Congratulations, you're a criminal
Lunar Drive-In, 08/03 8:30pm
Running time: 105m
Country: United States
Classification: MA15+ (Strong violence, sex scenes and coarse language)
Release date: 05/03/15
Cost: $6.50 (Entertainment Book discount)
Rating: 6.5/10 (ME 3/5, DP 3.5/5)
Focus could well be described as something of a romantic comedy set in a world of con men, scam artists, hustlers and thieves. Will Smith stars as Nicky Spurgeon, a slick and charming con man. Nicky is confident and well dressed (showing true 'Big Willie Style') when he meets Jess Barrett (Margot Robbie), an aspiring pickpocket and thief in her own right. Nicky is attracted by Jess' charm and naive enthusiasm. Jess eventually joins Nicky's carefully orchestrated band of criminals and as they work together and Jess masters the 'trade', their attraction grows and it's not long before they're gettin' jiggy wit' it... with apologies for the reference to Will Smith's previous musical career. After an ultra successful week of scamming during Super Bowl festivities in New Orleans, Nicky and Jess' liaison ends abruptly and unexpectedly. Three years pass and we are then reacquainted with the characters, in the heady world of Grand Prix racing in Buenos Aires. As their paths cross and their mutual attraction reignites, we begin to wonder who has changed, who hasn't and who is playing who.
Focus is a well put together movie, making great use of stylish locations and wardrobe and commendable cinematography. Will Smith and Margot Robbie are eminently likeable in the lead roles and the supporting cast including Rodrigo Santoro, Gerald McRaney and B.D.Wong perform well to provide interesting and integral parts of the jigsaw. Clever scams and double crosses are well executed (albeit while being rather morally questionable) and some unexpected plot twists are introduced along the way (some more clumsily than others). The characters appear to somehow never feel any sort of remorse for any of their actions along the way....perhaps indicative of the cold focus required for an individual to be successful in this game. As Nicky and Jess' relationship takes various twists and turns, we do however see them grappling with the underlying question of how can two con artists with a history of deceiving each other, ever learn to trust one another? If Nicky and Jess are continuously questioning each other, then the audience also finds itself questioning everything that the characters do. Who can be trusted and who is scamming who?
This is an entertaining film, that could have had the potential to be more. It's not the most memorable film of the year so far, but it provided a decent night of entertainment and we definitely enjoyed it more than we ever actually expected to. (DP)