THE BLOG

Movie Review: Focus -- Clever and Then Some

02/26/2015 12:39 pm ET | Updated Apr 28, 2015

A winner here. Never a dull moment when two con artists fall in love. Will Smith is his usual adorable self, but here he is a tad wiser than his past characters have been and his love interest in the form of Margot Robbie burns the celluloid. But I am happy to say Ms. Robbie is treated with dignity and respect by the talented directors and also the writers, Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, who do not exploit her beauty--quite unlike Martin Scorsese who manipulated Ms. Robbie into gratuitous scenes of nudity in her performance in Wolf of Wall Street. And Ms. Robbie is beautiful. And she is a good actress. Her love scenes with Will Smith as Nicky Spurgeon, an accomplished con man, sizzle but do not dominate this screenplay. The plot and the story are the focus of Focus as Nicky teaches amateur con artist Jess the art of the con. Never take your eye off of the screen. Things happen lickety-split. What you see is not what you always get. Mystery! Surprise! Colorful locations! Buenos Aires! New Orleans! Filmed in IMAX Focus is visually splendid! Great camera work! Fast paced music that keeps the cat and mousette team gyrating their cons in and out of race tracks, Super Bowl extravaganzas, crowded streets in the belly of New Orleans at what could have been carnival. Terrific character actors keep getting in your face. B.D. Wong is a delight as a slimy gambler. Rodrigo Santoro is a handsome and sensual owner of race cars.

As Nicky teaches Jess the art of the con--the game--they slowly fall in love. Or do they? Do they fall in play? Are they playing each other? Can a con artist ever love? Or is a con artist an exploiter of emotions of all kinds? Is a con artist able to tell the truth? The question of the true feelings Nicky has for Jess is always the issue and will keep you glued to this screen like a detective in search of the elusive truth. But the end doeth provide. The journey for this truth is fun, fast paced and proves Focus to be a winner. A real winner. Not a con.