Director: J.D. Dillard
Cast: Jacob Latimore, Seychelle Gabriel, Dulé Hill
Release Date: August 1, 2017
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 8/10
Disc Rating: 7/10
From the producer of Get Out comes a superhero story like you’ve never seen before. Bo (Jacob Latimore, Collateral Beauty) is a young street magician who is left to raise his little sister after his parents pass away. To keep a roof over their heads, he takes on a job selling drugs for psychopathic drug dealer Angelo (Dulé Hill, TV’s Psych). When he realizes he’s in too deep and that he and his sister are at risk, Bo uses his magic to find a way out in this inventive and original film.
‘Sleight’ takes viewers into the challenging and dangerous life of street magician Bo (Latimore) who following the loss of both parents is struggling to provide for his younger sister and himself. Currently pulling in some extra funds by operating as a talented street magician by day, and accumulating a far more substantial income selling drugs at night, Bo’s life is swiftly thrown into further disarray when his involvement with the drug lord he sells for (Hill) sets in motion a dangerous chain of events that could put the few remaining people he cares about in danger as a result. With his options quickly becoming fewer, Bo must attempt to take his magical abilities to the next level if he’s to stand any chance of being able to protect those he loves as well as himself.
Directed by J.D. Dillard (Judy Goose) from a script he additionally co-wrote with Alex Theurer (TV’s Intervention), Dillard does a pretty fantastic job at the helm of ‘Sleight’ passionately guiding this dark, emotional thriller along its path. The film also owes some of the credit to the talented folks that comprise the cast including Jacob Latimore (The Maze Runner), Seychelle Gabriel (TV’s Falling Skies), Dulé Hill (TV’s Ballers), Storm Reid (12 Years A Slave), Sasheer Zamata (Yoga Hosers) and more, nearly all delivering more than capable performances in each of their respective roles and therefore allowing this incredibly human tale to work so well.
‘Sleight’ is a gloomy and intense thriller that mildly channels the tone of a darker superhero origin story while simultaneously tackling the gritty and violent life involved in drug trafficking and existing with limited options at your disposal in order to survive. Never shying away from the dark activity and unsettling violent nature of the drug game that our hero operates within, it cleverly portrays the somewhat bleak and occasionally disturbing violence to its most effective potential by opting for close-up profile shots of those involved and further excels the tension via perfect musical selections as opposed to throwing the graphic violence directly in your face which both increases the unsettling tone and better provides a glimpse inside the troubled minds of those we are accompanying through this dark journey. Embracing the dark tone and scenery even further by utilizing incredibly dreary and mildly lit shots beautifully, ‘Sleight’ offers a thrilling and emotional look at one young man’s struggle, hope and the lengths at which he is willing to go in order to protect what family he has remaining. Swiftly guided along its tense and powerful course by director J.D. Dillard and his capable guidance is only further complimented by spot on performances from a highly capable cast that includes Jacob Latimore, Seychelle Gabriel, Dulé Hill and more. I would strongly urge anyone that’s already the slightest bit intrigued by ‘Sleight’ to make a point of giving it a shot when you have the opportunity to do so, it’s a clever, gorgeous and well done thriller that’s brimming with heart and passion while offering an experience very similar to some of the darker comic book origin stories and should have no trouble easily holding your attention from start to finish.
Overall, ‘Sleight’ is well crafted and executed thriller about one generally kind young man and the dangerous lifestyle he’s forced to endure in order to provide for his younger sister. Intense, at times somewhat bleak and never forgoing its gritty and gloomy nature in favor of spectacle, it’s a tense, dark and often truly beautiful journey of one good man stuck in a terrible place and absent of additional options that should promptly grab your attention and drag you along until the tense and fitting conclusion. ‘Sleight’ definitely earns my recommendation, particularly for anyone that enjoys a dark and realistic crime thriller with hints of a superhero origin story thrown into the mix, along with anyone that’s a fan of the key cast members. If the general concept or the trailer caught your attention in the slightest, ‘Sleight’ should have no trouble proving itself well worth your time and the cost of a rental at the very least.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Sleight’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks wonderful as a whole and provides a clean, sharp and smooth presentation from start to finish with no notable faults to be found along the way. It holds up impressively even during the frequently gloomy and dark sequences and never allows anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible at any point. Overall, this is a top notch high definition video presentation from Universal complimented by a substantial bitrate that should have no trouble pleasing the masses.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack offers a fairly calm, crisp and clean audio presentation throughout that isn’t afraid to get aggressive when necessary. It takes advantage of all five available channels in order to send the music seeping throughout the various speakers, in addition to allowing crowd chatter and some action effects, along with more to find their way throughout the channels when appropriate and never resulting in any dialogue that may be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible in the process. Overall, this is a solid 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that compliments the film quite well and shouldn’t disappoint.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Sleight’ does not include any bonus content whatsoever.