Written and directed by writing partners Gleen Ficarra and John Requa (Crazy, Stupid, Love), Focus stars Will Smith as veteran con-man Nicky, who meets amateur swindler, Jess (Margot Robbie) in a poorly devised con.
With moderate box office successes in After Earth and Seven Pounds, Smith is looking at 2015 to be his comeback year. As Nicky, Smith renounces his typical hyper, comedic performance and instead takes the suave, debonair gentlemen role that is a refreshing take from his usual performances. However, while Focus is stylish and complex, Smith fails to create an interesting and engaging character on screen and is instead overshadowed by Robbie’s outstanding performance.
Having already proven herself in Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, Robbie is clearly the star of the film. Robbie shines as quick-witted, inexperienced Jess, creating an interesting dynamic with Smith that is certainly entertaining to watch on screen. As Nicky’s apprentice, Jess is positioned head to head with her mentor and Robbie does an excellent job at sparring with Smith. In Focus, Robbie is most definitely the highlight of the entire film.
Focus successful executes the conventions of a crime film, even having the likes of Apollo Robbins, America’s most notable con-man as a consultant and choreographer. The film is sleek and swift, greatly assisted by the pickpocket choreography that subjects the audience into paying attention to the storyline. Set in different parts of the world – Buenos Aires, Argentina – Focus is a cinematic success. Bright and colourful, the film is appealing from the get-go; with beautiful settings, Focus is brilliantly distracting.
Aptly titled Focus, the film is designed on the notion that audiences are meant to focus on the captivating scenery and compelling con-man artistry that distracts the viewers from the bigger picture. As a result, Focus is able to deliver a clever resolution filled with twists and turns. The film is fun and fast paced but unfortunately fails to be memorable in the likes of Ocean’s Eleven and Catch Me If You Can.
A mix of crime, romance and comedy, Focus is an entertaining watch, albeit forgettable.
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