Focus (2015)

The story follows Nicky (Will Smith) a veteran thief who meets a grifter, Jess (Margot Robbie). This is a very clever fun comedy packed with action and unexpected twists. They meet in a hotel bar while she is playing a damsel in distress asking to be rescued from a date that has gone sour. After he obliges they end up talking for hours and she invites him to her room. The whole room situation gets heated but not in the way that you’d expect. Bottom line is that she is a minor league player looking for a mentor and he plays the role very well.

His first lesson: “Pay attention, this is a game of focus, get a person’s focus and you can take whatever you want”. “There are two kinds of people in this world, there are hammers and nails, you decide who you want to be”. He seems sweet and even alluring, but don’t lose your focus or you’ll miss the best parts. Nicky preys on gamblers, people who are addicted to the dopamine of uncertainty. Yes! You read it right, some people crave that feeling of anxiety, of not knowing what is going to happen, it actually turns them on and excites them. Later he finds out that he was also addicted to the game but he did not know it until he met her.

Although he warns her that “There is no room for heart in this game” she falls for him… Or does she? I guess you’ll have to watch until the end to see who is really falling and where. They both embark in cringe situations, where he is willing to risk it all for a shot of adrenaline. A large portion of the movie was filmed in my beloved Buenos Aires, featuring beautiful hotels and historical icons of the city. So many memories came to mind, the smells and sounds of the city that never sleeps. Fresh bread from the bakeries at Mercado Central and men negotiating the price of large produce bags in a loud voice. I was transported by memories of having a Cafe con Leche and croissants in the afternoon during my break from work while talking to a dear friend. All of those memories sleep quietly in the back of my mind until poked by subtle reminders that simple pleasures like those are now 5,000 miles away. Experiences that are only to be relieved a few days a year when I venture to the city during my yearly pilgrimage to visit loved ones.

It seems like the film makers did their research quite well. The way in which the Argentinian culture is depicted is quite realistic. The passion, corruption and highly competitive cut throat business environment were right on point. Life there is really hard, especially for women, whose worth is determined by their looks and their ability to ‘catch’ a man of prestige and high financial status. The film even features Formula One racing which has a big following in Argentina, except that there are no F1 teams or tracks there, so that part was made up.

Overall, the movie was quite entertaining and packed with action. I really enjoyed every minute of it.

What did you like about this film? Leave your comments below.

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