Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities
Everything is about to become very clear.
Bachelor Lawrence Newman (William H Macy) leads a blinkered, uneventful existence as an office worker in a medium-sized firm. Bookish and quiet, Lawrence doesn't ever quite seem at home in his middle-class neighbourhood. He jokes with his neighbour Fred (Meat Loaf Aday) about lawns and other mundane concerns, but his private, shy nature always sets him apart from those around him. Pressed by his employer, the near-sighted Lawrence finally acquires spectacles, an action which clarifies his sight in more ways than one. He begins to notice suspicious figures showing up at Fred's house late at night and is tormented by - but too cowardly to react to - random acts of violence taking place in the neighbourhood.
When he turns down young Gertrude Hart (Laura Dern) for a job, Lawrence is tortured by guilt. He quits his job and ventures into uncharted territory - a whirlwind romance and running from a shadowy underground group ensue.
Persons of interest
- William H Macy .... Lawrence Newman
- Laura Dern .... Gertrude Hart
- Meat Loaf Aday .... Fred
- David Paymer .... Finkelstein
- Kay Hawtrey .... Mrs Newman
- Michael Copeman .... Carlson
- Kenneth Welsh .... Father Crighton
- Joseph Ziegler .... Gargan
- Arlene Meadows .... Mrs Dewitt
- Peter Oldring .... Willy Doyle
- Shaun Austin-Olsen .... Sullivan
- Kevin Jubinville .... Cole Stevens
- BJ McQueen .... Mel
- Arthur Miller .... Author
- Kendrew Lascelles .... Screenwriter
- Neal Slavin .... Director
Cinematic intelligence sources
- Focus official movie site
- Awards and film festivals:
- Cinematic Intelligence Agency Trenchcoat Awards 2003
- Toronto International Film Festival 2001: World première
- Hebe: short for Hebrew
- Hymie: from the Jewish forename Hyman
- Kike: short for kikel (ky'-Kel), meaning "circle", from Jewish immigrants who signed immigration papers to the USA with a circle rather than a cross
- Yid short for Yiddish, a dialect of High German including some Hebrew and other words, spoken as a vernacular by European Jews
Special Agent Matti
You will either like Focus or you won't. If you've had enough of the Jewish propaganda machine that Hollywood exists to be (Fox, Goldwyn, Mayer, Metro, Warner, Spielberg, Katzenberg, Geffen, etc.) then you'll find this film to be an over the top piece of Jew-loving advertising. Something will click in your brain and you'll realise that the Jews are repositioning themselves as victims (see Jakob the liar, The last days, Into the arms of strangers: stories of the kindertransport) and unthreatening comedians (see Jakob the liar, The Royal Tenenbaums, and any number of wise-cracking sidekicks on television sitcoms) to divert anti-semitic thoughts. How can you hate anyone who's just a funny, entertaining, hard done by victim of one of the world's worst crimes against humanity? Not that I am blaming them for doing so but I like my entertainment separate from my advertising (which is why I doesn't watch a lot of television).
If you're not one to partake in conspiracy theories then you'll find Focus to be a taut, winding, twisting, tightening thriller that winds you up by pushing generally likeable characters into generally unlikeable situations. With each new situation is another turn of the screws until you're in as much difficulty as they are. William H Macy and Laura Dern are the perfect semi-urban couple, mistaken for Jews without ever being Jews. It's a peculiar thing to happen as most bigotry is based on easily identifiable differences - genitals, skin colour, accent, foreskin status - as bigots are incredibly stupid. Even the seemingly intelligent ones. That's what makes Focus so interesting, two people fighting a battle against racism that they shouldn't have to. Except morally, of course.
Anyhoo, this is a biting criticism of the USA during the second world war (the Holocaust didn't have any effect on western morality until after hostilities, when soldiers found evidence of the Nazi's crimes) and against the apathy of those who aren't on the receiving end of hatred. Some scenes will make you gasp at their intensity, others will make you laugh. It's good.
Security censorship classification
M (Medium level violence, adult themes)
106 minutes (1:46 hours)
Not for public release in Australia before date
Film: 2 May 2002 - Melbourne
Film: Undated July 2002 - Sydney
DVD rental: 13 December 2002
VHS rental: 13 December 2002