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The 12 Best Con Artist Movies Ranked

Like a bubbly glass of Champagne, “Focus” is a pleasant con story that’s as glamorous and elaborate as any “Ocean’s Eleven” franchise installment. Main character Nicky (Will Smith) also has an elaborate multi-member team, but they go for lots of small grifts and person-to-person schemes instead of massive casino heists. The bulk of “Focus” is about mixing love with deception, as Nicky recruits a beautiful new protégé, Jess (Margot Robbie), and tries to resist his immediate attraction to her.

What follows is a classic breeze through a plot that twists so often, it’s better to let it wash over you than follow it beat by beat. “Focus” contributes a new term to the con artist lexicon in creating the “Toledo Panic Button,” basically the “shoot the hostage” maneuver from “Speed,” and has several memorable montages of Nicky’s crew in action that have a bigger scale than most movies in the genre. Ultimately, it coasts on the chemistry of its two stars as they connect, reconnect, and both end up conning one another. Love, in its classic and heady fashion, turns out to be the riskiest confidence game of all.



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