at the end, it didn’t need to be grand and it does fit the tone of the film but it feels like a slow burn that didn’t lead up to where it could have. The end did seem to hint at a possible sequel which I am interested in seeing. I can’t wait to see what might happen next.
Rating: 3.80 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Sleight? If so, what did you think about it? If not, are you interested? Let me know in the comments below!
P.S. While I watching this film, I couldn’t help but to think about Jacob Latimore pulling off a pretty good Virgil Hawkins AKA Static Shock. I think it’s important that Virgil is brown skinned, this character reminded me of him, just add a bit more goofiness to him and he was Virgil. I would support that.
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