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Saturday, July 06, 2013

Sean Kelly

My Thoughts on Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay

deceptive_practices

Ricky Jay is probably one of the best known magicians working today.  He is best known for his slight-of-hand card tricks and he will also be recognizable from his acting roles in films by the likes of David Mamet and Paul Thomas Anderson.  Ricky Jay’s career in magic dates back to when he was only seven years old and he has honed his craft over the decades.

Deceptive Practice was filmed over the course of a decade and covers Ricky Jay’s entire career from the very start to today.  There is particular focus on the various magicians who mentored him over the years, which included the likes of Al Flosso, Slydini, Cardini, Francis Carlyle, Roy Benson, Charlie Miller, and Dai Vernon.  The film also features archive footage of Ricky Jay’s various performances over the years and it is definitely amazing how flawlessly he able to do his very simple card tricks.

Ricky Jay has also become a magical historian and he has gathered a large collection of old magic books and forgotten tricks.  In fact, Jay has incorporated some of these old tricks into his act and one of the big moments of this films comes with a British journalist describing the time Ricky Jay surprised her with one of Max Malini’s most famous tricks (I don’t want to spoil exactly what trick it is).  In fact, I would probably go on an say that it can be very easy to believe that many of the tricks Ricky Jay performs is real magic.  This is partially because he is highly protective of the secrets of his trade and is nearly always prepared to perform a trick.  There is a humorous story in the film about Ricky Jay being confronted in the shower to perform a trick, which he ends up doing without fail.

Over the years, magic has seemed to become much more about spectacle and showmanship than the tricks themselves.  The new breed of magicians, including the likes of David Blaine and Chris Angel, often seem more concerned with elaborate stunts than the simple slight-of-hand tricks of old.  This is probably what gives Ricky Jay his charm.  His magic shows are relatively simple performances that consist of Jay, a deck of cards, and his constant banter to the audience.  In some aspects, this is probably the way magic should be done.  The more simple the presentation, the more easy it is to amaze the audience.

Overall, I have to say that I quite enjoyed Deceptive Practice.  Here’s hoping that the magic Ricky Jay, who is now a mentor himself, lives on throughout the years, since it is quite simply pure magic.

 9 | REALLY LIKED IT

Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).