Generally favorable reviews - based on 9 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 9
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 9
  3. Negative: 0 out of 9

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    May 16, 2013
    This documentary provides an elegant, enthralling peek behind the curtain and into the you-won't-trust-your-eyes world of this celebrated contemporary conjurer.
  2. Reviewed by: Alan Scherstuhl
    Apr 16, 2013
    Here's a movie with magic.
  3. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Apr 16, 2013
    Unsurprisingly, Mr. Jay proves a hugely entertaining guide, and as generous about his professional inspirations as he is reticent about his own life.
  4. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Apr 16, 2013
    The man himself has rarely been profiled without noticeable reluctance, though documentarians Molly Bernstein and Alan Edelstein delve fairly deep by allowing their subject to guide them where he may.
  5. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Apr 18, 2013
    Whatever the unanswered mysteries of Jay’s personal life, just watching this magician’s hands at work with a deck of cards is positively mesmerizing.
  6. Reviewed by: Bob Mondello
    Apr 18, 2013
    After sitting at his elbow that day, I can tell you how he manages the tricks I saw really close-up. Not mysterious at all: It's magic, pure and simple.
  7. Reviewed by: Nathan Rabin
    Apr 17, 2013
    The film never even attempts to peer behind the curtain of Jay’s colorful existence; it’s content that the show in front of it is spectacle enough. But Deceptive Practices would be a richer, deeper experience if the filmmakers had penetrated Jay’s fierce boundaries even a little.
  8. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Apr 17, 2013
    This film is a documentary about the young man's devilment. He seems perfectly happy — ecstatic, even — seated at a table in front of a three-sided mirror and practicing card moves over and over and over again. As a kid, he learned moves from his grandfather. He moved away from home in his early teens.
  9. Reviewed by: Joseph Jon Lanthier
    Apr 14, 2013
    It never bothers to attempt the one thing we'd expect and hope from a documentary about Ricky Jay: It doesn't try to bamboozle us.

Awards & Rankings

User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 5 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 1
  2. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Jun 8, 2013
    Even if u don't recognize the name, his face may be familiar from his acting gigs in films and on TV. He's best known for his sleight of hand,Even if u don't recognize the name, his face may be familiar from his acting gigs in films and on TV. He's best known for his sleight of hand, primarily with playing cards. This doc outlines his career in magic, which started when he was a boy. That part's interesting and the tricks are truly amazing. The aspect that clutters it up is his detailed references to every obscure (at least for the uninitiated) magician that influenced him. There's nothing unique or creative about the film's approach, but if u wanna find out more about the man, this'll do the trick. Full Review »