Starring: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Adrian Martinez
Director: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
Running Time: 104 mins
Focus is an American film about a veteran con man who takes a young woman under his wing, and as the two become involved in bigger jobs, they begin to form a relationship that will strain their lives as con artists.
It may not be a work of cinematic genius, but there’s no reason for it to be. This film is just a fun, slick and cool crime story that encompasses light-hearted comedy, a nice romance, and some entertaining drama, along with an impressive central performance by Will Smith that all comes together to make up a very simple, but pretty enjoyable movie.
Basically, the main thing about this film is that it’s all about the wealth and the money involved in the story. If you’re a wannabe rich man, this will be up there with The Wolf Of Wall Street as your favourite films, because it’s such a cool, good-looking and simply slick portrayal of living the high life through hustling, so on that (albeit very superficial) front, this film is pretty nice.
Will Smith is another part of this film that adds to that slick image. He’s so suave for so much of this film that it feels almost Bond-like, and although there are some huge inconsistencies with his character development, and some real missed opportunities with directions that character could go, Smith just owns the screen every time you see him, because he’s just so cool.
In terms of the story, it’s a lot of fun for the first half of the film. In that period, you get to see Will Smith training Margot Robbie about all the cool con tricks that he can do, and then a very lengthy but engrossing betting sequence which got me (surprisingly) on the edge of my seat.
The only problem is that the film loses its sense of enjoyment in the final act, where everything becomes a little too serious; the stakes are too high and it all gets completely blown over the top, leaving it as an ultimately preposterous and uninteresting finale to what was initially a very entertaining story.
Now, there are other problems with the film, one of the main ones of which is its tonal inconsistencies. To be honest, when you’re enjoying it, it doesn’t make any difference, but towards the end, the light-hearted touch of the comedy is lost, the romance goes over the top, and it tries to turn itself more into a Bourne movie than just stay as the slick Bond movie it started off as.
Also, I was disappointed by the twists that the story brought about. There are points in this film where you think that it’s going against the Hollywood clichés, which would be so refreshing, but it normally ends up copping out and being totally predictable a lot of the time, which was ultimately very disappointing for me to see.
Overall, I’ll give this a 7.0 for its entertaining first half, interesting but not always successful mix of genres, and slick image.