J.D. Dillard’s Sleight shares more than a passing similarity to 2015’s Dope but veers away from the story of a rising mind using the drug trade to even out his chances of success into the land of science fiction and beyond. Both films star winning, fresh faces: Shameik Moore (Malcolm in Dope) and Jacob Latimore as Bo, a street magician whose secret owes as much to STEM education as it does to his own ingenuity and mother wit. When we meet Bo, he and his sister (Storm Reid) have recently been orphaned by the death of their mother. Bo has taken over his sister’s care. He does mindbending, David Blaine-type illusions during the day and sells Molly to annoying hipsters at night. He’s also taken up with a ruthless though sartorially challenged kingpin named Angelo (a convincingly menacing Dule Hill). Bo gets a hand from a kind neighbor named Georgi (Sasheer Zamata) and finds an eager companion in a battered young waitress named Holly (Seychelle Gabriel). As he tells Georgi, he’s dealing drugs to save up enough money to get his sister out of the neighborhoood and into a better school. His plans go sideways when his involvement with Angelo takes a brutal turn and desperation leads him to make a few (more) bad decisions. Dillard has a real star in young Mr. Latimore, and his performance as Bo holds what is at its core a sincere but pretty ridiculous story together.


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