Ransacking With Ease

Focus (2015)
A Review By Ben Hunter
5 Out Of 5 Stars


I thought it was just going to be another run of the mill, cute date night kind of flick … boy was I wrong!


“In this world there are hammers and there are nails”.  Are you someone who takes action in the face of opportunity?  Or do you resort to the easily obtained amenities of life?  Allowing the events to happen to you as they deem fit.  Thus revealing your path.  Or do you make your path yourself?  “You decide which one you want to be.”

Nicky Spurgeon (Will Smith) is a seasoned con artist.  He runs a lucrative, million-dollar business ransacking with the smoothest of ease through the personal belongings of others.  He’s formed an impressive group of people to steal for him and one day Jess Barrett (Margot Robbie) wants in.  After some playful banter, witty exchanges of charismatic intellect, emotions of lust, desire, and eventually of confiding trust, Jess enters the world of the seductive thief. 

She works the atmosphere of the Superbowl as her initiation.  She learns the tricks of the trade first hand.  How emotion can get you in trouble.  Love can leave you hurt.  Trust will get you through, and maybe then blindsiding you with pain again.  Developing a love for Nicky fuels her heart though, and the two become intertwined in an impassioned narrative that teaches them both to “never loose focus” in the business.  For it may come at a steep price. 

Going into this one I didn’t expect much.  “Just another cute date night flick”, with some nice puns, a cool car chase scene, and a beautiful girl to look at all throughout.  Boy oh boy am I glad I was blown away in disagreement! 

 I sat up in my seat when the playful banter ensued.  My eyes opened wide when cards were cleverly played and hands were revealed.  I cringed in disbelief when the narrative wanted me to force characters to change their behavior.  I could hear other people in the theater, yelling out at the screen in agreement.  I felt pain when beautifully innocent characters had their heart broken, sitting there, alone, with loads of cash in their hands.  Even then, for I realized none of this was about money.  It’s about what we do with ourselves and how those actions touch the lives of those around us.  It’s a character driven piece where the relationships, not the cool action, drive it forward.  There’s even a scene with a point of view from the villain.  Not to mention the step forward for humanity with not giving a care about having the leads engage in an interracial relationship, I was completely on the train for this one and enjoyed the ride all throughout!

I do, however, see why others couldn’t view in agreement.  I went with friends one time and was on a date for  another.  My friends and I totally bought into the hype and went on the journey, as filmmakers Glenn Ficarra & John Requa wanted us to.  But the girl I took for the latter couldn’t figure out why I loved it so much and tried hard yet failed to see what I saw.  She was calling things out as they happened, during her first and probably only viewing.  Stating it was just an “okay” film and not a “spectacular” one as my friends and I feel it is. 

Though I comprehend both sides, I hear the opposition; I see why this film scored extremely low in the hearts of many, yet I LOVED this film!  So much so that I had to see it twice!  When I inducted Margot Robbie into my hall of favorite actresses, I couldn’t have made a wiser decision!  One thing is for sure, whether you liked Focus or not, SHE is soon to become an “A-lister”, possibly as big as her co-star in this one!  Which by the way I have to say, welcome back to Hollywood! 

What a way to kick off the cinematic New Year!

“In this world there are hammers and there are nails.  You decide which one you want to be.” 

Crime, 105 Minutes, R
Written & Directed by: Glenn Ficarra & John Requa
Cast: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, & Rodrigo Santoro

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