“SLEIGHT” stars; Jacob Latimore, Seychelle Gabriel, Dulé Hill, Storm Reid, and is directed by J.D. Dillard. The story follows Bo, a young man who is forced to take after his little sister after their mother passes away. He has a bright mind, earned an engineering scholarship, but is unable to accept it now that he has someone to take care of.
To make ends meet he performs as a magician around the city making money from his tricks. He also sells drugs as a temporary means to make bigger money to get he and his sister to a better place. Bo is not proud of this and knows it is wrong, but feels he has little other options and plans on it being a short term plan. Until he gets in way over his head with a local drug-lord named Angelo.
This film was sort of sold as a ground level comic movie. From what the caption on the poster says, “Chronicle Meets Iron Man” and it would be hard to argue that as there are some strong similarities. However, this did not at all feel like a comic movie. It was more like a story about extraordinary power. Some could say, a superhero movie without the cute name and fancy costume, like say, “Unbreakable.” Regardless, it was a film that I found a lot of enjoyment in. With characters I could connect with, and a plot-line that maintained its intrigue.
The performances were very good. Jacob Latimore carries this film and there is no doubt this young man has a bright career ahead of him. He captures this character effectively, with a grounded approach that the viewer can resonate with. You can see his torment and the conflicts he goes through doing what he does. Thus, with Latimore’s performance, the writing for his character, and his progression in the story, you can sympathize and relate to him despite being a kid that sells drugs for money. It’s realistic, it isn’t glamorized, or added with unneeded drama, so in the end the impact of the character dynamic is delivered and understood completely.
Seychelle Gabriel brings in a great performance as well. Her character was on the routine side but with the writing she was given, her performance, and her chemistry with Latimore, the young love subplot turned out to be heartwarming and believable. Dulé Hill brings in a strong performance as well in what I would consider another generic character. Hill’s delivery conveys some energy and charisma that enable him to make the most out of a bland crime-boss character type. Watching his performance though it was easy to see that if the writing had given him more to work with, he could have brought this film a much more engaging and impactful antagonist.
The story was certainly interesting. It was unique, it was engaging and built more than enough intrigue to generate viewer interest. This story had me connected to the characters and compelled by how the plot would unfold, and for any film that is a success. This movie took a creative idea and wove it into a story-line that showed some ambition in wanting to bring something new to the screen. It did have some pacing issues. The second-act on the back end did drag a bit but it wasn’t a major hindrance to the overall entertainment.
The third-act was also a little on the underwhelming side but it didn’t feel like a damper on the film that led up to it. For a story that maintained a grounded direction and approach, had the third-act tried to go too over-the-top with the spectacle it would have felt out of place in my opinion. But for the minuscule budget this project had to work with, they created something to be proud of. It was a large scope story in a sense, but captured perfectly with a small budget.
Yes there were some plot holes and the story could have had a little more depth to the third-act wrap-up, but it was still a creative film with a fresh concept and I do recommend it. “Sleight” breaks the mold and stands on its own legs with some solid enjoyment to be had in the script as well as the performances.