If some of the reviews of Will Smith’s Focus are anything to go by, you would think that the director and the cast went round the critics’ house before filming and walked out with all of its contents.
In this romantic thriller, Smith is playing a hustler and as always his charm and charisma seep through his pores seamlessly throughout this glossy con-artist motion picture. Written and directed by John Requa and Glenn Ficarra (who made Crazy, Stupid, Love and I Love You Phillip Morris), the film itself has far more things that work that didn’t. Critics are as always critical, needless to say.
Okay, it’s not The Sting or Ocean’s Eleven but it has some impressively creative and humorous scenes, compelling leads and is a snazzy 104 minutes that drowns the humdrum of daily life.
The plot revolves around a veteran con-man Nicky Spurgeon (Smith) who takes rookie Jess Barrett (Wolf of Wall Street’s Margot Robbie) under her wing, teaches her the ropes and then falls for her before dumping her as she gets too close. Three years later, the pair bump into each other again in Buenos Aires – Jess now an expert – where they are both operating a dangerous schemes that neither can afford to mess up. However it wouldn’t be a con-artist film if all schemes ran smoothly.
You will laugh out loud in parts for sure, mostly from Nicky’s sidekick Farhad (Adrian Martinez), whose dry, uncut humour breaks up the glamorous hustle, albeit removes all doubt that this is no classic con-artist film.
Robbie is magnetic however in parts suffers from a lack of plausibility. As the film has a few steamy scenes between Nicky and Jess, Smith made sure to hit the gym before filming began, he said in a recent interview on The Graham Norton Show.
The characters here are low life, pick-pocketing swindlers but live a life of glossy luxury. If you want smooth escapism, then Focus is a sweet entertaining version that does so with charm and gloss.
TNT News Yasin Chinembiri