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Sleight film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJ. D. Dillard
Written by
  • J. D. Dillard
  • Alex Theurer
Produced by
  • Eric B. Fleischman
  • Sean Tabibian
  • Alex Theurer
CinematographyEd Wu
Edited byJoel Griffen
Music byCharles Scott IV
Diablo Entertainment
Distributed by
Release dates
Running time
89 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Box office$4 million[2]

Sleight is a 2016 American superhero drama film[3] about a street magician in Los Angeles.[4] The film is directed by J. D. Dillard, written by Dillard and Alex Theurer and stars Jacob Latimore, Seychelle Gabriel, Dulé Hill, Storm Reid, Sasheer Zamata and Michael Villar. The film was released on April 28, 2017, by WWE Studios and Blumhouse Tilt. The film received generally positive reviews from critics and grossed $4 million worldwide, against its $250,000 budget.


A young street magician named Bo Wolfe (Jacob Latimore) is left to care for his little sister Tina after their parents' death and turns to illegal activities to keep a roof over their heads.

By day, Bo performs magic tricks all over Los Angeles, with his specialty as being able to control anything metal, even float it in the air. He does this by building an electromagnet into his arm, with the negative electrode of the battery running to his thumb and the positive electrode running to his fingers. He first developed the electromagnet in high school for a science project, which earned him an engineering scholarship but he had to turn it down in order to take care of Tina after his mother died.

By night, he sells drugs to pay the bills, seeing it as steady work with his supplier Angelo usually being a nice guy. However, things get ugly when a new kingpin comes in and starts selling drugs cheaper on their turf. Angelo has Bo find this kingpin, so Bo uses his pickpocketing skills as a magician when he goes to a club, managed by Bo's friend Luna, where the new kingpin has his dealers selling.

Bo asks one of the dealers for drugs and pickpockets his phone to look up his call history, and finds out that his supplier's name is Maurice. Angelo finds where Maurice lives, invades his house with Bo and forces Bo to chop off his hand.

Bo then gets in too deep when he tries to skim $15,000 off the money he makes from drug dealing so he and Tina can leave town. When Angelo finds out, he threatens to kill Bo unless he can come up with $45,000 in one week. Bo finds the money, but has to steal the last $9,000 from Luna by watching her unlock the safe when she invites him up to the main office; he pickpockets the office keys as they leave. He waits to have one last drink with Luna, feeling guilty for having stolen from her, yet relieved he may make it out of his predicament alive.

However, Maurice's gang is at the club at the same time. When they spot him, they knock him out, handcuff him and put him in the trunk of a car. Bo manages to escape by using his electromagnet to lift the latches on the handcuffs and trunk, but Maurice stole all his money.

When Tina is kidnapped by Angelo as ransom, he is forced to get back in touch with his old high school science teacher to get more power to his electromagnet. The teacher has an idea to add a feedback oscillator, but warns that it may cause the wires in his arm to overheat.

Bo then goes to Angelo's house with the supplemented electromagnet to find out where Tina is, where he rips out one of his ex-co-worker's gold teeth, hits the other with his own aluminum bat and then sends it flying into the wall. When Angelo goes to shoot him, he stops the bullets and causes the lights to flicker. He then drops the bullets to the floor, picks one up and slowly burrows it into Angelo's forehead to force him to divulge Tina's whereabouts. After Angelo tells Bo that she is with his aunt, he releases the bullet from Angelo and gives him $15,000 before leaving.

Bo goes to pick her up with his arm burnt and they start a new life with Bo's girlfriend Holly in San Diego. As they are getting accustomed to their life, Bo still does street magic as his arm has now healed and Holly walks in on him in the bathroom late at night developing a new trick after waking up to all the lights in the house flickering.



The film premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2016.[1] On January 28, 2016, WWE Studios and BH Tilt acquired distribution rights to the film.[5] The film was released on April 28, 2017, by WWE Studios and BH Tilt.[2]

Box office[edit]

In North America, Sleight was released alongside How to Be a Latin Lover, Baahubali 2: The Conclusion and The Circle, and was projected to gross $1–2 million from 565 theaters in its opening weekend.[6] It ended up debuting to $1.7 million (a per-theater average of $3,012), finishing 14th at the box office.[7]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 80% based on 44 reviews and an average rating of 6.10/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Sleight subverts genre norms, delivering a smart and well-acted – if ultimately somewhat frustrating – magical mystery."[8] On Metacritic, the film has a score 62 out of 100 based on reviews from 18 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[9]


The Sleight soundtrack was put out by Lakeshore Records on May 12, 2017.[10] It contains 28 tracks by various artists, showcasing the original score by Charles Scott IV and including music by Thugli, Georgi Kay, Julien Jabre, Kid Ikarus and AmirSaysNothing.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Lowe, Justin (January 24, 2016). "'Sleight': Sundance Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c "Sleight (2017)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 7, 2017.
  3. ^ "Sleight skillfully crosses an intimate indie drama with a superhero origin story". Vox. Retrieved December 5, 2020.
  4. ^ D'Arcy, David (January 24, 2016). "'Sleight': Sundance Review". Screen Daily. Retrieved February 15, 2017. Sleight, filmed on a slight budget, is an odd amalgam, a gangster drama set on the streets, with a protagonist who solves his problems with magic tricks.
  5. ^ Lang, Brent (January 28, 2016). "WWE, Blumhouse Buy Magician Thriller 'Sleight'". Variety. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  6. ^ Faughnder, Ryan (April 25, 2017). "'The Circle' likely no match for 'Fate' at the box office". Los Angeles Times.
  7. ^ "'Latin Lover' Sets $12M Pantelion Record, 'Baahubali 2' Mighty With $10M+, 'Circle' A Square As 'F8' Leads Listless Weekend". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 30, 2016.
  8. ^ "Sleight (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved September 7, 2020.
  9. ^ "Sleight reviews". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved April 29, 2017.
  10. ^ Various artists, Sleight, retrieved April 13, 2018

External links[edit]