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Focus Review

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Studio: Kramer & Sigman Films, Zaftig Films
Running Time: 105 mins

Verdict: 4 / 5

Con-artist; short for Confidence Artist. There is no better actor for cool, collected, charming and confident than The Fresh Prince himself.

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Grifting is the art of the con-artist. This time we see it in a mix of mass pickpocketing and incredibly impressive teamwork to scam distracted tourists, all the way up to delicate, elaborate setups to make millions off moguls.

Will Smith plays Nicky Spurgeon a commander of a massive moving army of scammers, petty thieves and con-men and women, who roam the countryside chasing crowds of unsuspecting, distracted and gullible citizens. During a routine covert raid at a nightclub, he is grifted by a small-time artist Jess Barrett (Margot Robbie – Wolf of Wall Street). Amused by her amateur attempt he teaches her a lesson, which becomes the start of something big and unexpected.

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In case you haven’t been reading the news here are some outstanding facts on this intriguing film. Hailed as the greatest pickpocket in the world Apollo Robbins, whose TED Talk is going viral, consulted on the handy work. There were only 96 days of filming (including travel) – half the time of I am Legend even though there were three cities in two countries, and four times as many actors (who said lines other than “Grr” and “Argh”) and several on-the-ground real-life events to be filmed around.

A world first: the editing was done completely in Apple’s Final Cut Pro, which is probably why it took, an unheard of, 1 year and 4 months to edit. FCP was possible since there are no CG effects, with every movement by the artist, the props and make-up, which should make for a quick post-production – so you would think. Maybe they used OS X Yosemite.

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There are so many shocking twists in the story and one particularly jarring moment of surprise at a perfectly poised moment. At the heart, this is a love-story, so thank your lucky stars Kristen Stewart turned down the role. The desirability, allure and charm of Robbie is intoxicating (and well flaunted) and she complements Smith’s character’s hidden brokenness so well. Together they bring out a real emotional connection. Will Smith lost it for a few years after the brilliant performance of Seven Pounds, but almost a decade later he is back with a perfectly suited role and is cooler than ever.

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