Review - 'Focus'
Focus is a film that teeters on the edge of being either very smart or very silly. I would give it a pass for all of its flaws if its tone were a bit lighter, but this film is at times deadly serious and seems to think it’s the savviest kid in town, which it most definitely is not.
The film follows Nicky (Will Smith), a con man that makes a living off of his ability to swindle valuables and lots of money from just about anyone. When he takes Jess (Margot Robbie) under his wing, he starts to fall for her, thus forcing him to reevaluate the type of man he wants to be.
Focus does many things correctly, but fails in some of the most critical areas. This film is a serious drama that attempts to be realistic, but also asks the viewer to believe in some of the most preposterous plot twists cinema has to offer and numerous complex cons that would never work in the real world.
Will Smith and Margot Robbie are each in top form here and have a chemistry that is believable. I enoyed watching these two play off of each other, even if Will Smith’s character comes off as almost too perfect to believe. While Will Smith turns in a great performance, his character is very rarely put in a compromising position and, except for one instance, pretty much gets everything he wants.
Despite my issues, Focus is not a bad film, in fact, it can be quite enjoyable to watch for the majority of its duration. The movie is light on its feet and I was never bored by any of it. Even if the script fails at times, the directors are adept at building tension and showing characters at the top of their game playing off of one another.
I also thought Focus was shot and cut very well. You can tell the directors understand the fundamentals of shooting film and making it look good. And even though the plot runs off the rails from time to time, I was never confused as to what the directors were trying to show me.
While Focus falls off the tight rope when trying to balance preposterous twists and believability, it still manages to be a somewhat engaging experience, mainly due to the fact that its constantly moving. If you’re into heist movies with charismatic characters, you could do worse than Focus.