Movie:  Focus

Rating:  3 Stars (Out of 5)

Review:   Nicky (Will Smith) is a thief.  But he’s no smash and grab, pull a gun for a liquor store hold-up kind of crook.  Nicky is a gentleman thief, a smooth talking sleight-of-hand master artist who can sweet talk you while he is emptying your wallet.  Nicky has confederates that work with him as well, up to a 30 person crew who hit the streets during a big event, such as Mardi Gras in New Orleans, or a Super Bowl week, and they pluck the valuables out of people in crowds like taking candy from a baby.

One night the stunningly beautiful Jess (Margot Robbie) fumbles her way into Nicky’s life as she tries an amateurish con game on him.  Nicky takes Jess under his wing, teaching her skills to pluck the marks, and finds her to be a quick study.  And from there, the game is afoot.

Visually this is a fun ride.  The actors, especially Will Smith and Margot Robbie, are extremely attractive, and the New Orleans and Vegas setting are appealing.  The first 30 minutes of the movie are probably the most entertaining, as we see the crew employ various stratagems to distract the marks and clean them out.  It is fast paced, entertaining, and authentic, as the actors have been trained by real life security expect and master sleight-of-hand artist Apollo Robbins.  But then things get bogged down, as an elaborate big con unfolds.  Expect some of the usual twists and turns, things are never as they seem.  Some plot twists are actually pretty good here.  Bottom line:  not a bad way to spend two hours.

Actor To Watch For:  Gerald McRaney is the most interesting actor in the film.  He has come a long way from his Simon And Simon TV days.

Dialogue Nuggets:  Nicky – “At the end of the day, it’s a game of focus.  You get that focus, you take whatever you want.”

Gunman:  “Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t shoot you?”  Nicky – “I’m drawing a blank.”

Jess – “Who was the cop with the wandering hand?”  Nicky – “Oh, he was real.”

Nicky – “There’s no earth shattering hump in the works?”

“In spite of all my hard work, you turned into a good person.  Love will get you killed in this racket.”



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