Focus is a film that intertwines the allure of a heist movie with the unpredictability of a romance.
It brings together two of Hollywood's A-listers – Will Smith and Margot Robbie.
Released in 2015, the movie, directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, attempts to blend crime, comedy, and passion into a stylish cinematic experience.
The problem is that aside from some excellently conceived con scenes, the movie slowly morphs from action into a love story, undoing all of the good work that went before it.
What Is Focus About?
Focus revolves around Nicky Spurgeon (Will Smith), a seasoned con artist, and a novice con artist Jess Barrett (Margot Robbie), an aspiring thief looking to learn the ropes.
The film opens with Jess attempting to con Nicky, only to be outwitted by him. Intrigued by his skills, Jess persuades Nicky to mentor her.
Nicky teaches Jess how to improve her technique as the crew heads to New Orleans.
As they embark on an elaborate scheme during a football championship in New Orleans, their professional relationship is sidelined as they become romantically involved.
However, their romance is short-lived as Nicky abruptly ends it, leaving Jess heartbroken.
The plot takes a twist three years later in the glamorous setting of Buenos Aires, where Nicky is involved in a dangerous scheme with motorsport team owner Garriga (Rodrigo Santoro).
Unexpectedly, Jess re-enters his life, and her appearance throws Nicky and his plans and emotions into turmoil.
The movie then navigates through a maze of deception, with the audience constantly guessing who's conning who.
Focus Official Trailer
Is Focus Worth Watching?
Focus is a film that promises a blend of slick heist sequences, witty dialogue, and a charismatic cast.
And to give it credit, it does start off that way. The con scenes in New Orleans are slick and clever, the NFL game is a real twist, and overall, it moves along nicely. Though I have to say, you start to begin what the point of the film is.
Then just like that, the good bit is over, we fast forward three years, and somehow Nicky and Jess find themselves face to face just as Nicky is on the brink of a huge con.
It seems that he still loves her, and as the con unravels, the whole film descends into a slow-burning love story. Seriously, you'll be checking the time to see how long is left in it!
The chemistry between Smith and Robbie just isn't there. And despite her best attempts to make a good go of it, Margot Robbie is let down by a paint-by-numbers performance from Will Smith, who permanently looks like he's trying to figure out how a con man with swagger would act.
For those who enjoy movies with twists and turns coupled with a dash of romance and humour, Focus is definitely not the best in the genre. It barely passes the time.
The art of deception is well and truly on display here – by making the audience think they are going to watch a half-decent film.
Cast Of Focus Movie
Will Smith, as Nicky Spurgeon, brings his trademark charm and confidence, essential for a convincing con artist.
Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street), as Jess Barrett, displays a mix of naivety and cunning, making her a compelling counterpart and an accomplished femme fatale.
Supporting roles include Rodrigo Santoro as Garriga, a wealthy racing team owner, and Gerald McRaney as Owens, Garriga's suspicious right-hand man.
BD Wong also makes a memorable appearance as Liyuan, a wealthy gambler.
Adrian Martinez as Farhad brings quite a few laughs.
Where Was Focus Filmed?
Key scenes were shot in New Orleans, Louisiana, known for its vibrant culture and historic architecture.
This setting provided a lively backdrop for the film's initial consequences.
The production also moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina, capturing the city's unique blend of European and Latin American influences.
This shift in location also mirrors the shift in the film's tone, from the playful cons in New Orleans to a more complex scheme in Buenos Aires.
What Awards Did The Movie Win?
While Focus did not make a significant impact in major award ceremonies, it received recognition for its style and the performances of its lead actors.
The movie was particularly noted for its costume design, cinematography, and the chemistry between Will Smith and Margot Robbie.
Although it may not have garnered prestigious awards, Focus achieved success in entertaining a wide audience and showcasing the talents of its cast.
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