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By  Jennifer Fiduccia

Focus, a new film starring Will Smith, Rodrigo Santoro, Margo Jennifer Fiducciat Robbie, and Gerald McRaney seems like it ‘should be’ predictable, but I didn’t find it to be predictable at all.

I only caught one of the tricky story line twists at the last minute, at the very end, and the whole entire movie, I really thought that the leading lady Jess (Margot Robbie) was up to something other than what she was.

The movie overall, after watching it, reminds me a bit of Oceans 11, with twists and turns and surprises and things I just didn’t see coming.

I felt Will Smith as Nicky Spurgeon did a great job, and portrayed his relationship, or the fact that he was bothered by his lack of a relationship with Jess very believably.

The story moves along quickly, flowing well, for the most part. We watch Jess try to con Nicky, and watch him school her on ‘how it’s done’.
This sets the tone for the rest of the show which follows Nickys’ path as a con man and him working with his crew in one job after another.
He is supposed to be the best of the best and we watch him successfully carry off con after con in the first half.

The second half of the movie takes place after a number of years have passed, and more closely details Nicky’s feelings or apparent feelings for Jess.
Without revealing too much, I can only say everything is not as it appears, but the action of what is happening is fast enough that it distracted me from being able to concentrate too hard on what the deceptions might be.

I think this might be Will Smiths ‘comeback movie’ after a series of recent films over the past handful of years with him as a headliner have been really, really bad.

I have already encouraged a handful of friends to see the film when it comes to regular release, and I would gladly see it again.

I would give this movie 4 out of 5 stars.

 

Second Review By Sasha Glenn

 

Upon seeing the trailer for “Focus,” I felt that I’d seen this film a dozen times before. The typical plot layout of a successful and charming criminal and a beautiful young woman attempting to emulate a sort of modern day Bonnie and Clyde. Usually this involves a bank heist or some kind of drug operation. Predictable.

Yet, I was taken by surprise when I saw “Focus.” Yes, the plot is a bit unrealistic. A charming criminal, Nicky Spurgeon (Will Smith), crosses paths with an equally charming and criminally inclined lady, Jess Barrett (Margot Robbie). The unrealistic aspects of the plot become glaringly obvious when Nicky lets Jess in on his entire operation shortly after meeting her. As if a criminal boss would be so trusting, no matter how gorgeous his new partner. Also in the fantasy realm, Jess is very lucky that such a seasoned criminal happens to be gentle, kind, and without any ill intent toward her.

Overall the plot is undeniably vapid. It glamourizes making a life out of stealing from others, rather than having any real ambition that concerns the world outside oneself. It also completely leaves out the risk of legal consequences.

But I must admit, this film pushes all its flaws aside by delivering a great moviegoing experience.

The acting is surprisingly good quality. Smith, of course, has already proven time and time again that he can hold his own. But something harder to achieve has been accomplished in this film – on screen romantic chemistry. The chemistry between Nicky and Jess seems very authentic. From body language, to eye contact, to verbal inflection, Smith and Barrett do a marvelous job of convincing the audience their relationship to one another is real.

The best thing about this movie is that it is not predictable. Just as you would expect from a con man, there are always surprises.

“Focus” is thrilling, entertaining, and will keep the audience on its toes. I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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