Focus (15)

Focus tells the tale of Nicky Spurgeon (Will Smith), a veteran con man. When a woman from his past, now an accomplished femme fatale, shows up Nicky’s dreams of ‘the big con’ are threatened.

Nicky is an extremely accomplished con man who takes an amateur con artist named Jess (Margot Robbie) under his wing. Before long the duo start mixing business with pleasure, and things get messy.

Nicky’s profession of being both a liar and a cheater for a living makes him realize that deception and love are things that don’t go together. He and Jess go their separate ways, only to see each other three years later.

But Jess’ reappearance couldn’t come at a worse time. Nicky’s been working on a ‘the big con’, the one with the huge pay-out that will allow him to retire to an exotic island, and his ex-lover is about to screw all of that up…

If you go along just expecting to be entertained, then you’re going to really enjoy Focus. It’s a charming, smartly written hustle movie. The double-blinds and double- crosses are well executed.

However, if you stop and dissected the movie you will find problems. Like how can two con artists with a history of deceiving one another learn to trust one another?

Similar to Brad Furman’s Runner Runner, the whole movie feels formulaic, as though it was simply going through the motions. It’s missing the necessary punch that the action-thriller requires.

Margot Robbie lacks the necessary sex appeal that she exuded in The Wolf of Wall Street. In fact Smith and Robbie had little to no chemistry. This boy finds girl, boy loses girl, boy wins girl back subplot is contrived.

Focus lacks the clarity that its namesake boasts. Its major flaw is that it reveals it plot twist pretty early on so you’re left waiting in anticipation for your moment of smug satisfaction.

By Ruth Walker
★★☆☆☆

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