Minor Spoilers Ahead Bo (Jacob Latimore) is a kid that's had some terrible events thrust upon him. He had scholarships to post-secondary education planned but the death of his parents robs him of those dreams. His passion is magic and one year after the death of his mother, he performs as a street magician. He meets Holly (Seychelle Gabriel) through one of his shows and she's immediately drawn to him. They try to pursue a relationship together when Jacob can shake free from his other job as a low-level drug dealer for local kingpin Angelo (Dule Hill). Angelo takes a shine to Bo though and gradually tries to introduce him to some of the seedier elements of his business. Leading this kind of double life rarely works so while Bo tries to remain clean, he can't keep it up and finds himself needing to pull a disappearing act.
The trailers for Sleight presented a different movie than the movie I ended up watching. The marketing really leaned on a part of the movie that only ended up happening in the last 15 minutes. But this was one of those rare instances where I wasn't disappointed by this because I ended up really digging the movie for reasons that were completely divorced from the marketing. The first and maybe the most important was this movie had some excellent character depthdevelopment. Bo is neither a boy scout or a hardened criminal, he's a kid that's been dropped into an extremely tough situation. Sure, he does some illegal stuff but until things escalate, it's all minor and at least understandable. He takes good care of his sister and when you couple his good intentions with his gift for magic, he's very easy to root for. Holly isn't as developed but she also has a tough background and she develops an effortless bond with Bo. You also want to root for their relationship. I liked Angelo as a character too, he's duplicitous by nature but he does that well. You can see how Bo would be taken in by him and how he's so surprised when Angelo's darker side comes to the surface. This movie does an all-around exemplary job of introducing easy-to-like characters and letting them grow naturally.
The other misleading thing about the trailer is that it makes this look like it has some elements of Now You See Me in a more grounded environment. That's not what this movie is, Bo's tricks are cool and well-filmed but they aren't the basis for the movie. We get glimpses of Bo's street magician performances but they're more meant to show the extent of his abilities and his dedication to the craft. This is a drama, not a heist film so just know that going in.
Sleight is also carried by excellent performances. I had seen Jacob Latimore in supporting roles in Collateral Beauty and Detroit. He was good in both those movies but after seeing this, I think he's got a strong future as a leading man. He's excellent in Sleight, Bo isn't a loud or magnetic character, he has charisma but he's more of a quiet guy who uses his charm to perform. Through Jacob's performance you identify with him and there wasn't any point in the movie where I wasn't feeling sorry for him or hoping he was going to make it out okay. Seychelle Gabriel holds her own as Holly. She has an easy chemistry with Latimore that helps you buy into their relationship. Storm Reid isn't given a whole lot to do but she's good as Bo's sister. I also really must credit Dule Hill as Angelo. You wouldn't think he would be an effective villain but he's pitch perfect. One moment he's really charismatic and he draws you in but in the next scene he's intimidating and frightening.
Sleight doesn't really carry a lot the trappings of a super hero film and even after watching it, I'm not sure how much I want to put it in that category. It works so well as a crime drama that the stuff at the end is so different, I couldn't help but feel a little put off by it. I think they did it well and the movie does an excellent job making this feel like an authentic story to that point. I just didn't enjoy it as much as I enjoyed the rest of the film.
Sleight is one of those movies I love discovering. I tried to catch this in theatres but the movie had such a small release that it wasn't playing anywhere near me. This movie fires on all cylinders as it succeeds in doing things that even some movies with huge budgets can't accomplish (developing interesting characters, building realistic tension and coercing great performances out of their leads). I couldn't completely get on board with the ending and that's what keeps me from giving it a 9 (Jacob's powers also stretch plausibility but we buy that heroes are gifted with all sorts of stupid abilities). I would objectively rate this an 8.510 and I would absolutely recommend checking this out.
Review by CANpatbuck3664 from the Internet Movie Database.