Film Review by Clayton Barnett
Nicky Spurgeon is an extremely accomplished con man who takes an amateur con artist, Jess, under his wing. Nicky and Jess become romantically involved, and with Nicky's profession of being a liar and a cheater for a living, he realizes that deception and love are things that don't go together. They split, only to see each other three years later... And things get messy.
The con is on in Focus, and boy is it a joy to be sexily swindled by Will Smith and Margot Robbie.
Directing duo Glenn Ficarra and John Requa are so good at being naughty too. They co-wrote Bad Santa and made equally excellent con movie I Love You Phillip Morris and the saucy rom-com Crazy Stupid Love.
Luckily the stars of that movie, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, pulled out of Focus as Smith and Robbie are electric – showing Fifty Shades how to do sexy as they knocked them of the top of the box office stateside.
After some box-office failures (After Earth and A Winter’s Tale anyone?) it’s nice to see Smith back in form and funny as hell in Focus. After vamping up the screen in The Wolf of Wall Street, Robbie brings the sexy back here, providing some hot chemistry and cracking banter with Smith. Let’s hope their feisty affair continues when they reunite as supervillians in the comic-book blockbuster Suicide Squad.
There’s some good support too, with plenty of laughs supplied by character actor Adrian Martinez (American Hustle), and some bristle from former Major Dad and House of Cards star Gerald McRaney.
Con movie scripts can be con-voluted, and Focus almost suffers the same fate as it gets a little too twisty, but at a easy running time of an hour forty it doesn’t outstay it’s welcome.
While not reaching the con-tastic heights of Catch Me if You Can or The Sting, Focus still has the light touch of Ocean’s Eleven - with the same glamour and charm and an equally 60’s jazzy soundtrack. Focus uses the Stones’ Sympathy For the Devil to great effect and has a sly nod to classic heist-flick The Thomas Crown Affair with the classic Windmills of Your Mind.
While a little convoluted, Focus still does the trick with it’s hot as hell leads. Smith and Robbie work the room like a pair of seasoned pros and you won’t be disappointed with this sexy little swindle.
Releases: 5th March 2015
Rating: M – Contains violence, offensive language & sex scenes
Duration: 105 minutes
Starring: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Rodrigo Santoro, Gerald McRaney
Director: John Requa, Glenn Ficarra (Crazy Stupid Love)
Rumored to be the first major Hollywood feature to be edited with Apple's Final Cut Pro X on 27" iMacs. In December 2013, Neil W. Smith (Hollywood DI & LumaForge) spoke at the Digital Cinema Society forum dropping several hints as to the identity of a film being edited on FCPX including the studio, the multiple directors and the producer which ultimately add up to only one real possibility.
Margot Robbie was vacationing with her brother on an island in Croatia when she got the call that the directors want to audition her. She arrived at the hotel at 6 a.m., and her flight was taking off on the same day. She packed everything in 20 minutes, took a catamaran to the main island, then on a bus to the airport. She waited in the airport for 6 hours, then flew to France where she waited another 6 hours before arriving in New York. When arriving in New York, she found out that her luggage was lost and she was only wearing a pair of denim shorts and a shirt, with no makeup. However, she got to the audition in time but Will Smith was running late. When Smith arrived, saying that he "was coming from Queens", Robbie frustratingly said 'Yeah? Well, I just came from an island off Croatia and I'm here on time.'" She said that she considers that it won her the role.