By Michael Smith
I’ve always loved watching documentaries. I’ve always felt like it is a great way to expand your knowledge in one place using film, a medium I thoroughly enjoy. Ever since I became a telecommunications student at Ball State, I’ve found myself being inadvertently pulled out of a film by a jarring editing decision or an off shot. For me, the only exception is usually a good documentary. I think it is because it piques an entirely different area of my interest. Dealt is one of those great documentaries that I want to force all my friends to sit through because it is just that great.
I had previously heard of Richard Turner when I saw him in a clip of Penn & Teller’s show Fool Us. It was spectacular to watch in the first place. Penn & Teller needed not to convene because he had fooled them outright. I then researched Richard Turner and that’s when I found out that he is probably the greatest card mechanic alive. When I saw that a documentary about Turner would be at Heartland, I knew I had to see it.
This documentary doesn’t just cover his card mechanic career, but also his life and his struggles with the eye disease known as macular dystrophy. It started was Turner was a child, progressed slowly until he was legally blind, and is now at the point where he has no light perception, meaning that he can’t even visually tell if the lights are on or off in a room. The film also highlights his frustrations with others’ negative attitudes to his condition. He wants his performance to stand on its own. He doesn’t want to be seen as great because of his blindness. He wants to be great regardless of his blindness.
This documentary is truly an eye-opening experience (no pun intended). Seeing how someone can become great despite his blindness is amazing and inspiring. You also see him go from being stubborn about receiving help to learning to accept his weaknesses and get help from others when he needs it. One of the things he says at the end of the documentary struck me: he says he would not have become as great as he is if it weren’t for his blindness, and that it ended up being a blessing. I believe that he would have been great whether or not he had become blind because there is this obsession deep inside him that makes him want to be great.
Dealt was easily one of the best documentaries I saw at Heartland this year and I recommend everyone to check it out.