Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

"The plot lines run dead straight from cool to conformity"

Conjurers and con men have specific skills. One is charm, the other psychology. Manipulation of the vic's thought processes requires a heavy dose of ruthlessness to complete the illusion.

Nothing is as it seems; that's a given. Nothing is certain; that's a matter of luck.

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Nicky (Will Smith) wears bespoke suits and $500 shoes. He's a hustler who runs a team of pickpockets. He knows every scam in The Scammary. He has flaws, however, that effect his reliability. He likes a flutter and he has a heart.

Focus is a film in two halves. The first is entertaining, like the Ocean's franchise without George, Brad or Matt. It's educational as you watch punters being fleeced at a big football game, but there's nothing original, nowhere that you haven't been before.

Nicky hooks up with Jess (Margot Robbie), a classic blonde in the don't-call-me-dumbass school of feminism. He takes her in hand which means teaching her the tricks of the trade in and out of the bedroom. She thinks she learning when in fact she's being used.

Part 2 involves Formula 1 racers in South America. Nicky is working a deep deception that requires time and tenacity to pull off. Jess reemerges as a player but not necessarily on his side. Who's scammin' who?

This is not in a same ballpark as American Hustle. It's a Will Smith vehicle. The plot lines run dead straight from cool to conformity, missing out the surprise element that is part of a magician's tool kit.

Will is a winner. He has the style. But he needs writers that take him to the edge and directors, like the late Tony Scott, to crash the lights.

Reviewed on: 26 Feb 2015
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Focus packshot
Nicky is a seasoned master of misdirection who becomes romantically involved with novice con artist Jess.
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Director: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa

Writer: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa

Starring: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Adrian Martinez, Gerald McRaney, Rodrigo Santoro, BD Wong, Robert Taylor, Stephanie Honoré

Year: 2015

Runtime: 104 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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