Focus (2015): Never Drop the Con

Posted: February 27, 2015 in Comedy, Crime, Drama

focus concept poster will smith margot robbie con artist junaid bhat 2015While having dinner, Nicky is approached by a young woman asking for him to save her from a man at the bar by pretending to be her boyfriend. They spend the entire night together, ending with a trip up to her hotel room. Once inside, their time together is interrupted by her husband, but Nicky immediately makes the con and foils their plans. Jess is devastated but gets her chance for redemption as Nicky is open to teaching her some methods of conning. While it appears that he leaves her to her own game, she follows him to New Orleans to beg for chance to join his team. Allowing her into the game as an intern, she quickly tries to prove herself and fight her way into the big league. While Nicky has his eyes on amassing a fortune through a lot of individual cons, Jess has her sights on racking up the big one.

Review: While having a bit of an Ocean’s 11 vibe, Focus aimed to entertain through trickery, double-crossing, and moments of sensuality. While the overall film was enjoyable, the surprises were not completely surprising and the sensuality was relatively mediocre. Will Smith (Nicky) certainly had a better showing in this film than his past several, having a few deeper moments and quite a few more humorous ones. Margot Robbie (Jess), on the other hand, was actually a more enjoyable on-screen presence. She showed better range and energy. Adrian Martinez (Farhad) was actually quite enjoyable as well.

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While the themes of the film were about slight of hand and trust, it left viewers questioning everything (for good or bad). With each of the cons presented throughout the story, you were left to guess what the double-cross or real motive behind each action was. For the first con, Nicky had already made Jess before she even approached him. When she arrived in New Orleans, he was already aware that she would attempt to follow. When he bet the farm on a bet at the Super Bowl … you get the picture. The film makes the concept of conning seem very cool, but it also felt a bit repetitive in the way. As the film attempted to shift gears toward the romantic relationship between Nicky and Jess, it felt like the big con was more of an inconvenience to the question of whether they were truly meant to thrive.

While not a perfect film, Focus is still a fun one. See if you can guess if any of their plays are ever as simple as they seem.

Dan’s Rating: 3.0/5


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