Follow TV Tropes


Film / Sleight

Go To

Sleight is a 2016 Science Fiction Crime Drama directed by J.D. Dillard and starring Jacob Latimore, Seychelle Gabriel, Dulé Hill, Storm Reid, and Sasheer Zamata.

Set in Los Angeles, young street magician Bashir "Bo" Wolfe (Latimore) with a specialty for magnetics-related tricks resorts to drug dealing to care for him and his younger sister Tina (Reid) following the death of their parents. However, increasing exposure to the true sadistic colors of his charismatic supplier Angelo (Hill) further motivates him to leave his criminal lifestyle behind, especially once he meets and begins a relationship with another girl his age named Holly (Gabriel). But of course, these things are never that easy...

This film provides examples of:

  • Abusive Mom: Holly's mom gets drunk to cope with her divorce and regularly beats her while under the influence.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Angelo collapses to the floor and begs Bo not to kill him after he threatens to ram a bullet through his skull with his upgraded magnets. Bo complies
  • An Arm and a Leg: The primary indicator of Angelo being batshit insane is when he forces Bo to chop off Maurice's hand with a meat cleaver.
  • Bad Boss: Angelo demands Bo pay up $45,000 by the end of the week for skimming $15,000 for himself and Tina.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Possibly a result of Special Effects Failure, but in certain scenes where Bo and Holly are shown with bruises on their faces, the injuries disappear by the next scene.
  • Big Bad: Angelo, Bo's drug supplier.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Bo absolutely loves his little sister and is understandably pissed when Angelo kidnaps her.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Bo and Holly have one after bonding over their troubled lives.
  • Black and Nerdy: Bo is a very intelligent young man smart enough to construct electromagnets. The opening scene even reveals he'd earned a scholarship in engineering.
  • Body Horror:
    • To fully dedicate himself to his tricks, Bo builds his electromagnets into his arm. From how it looks, it may be infected.When he ups the power with a car battery the wire ends up overheating and burn his arm from the inside.
    • Discussed but not shown: Bo's inspiration for implanting the magnets directly into his arm was a magician he'd once met whose trick was stabbing a knife directly through his hand only to pull it back out uninjured. When finally asked how he'd done it, the magician revealed he really did stab into his hand all those times and just did it so much, he'd dug a hole straight through his hand that he'd always cover up with latex.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Mr. Granger, one of Bo's high school teachers. First appearing offscreen in a phone call to Bo offering his condolences for his mother's death, he reappears again later in person to help make advancements to Bo's magnets.
  • Disappeared Dad: Holly tells Bo her dad is living off in Arizona, rarely seeing her now.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After everything they've been through, Bo, Holly, and Tina are finally able to start living happy and healthy lives together in San Diego.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: Bo in the finale when he strengthens the power of his magnets to rescue Tina from Angelo.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Angelo seems like a nice enough guy at first, even giving Bo extra cash for his first date with Holly. However, his true nature begins to show itself once he discovers rival dealers making way onto his territory.
  • Improvised Weapon: Bo eventually upgrades his magnets to be powerful enough to rip fillings from teeth and even stop bullets.
  • Monochrome Casting: Apart from Bo's teacher, Holly and a few extras, the main cast consists entirely of African-Americans.
  • Nice Guy:
    • Bo, whether he’s talking to his sister, his girlfriend, his audience, or even the criminals he works with.
    • Angelo seems to be this at first. Seems.
    • Meanwhile, Holly is just as sweet and self-sacrificing as Bo, even spending time with Tina when he’s busy and offering to help him pay off his debt to Angelo.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: While a quick view of his scholarship reveals his full name is Bashir, Bo is only ever referred to as Bo.
  • Parental Abandonment: Bo and Tina's mother died recently as the story opens. Their dad had died sometime back too. He gets a Promotion to Parent because of this and struggles supporting her.
  • Pet the Dog: Before going off the deep end, Angelo treats Bo like a younger brother and even gives him an extra hundred dollars for his first date with Holly.
  • Promotion to Parent: Bo and his little sister Tina lost both their parents. As a result, he's become her primary caretaker, while having to deal drugs for the money they need.
  • Trailers Always Lie: The trailers describe the movie as "Chronicle meets Iron Man", implying Bo will use his magic tricks for vigilantism as part of a realistic Genre Deconstruction for superheroes. In reality, Bo doesn't use his magnets for vigilantism until the final 20 minutes of the movie, and aside from that, the movie is more of a typical Crime Drama grounded in reality with no implications of Bo wanting to become a superhero or vigilante at all.
  • Tranquil Fury: Bo lays waste to Angelo's operations without ever raising his voice, only using his heavily improved magnets to prove he means business.