Sleight ★★★½

Sleight is a family drama crossed with a drug underworld thriller crossed with a superhero origin story and for the most part, it pulls off combining the three. Putting aside my handful of issues that this movie trips on, it made me so happy to see a $250k debut feature tackle the superhero genre in the quiet humanistic way that this does. It's a character drama first and an origin story second. The character conflict is built so delicately and intensely that when the film reaches its third act it feels remarkably satisfying (arguably way more satisfying than the bulk of third acts from the latest crop of CBMs) and with a runtime of only 90 minutes, it accomplishes everything it sets out to do in an efficient manner.

My biggest issues with the movie mostly spawn from pitfalls that a lot of amateur features hit (awkward bland photography, flat supporting acting) and there are some character moments that feel outright nonsensical. Sleight is certainly problematic but it's kind of a beauty to experience. The vision that J.D. Dillard brings to this genre is so fresh, ambitious, and cultured that I can't help but be very excited to see what he will do next with a bigger budget and greater resources. (7.5/10)

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