DIRECTED BY: Glenn Ficarra and John Requa
STARRING: Will Smith and Margot Robbie
In the midst of veteran con man Nicky’s latest scheme, a woman from his past – now an accomplished femme fatale – shows up and throws his plans for a loop.
Nicky is an accomplished con man who encounters a young grafter named Jess as she tries to con him but he makes her long before she realises. Eventually she takes Jess under his wing and teaching her the methods of how to take from people like he does. When things get personal between them and they pull a big score, Nicky decides to cut her loose as he thinks getting involved with her will lead to no good. Three years later, Nicky is working for a guy to give a competitor false info but unfortunately for him as soon as he gets into the rhythm of it, he discovers that Jess is with the guy he’s trying to con, making matters more complicated.
Focus is directed by the duo behind films such as I Love You Phillip Morris and Crazy, Stupid, Love, Gleen Ficarra and John Requa and their latest film starring Will Smith and Margot Robbie I found to be….okay. The first act starts off promising with how Nicky and Jess meet each other and he introduces her to the small stuff first of pickpocketing unexpecting tourists in New Orleans to the standout scene of the film of Nicky gambling everything with Mr. Liuyan in the private box at the football stadium. Then when Nicky cuts Jess loose the film sort of dives rapidly in my interest for it, like that scene was the peak for the film. Not to say it ends up being terrible, the final act kind of goes over the top with ‘Oh they conned him! Oh wait, he conned THEM! Oh wait…’ scenario that just not lost me but made me moan that it went there.
The two leads though do fine job on screen with Will Smith back to his charismatic self and carries a certain amount of charm as well as seemingly carrying a certain amount of emotional baggage with him. Margot Robbie however seems to bring a genuine charm to the big screen as well, making it beyond any doubt that her performance in The Wolf Of Wall Street wasn’t just a fluke.
The film is just filled with hustles and tricks, shot well with the scenery yet with the script it feels like a con film you’ve seen before. Will Smith is back on form here from After Earth but it’s Margot Robbie that is the highlight of the film for me. 5/10