Crime Thriller On Streaming One Of Will Smith’s Most Underrated Films

By TeeJay Small | Published

Today, Will Smith is known for starring in dozens of classic films, with numerous entries making their way into the average film fan’s “must-watch” list. As a result, some Will Smith movies, such as 2015’s Focus, can go completely unappreciated, despite their excellent writing, stellar performances, and fascinating plot. Focus was a massive success at the box office upon release, but is rarely ever referenced in modern pop culture, making it one of Smith’s most underrated outings.

Ryan Gosling And Emma Stone Were Once Attached

Focus was written and directed by the filmmaking duo of Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, who previously helmed such outings as I Love You Phillip Morris, Crazy Stupid Love, and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. The pair enlisted Will Smith and Margot Robbie to take on the leading roles in Focus, with actors such as Rodrigo Santoro, Adrian Martinez, Robert Taylor, and Jurassic Park‘s BD Wong rounding out the cast. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone were initially attached to lead the film, though both ultimately dropped out for scheduling issues.

Will Smith’s Con-Man Role

Will Smith stars in Focus as a con man named Nicky Spurgeon, who bumps into a young woman named Jess Barrett, who attempts to rob him with a con of her own. Unfortunately for her, she is inexperienced in the field of grifting, and rapidly becomes discovered by Nicky, who offers to take her under his wing. The pair begin a romantic relationship as they pull increasingly risky cons on the unsuspecting public, alongside a team of skilled scam artists carefully assembled by Nicky over the years.

The Art Of The Grift

Early on in the film, Will Smith’s character reveals that he comes from a long line of con men, making him extremely well-versed in the art of shifting one’s focus to get what he wants. In one particularly involved grift, the couple continue to escalate a bet with a high-stakes Chinese gambler, before taking him for millions with a high-risk high-reward guessing game.

Here, Focus reveals that the grifters had been subtly implanting ideas into the mark’s head for days before making their final play, demonstrating their commitment and precision effort.

Complicated Reunion

Nicky then scorns Jess, insisting that he cannot be involved romantically with a partner in crime, and abandons her with her share of the massive fortune. Three years down the line, the pair cross paths once again while working for rival motorsport team owners, and their shared history creates a deeply complicated tight-rope walk which impacts their clashing scams.

Box Office Success

As the film crescendos into a thrilling conclusion, Margot Robbie and Will Smith focus their efforts on delivering their most charismatic performances ever depicted, respectively. Focus tripled its budget at the global box office upon release, taking in over $158 million against an estimated production budget of only $50.1 million, making it a certified hit.

Critical Acclaim For Actors

Will Smith and Margot Robbie’s performances in Focus were widely praised by critics, even though the film itself received mixed reviews overall. Those who haven’t yet had the chance to catch the film, or just feel that they’re overdue for a rewatch, can stream Focus today on Hulu.