“I’m Richard Turner. I represent why you should never play cards with strangers.”
You got that right! Holy crap, I thought my buddy, Aquaman, was great with a deck of cards, and I never wanted to play cards with him. Richard Turner, however, is one bad-ass card magician, or “card mechanic” as he is wont to call himself. Why? He can “fix” the cards like most no one else out there.
The thing is, as the documentary “Dealt” opens, we see Richard doing the normal things many people might do, things like doing push-ups, answering the phone, getting ready for a gig, and practicing manipulating cards in his hands. What you don’t see when the documentary opens is that Richard is trying to keep a secret – He’s blind.
Yes, Richard is a blind card magician. He amazes just about everyone who watches him, and surprising most of them once they realize he can’t see.
“Dealt” takes us on the journey of Richard, from the beginning and his fascination with old western movies and TV shows. TV shows like “Maverick” and “Bonanza,” and it was in that childhood influence that his love of cards developed.
It was also in his childhood that Richard, and his sister, began to go blind.
Though his childhood kind of sucked, and the kids would tease him constantly, he found one saving grace thanks to a teacher at his school for the visually handicapped who recorded books of card games for him on tope, and Richard would listen, and study.
The documentary does a nice job of putting the story of Richard’s life together, with his transition from a child, to a performer, and his obsession with a deck of cards when most days he would practice up to 16 to 18 hours a day. Mentors along the way, including the legend Dai Vernon, helped him groom his craft, and he developed a wonderful sense of wit with which to interact with his audience.
We also get to see Richard’s transformation from, for the most part, letting himself be dependent on others, especially his son, Asa Spades, and his wife, Kim, to finally letting go, accepting his blindness, and working to try to be independent.
One of the other things that the documentary does well is convey the difficulty Richard had when people would always bring up his blindness. He wanted to be know for his accomplishments, his talents, but at the end, or many times at the beginning of every story, was the caveat that he was blind. He never wanted his blindness to get him accolades, which is a tough spot to be in when, for people with sight, the things Richard can do with a deck of cards is phenomenal, but throw in the fact he can’t see them and people find it even more amazing.
“Dealt” was an entertaining documentary, in most aspects. I will say there were some spots it dragged, but I suppose to relate the entire story most parts were needed. Richard Turner is an interesting dude, fantastic as a card magician, and throw in the fact he is blind, and well, who cares, he’s a fantastic card magician. It’s 4 stars out of 5 for “Dealt.” Be prepared to witness one of the great card masters. Who cares if he is blind?
The DVD did have some extras, and for a change I actually liked a “Deleted Scenes” segment. If you ever want to see why you will never win the shell game, watch the Magicians and Mechanics featurette, and the scene with Richard teaching his sister how to talk to people without looking blind is touching and interesting.
That’s it for this one! L8R!!