Any magician worth his salt is a little bit on the sideline, not in the main stream. And you bring him in when you want to be entertained or you want to be healed or helped but you are not going to consort with him on a daily basis. He is a little bit to strange and too scary.
Bob Neale"Hustlers, Hoaxsters, Pranksters, Jokesters and Ricky Jay" is a documentary about a Master Showman. A prestidigitator of world class. He is a gentleman, showman and scholar. A performance historian author of such inimitable tomes as Learned Pigs and Fireproof Woman and Cards as Weapons as well as Jay's Journal of Anomalies.
He does a few tricks, others talk about his skills and knowledge in awed and glowing terms, including Steve Martin. Simply another forgettable 'TV spot' style film. But the documentary travels this familiar path until somewhere into the second half, when it suddenly asks the question of what type of person might be a magician.It is closer to the end than half way and its dark and strange... Yet strangely compelling and beautifully intriguing.
And bam, it tugs aside the curtain and gives you a peak behind the facade, behind the showmanship. A momentary glimpse into precisely the type of person that Ricky Jay is. And it ain't pretty.