On the surface, Focus looks the part as a flashy crime drama with Will Smith and Margot Robbie as the two leads however, scratch beneath the surface a little and it turns out there isn’t really a lot to the film as a whole. This is another classic case of style over substance in Hollywood.
Focus stars Will Smith as Nicky Spurgeon, a seasoned con-man who becomes romantically involved with Jess Barrett (Margot Robbie) while training her up to work as part of his team of con-men.
Nicky’s feelings for Jess start to get in the way of his work and it isn’t long before the two find themselves in hot water with those they have ripped off in the past.
Will Smith has become a bit of a forgotten man in Hollywood, which feels weird to say as he was the man of the moment around eight years ago with films such as I Am Legend and Hancock.
After the dreadful After Earth and a brief appearance in the dire Winter’s Tale, it feels good to say that Focus does feel like a mini comeback for Will Smith. Smith acts far less like the plank of wood he had become in recent films and shows signs of the charisma that made him so watchable in his early career. He was one of my favourite actors when I was growing up so to see signs of a career revival is a good sight.
Alongside Smith, Margot Robbie does a decent job in making sure she isn’t just the eye candy of the film, much like her performance in The Wolf of Wall Street. She adds glamour to the film but with it comes a certain amount of bite. I cannot wait to see what she does with Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad.
While the performances are good, the problem lies with the characters. With the type of crime drama that Focus is, it is important that the audience take to the characters. Unfortunately, I just felt that there were some points that made the characters so hard to like that I just didn’t care what happened to them.
The other main problem I had with Focus was the story. Believe me when I say that things do get a little far-fetched throughout and there are plenty of twists and turns however, there is one last twist that I fear is the point where Focus may lose some of its audience. I wasn’t surprised to see some people get up and leave at that point.
I had to pinch myself when I saw in the end credits that the film had a con artist adviser and a pickpocket designer.
Focus is certainly a bit over the top in places but it remains watchable due to the performances of Will Smith and Margot Robbie. A big deal is made in the film about remaining focused and never dropping the con, it would have been nice though if the directors had taken note and focused on making this film much better.