Who knew a life of crime, deception and distrust could look so glamorous? The latest U.S. romantic black comedy to hit our screen, Focus, starring the ever talented Will Smith and relative newcomer Margot Robbie certainly does little to put off any potential criminal. In fact, it probably actively encourages them by quite obviously demonstrating the tricks of the trade.
The story is focused predominantly on Nicky Spurgeon (Smith) a notorious con-man who always looks to up his game, including recruiting and training up unlawful citizens to aid in his latest conquest. This is where Robbie’s character, Jess Barrett steps in: young, pretty and perfect at misleading people, Jess becomes queen of the con artists. Hers and Nick’s is a classic partnership, with a predictable love outcome and equally predictable devastation for both parties.
While each secretly pines for the other, the story flashes forward three years – we learn both are trying to scam the same billionaire race car owner with ulterior motives. A surprise reunion throws them both off their game resulting in too many twists and turns to count and the audience holding their breath on more than one occasion.
Focus overall is a slick and stylish film that will keep you entertained and questioning what will happen next. The acting quality is brilliant and both Smith and Robbie as the lead protagonists deliver stand out performances which have you genuinely rooting for the characters and taking an active interest in their stories.
In addition, the way some of the crime scenes are shot make for quite intriguing sequences; particularly memorable is a long but sharp montage of illegal acts that shows us exactly how Nicky’s team operates and reveals the tricks of the trade. Reports state that writer/director Glenn Ficarra employed real-life con artists to teach the cast the art of deception, so it appears the scenes are depicting an accurate representation of this dark business.
While some have criticised the film for featuring far too many twists and turns and being relatively un-focused (ironically) this film could nevertheless be a major boost to Robbie’s career and also a reminder of just how great an actor Smith is. This fun, fast paced and clever film is certainly worth watching again.
Images: Warner Bros Pictures