October 12, 2010
I think that they need to show this movie in every Sociology class. It's a perfect example of how, for example, Hitler's Germany was even possible. It shows how easily people can be manipulated and influenced by hateful thinking in society. It was an apalling thing to watch unfold, and intensify, but it was at the same time an amazing thing to watch. Scary, but amazing. ..On a side note, William H. Macy was fantastic, as usual.
February 8, 2011
This movie was so true to the book that I felt like I had seen it before. The book was a little more detailed, so I have to say I liked that better. However the movie was very well acted and captured the right feel and emotion.
April 6, 2008
Lags in a few places, but it's anchored well by a superb performance by the always great William H. Macy. Like other movies about anti-Semitism and racism, this one sometimes almost feels like an "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" type of movie because while the protagonists try to live their normal lives, the bigots act more and more irrational, but act out in such a way that what they do seems clinical, cold, and logical in their own warped minds, making the protagonist have to "act out" and "cause problems". Meat Loaf also turns in a surprisingly strong performance as the next door neighbor, part Cro-Magnon, part backyard BBQ buddy, part pod person bigot. It takes a bit to start moving, but when Macy and Paymer (also doing a great job) start debating, the soul of the movie is really revealed. I didn't quite get the ending, but I'm going to be reading Miller's novel to get a more in-depth look at this well-done story.
March 23, 2008
Macy is superb. Absolutely gripping and believable. Meatloaf again proves his acting range with his character of the racist neighbor. Awesome movie; propells the audience into action-leaves you with an urgency to do "the right thing".
October 12, 2014
I was mesmerized by this movie - the acting, the directing the photography - all shed a light on that 1940's era and brought it home as a powerful montage of our behavior when under duress and scrutiny. William Macy was superb along with Laura Dern who is always a marvel. Meatloaf portrayed the large mouthed bigot effortlessly. Anti Semitism is one of the worst kinds of bigotry - since the reasoning behind it is always obscure without basis. "You people have all the money". "You people cheat in business" You people have all the big businesses" - I cried during this movie, especially during the fight scene with the baseball bats - two men swinging bats to defend themselves against brainless thugs. See that movie and look for that which is not obvious - Andi
October 31, 2012
I felt it was an allegory of Nazi Germany, made even more poignant as a result of the time and place of the setting. It has a dream like stagey feel that I think suits the seriousness of the content.
March 17, 2007
Focus would have been a great Twilight Zone.
It is a great story and a morality play. Suspense is here and the cinematography will keep you watching.
I highly recommend Focus if you wonder what happens to good people in an era of conformity. The lead character seems like a wimp, but he isn't. He's a veteran that doesn't want to talk about the horrible past he's had.
He's got more guts than anyone else in the film.
If you have ever had overbearing neighbors that bully you or ever had anyone bully you, in school or elsewhere....... catch this movie.
If you ever liked deep movies, thought provoking movies.... get this movie.
Highly recommended. Oscar material. Just remember though, one man's treasure can be another man's trash.
August 14, 2010
Gave this a re-watch. William H. Macy, Meat Loaf, Laura Dern and David Paymer show respect for Arthur Millers revered material with some knockout performances in a pot-boiler that only just transcends it's stage trappings. The message is heavy-handed but a necessary reflection of the period in 1940's America where paranoia is bursting at the seams. Some strange angles and editing are jarring at times, but it is still a solid piece of work from first timer Director Neil Slavin.
November 7, 2006
William H Macy is such a remarkable actor, and he is outstanding in this film. He is perfectly cast. Good story, very good period detail, nicely written and very moving.
March 1, 2004
Films watched between January 25, 2004 - January 28, 2004.
January 15, 2004
[size=3]William H. Macy and Laura Dern star in this film, based on the only novel written by Arthur Miller, about a middle-aged man who gets a new pair of eyeglasses and is subsequently mistaken for being Jewish. Macy, as usual, is compelling and sympathetic as a man who is forced to confront his own prejudices when he becomes the victim of similar ones. And in a chillingly effective supporting performance, the musician Meat Loaf portrays Macy's longtime friend and neighbour, a man who unashamadly voices his concerns that the neighbourhood is becoming "too mixed". [i]Focus [/i]is not a subtle film, it's like a 1940s social-conscious drama that Frank Capra might have directed. Unfortunately, the movie is not able to find a consistent tone, and there are several bizarre scenes that seem unrelated to the larger story. Many of these scenes involve the budding romance (and eventual marriage) of Macy and Dern. Somehow, these romantic scenes seem out of place in a film that tries to be a hard-hitting drama about racial prejudice. The film's ending is rather unsatisfying, as well, and I would have preferred a deeper examination of the causes and manifestations of anti-Semitism. [i]Focus[/i], released soon after the September 11th terrorist attacks, is somewhat timely in its message (considering the way Arabs were stereotyped in America following the attacks). And the movie has solid acting, not only from Macy, Dern and Meat Loaf, but also from the reliable character actor David Paymer as the one real Jew in the neighbourhood. Yet despite its strong acting, [i]Focus [/i]can never shake its limitations as a "message movie" and achieve the heights of a compelling drama.[/size]