Willard Christopher Smith Jr. also known as “Will Smith” is one of the most recognizable actors working today. Just like the song says, he was born and raised in West Philadelphia where he was the second of four children. Growing up he received the nickname “Prince” because he could charm his way out of a bad situation. Years later, he fell in love with performing music, joined up with Jeffrey A. Townes, and became the duo known as “D.J. Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince”. Due to his new found fame, NBC saw him and cast him in their new sitcom entitled The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. From then on he has become one of the most sought after actors due to his impeccable range. Now he is showing off that range yet again in the new Glenn Ficarra and John Requa con man film called Focus.
Nicky (Will Smith) is a expert con artist who stumbles across a “wanna-be” con artist named Jess (Margot Robbie). In an attempt to deceive him, Jess has the tables turned on herself and she realizes that he could possibly teach her a thing or two. He agrees to take her under his wing and the two begin pulling off numerous jobs together. Fast forward three years later and Nicky wants to con a wealthy Buenos Aires race car owner. When tension rises between Nicky and Jess’ relationship during the con, the trust they had goes straight out the window and no one knows who is actually being swindled.
This is Will Smith’s best film since I Am Legend. He plays the role with so much panache and charisma that you can’t help but be drawn in by his performance. This is classic Will Smith at the top of his game and from every word that he utters to every sleight of hand that he performs, you simply can’t turn away. This charm is elevated above and beyond due to the intense on-screen chemistry that Smith and Robbie share. Their relationship is incredibly believable and never once did I have an inclination that the two weren’t perfectly matched for their roles. In addition, after stealing a lot of screen time in The Wolf of Wall Street, Margot Robbie is able to do it again. She plays the character with such a great mix of subtle vulnerability and allure that no man would ever be able to resist her wayward charm.
While appearing as a stereotypical scam artist film, Focus layers on a great deal of humor and well-defined characters to the point of being extremely fun to watch. Whereas the plot is fairly straight forward, the twists and turns that it presents come out of nowhere and keep making you examine what exactly is going on. This is especially true at a certain point in the film where I was truly on the edge of my seat until the remarkable resolution showed its brilliant face.
Praise aside, Focus does have a bit of an identity crisis at times. A lot of comedy that is infused within the dramatic elements works quite well for the most part. However, sometimes the comedy ventures more in the realm of goofy which slightly takes you out of the film from time to time. Nonetheless, I was pleasantly surprised by Focus as a complete package and I would highly recommend it to anyone in search of a fun and sexy con artist film.
Synopsis: An expert con artist crosses paths with a novice who changes his life significantly due to both of them not seeing eye to eye.
Directors: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
Writers: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
Stars: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Rodrigo Santoro, Adrian Martinez
Runtime: 104 min
Releases: Feb. 27 2015
Just call me “Turbo” because it sums me up in a single word. I’m originally from Visalia, California but currently reside in Mesa, Arizona. I’m a movie and video game fanatic with a BA in Film and Media Production from ASU. I try to see every movie that I can (new and old) as well as play the latest video game releases. My goal in life would be to create a feature length film which viewers absolutely love. However, until then I love to entertain people with my 100+ voice impersonations as well as fill them in with the latest movie/ gaming news on Twitter. Facebook.com/turbizl, Twitter: @turbizl