Saturday, April 29, 2017

Sleight (2016)

IMDb plot 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. 
Directed by J.D. Dillard. Starring Jacob Latimore, Seychelle Gabriel, Dule Hill, and Storm Reid.

(Spoilers ahead.)

This is an intriguing movie. The trailers made it look like a very different movie than it seemed to be for the first hour and a half. Let me get into spoiler territory here -- I fully expected this to be much more superhero than it was, because the trailers amped up that aspect. Now I wonder if that was a marketing mistake, because the movie itself does *not* zero in on the superhero aspect until a good hour in, possibly longer. But then I wonder if it had been marketed solely as a crime movie, would I have felt the abrupt addition of superpowers was a copout, an unsatisfactory genre switch? I think the best way to tackle this would have been to tease us earlier and more often with the idea that Bo had Tony Stark-style superpowers, and to make it clearer. No cover-ups, no hints that maybe he's just really good at misdirection. By the time the actual superpowers rolled around, I'd basically decided they didn't exist, but then their reveal wasn't a twist so much as a "FINALLY!" eye roll.

That being said, it's actually a pretty fun movie, if very messy. Our hero is likable, Dule Hill is an excellent villain, and I like the way it does become an unconventional superhero flick. I wish there had been a little bit more polish to the script to make things a more satisfying ride, but it's a fresh new take on these stories, and I appreciate that even if it's a bit muddled in the execution.

3.5 stars.

How it entered my Flickchart:
Sleight > Thoughtcrimes
Sleight < Gone in 60 Seconds
Sleight > The Red Shoes
Sleight < Two Weeks Notice
Sleight > The Duellists
Sleight > Draft Day
Sleight < The Lady Vanishes
Sleight < Shaolin Soccer
Sleight < The Terminal
Sleight > The Tree of Life
Sleight > Frances Ha

Final spot: #852 out of 2612.

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