Last night I finally got around to watching a crime thriller / comedy / drama / romance film, “Focus”, written and directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (“Crazy Stupid Love”).
Veteran con man Nicky Spurgeon (Will Smith – “Hitch”, “I Am Legend”) meets an inexperienced con artist, Jess Barrett, whilst he is having dinner in a hotel restaurant.
Jess (Margot Robbie – “The Wolf Of Wall Street”) tries to pull one over on Nicky but his experience ensures that he knows exactly what’s going on – leading Jess to ask him to take her under his wing and teach her all he can.
Having given her a few pointers Nicky thinks that’s it, but later Jess tracks him down in New Orleans and manages to get herself recruited onto Nicky’s con team that are in the process of making a large haul. At the same time things hot up personally between the two.
Once the team have made their money Jess is horrified when Nicky starts to gamble it all against Liyuan Tse (B.D. Wong – “Jurassic Park”), a rich compulsive gambler during an American football match. Afterwards Nicky gives Jess her cut and dumps her – as he fears the negative complications that emotional involvement could have on his business – leaving Jess heartbroken.
We then jump forward three years to find Nicky in Buenos Aires, working a con for a billionaire motor racing team owner Rafael Garriga (Rodrigo Santoro – “300 : Rise Of An Empire”) under the watchful scrutiny of Rafael’s security chief Owens (Gerald McRaney – “The A Team”) but finds himself thrown when he spots Jess with Rafael and everything suddenly gets a lot more complicated…
This was a very entertaining movie. There is a lot going on, any everybody seems to be lying at some point meaning that it isn’t easy to figure out exactly what is going on until the reveal – and in this case the final twists were very well hidden. There are some very clever cons and deceptions depicted throughout, and visually the film is superb.
I would never claim to have been a huge fan of Will Smith, but thought he pulled off the role of the smart but somehow weary con man very well here.
I’m aware that some reviewers felt that this was quite a sexist movie. Although I haven’t seen any of her previous work I suspect that Margot Robbie has more to offer as an actress, but she portrayed the other main role exactly as appropriate for the film, even though that sometimes seems to be just to provide eye candy. That’s not something I have a problem with – I don’t see anything wrong in appreciating the attractiveness of the opposite sex – but I can appreciate that some may view it in that way.
Regardless of where you stand on that though, I felt that this movie is an excellent caper and hugely enjoyable…