Here’s a magic trick. See “Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay.” What the filmmakers tell you is simple and understandable, but you still won’t get it, really. You will appreciate it as an outsider, but you still won’t get it, really.
The film tells you how close up magic works (card tricks mostly, but much more). I will tell you how close up magic works, and you still should see the movie. This documentary will make you go “ooh; what; how” many times over, but this is a mere distraction.
How does close up magic work? Love doing it as much Ricky Jay loves doing it. Devote yourself to the art of magic as Ricky Jay has devoted himself to it. Practice the craft of magic as endlessly as Ricky Jay practices. For icing on the mysteriously frosted cake, study the centuries-old, rich tradition of magic makers, and as Ricky Jay does, cajole vitality from it.
Magic works because of how fervently magicians work at it. Making you feel this commitment is the trick of the film “Deceptive Practice.” Enjoy the magic peppered through the film, sure. Enjoy more how well-spoken Ricky Jay is and how respectful he is of the masters he knows so well.
Ricky Jay -- whether or not you know him or recognize him – is a go-to magician, a magician’s magician. One of the reasons he is so highly respected is that his grandfather started him in the world of magic 60 years ago, at age four. Along the way, amateur magician grandpa introduced Ricky to the finest practitioners. When he was old enough to do it on his own, Ricky sought others and parlayed the mentorship that fed his passionate drive.
The mystery of magic, to a certain extent, relies on variously well-guarded proprietary knowledge. In a cynical world filled with variously well-guarded deceptions, enjoy a magical journey to the genuine face of deception.