Fifth about The Seventh

Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay

Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay: it is not surprising that this filmco-directed by Molly Bernstein and Alan Edelstein, a documentary about a master of misdirection, turns out to not reveal all that much about its subject. In any case, it cannot be denied that Ricky Jay was a great raconteur (and, as his acting career evidenced, could read dialogue wonderfully), so it’s still a pleasure to witness the telling of his journey. He is particularly generous about his many mentors and inspirations, but even more so about his mysteries, so it’s actually quite an apt title. The film is, perhaps, too generous with his mentors: they are all interesting figures, and we see some nice examples of sleight of hand, but the star of the show is even more so; alas, Ricky Jay ends up being almost a supporting character in his own tale. The editing team dug some very nice archival footage to illustrate the tale.

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