Film Review: “Focus” by Blade Brown
Plot: In the midst of veteran con man Nicky’s latest scheme, a woman from his past – now an accomplished femme fatale – shows up and throws his plans for a loop.
First and foremost, welcome back Will Smith! It might be hard to believe, but this is only the third movie he’s starred on since 2008’s “Seven Pounds“. Men In Black 3,(2012) After Earth(2013) & now Focus. Sure, he had a small cameo in Winter’s Tale,(Why, is beyond my understanding) but now he’s back as the top biller. And as expected, Big Willie is in top form.
This is the first R rated film Will has made since the 2003 sequel, Bad Boys 2. While this is a return to form for Smith, his costar Margot Robbie(“The Wolf of Wall Street“) holds her own again with another veteran actor. The chemistry between these two lights up on film. From the moment they meet, Smith’s Nicky takes a strong liking to Margot’s Jess. So much, that he allows her to attempt to con him, even tho he’s picked on her scheme way before she approaches him. Once he let’s her know she’s inexperienced, he gives her some constructive criticism and eventually brings her on board his crew of scammers.
The attraction between them ultimately leads to romance. Which makes Nicky uncomfortable, as he believes there’s no room for love in the lifestyle he lives. And after a high stakes gamble with a compulsive gambler,(played by the magnetic B.D. Wong) he abruptly ends their relationship and partnership. Three years go by before they cross paths again. But this time, she’s romantically involved with the target of his next scam, a billionaire motorsports team owner(300’s Rodrigo Santoro). Or, is she working a different angle to con the same man? That’s his instant dilemma. And there’s also the issue of him still having feelings for her.
This is a fun, slick and smart film. At least it is until the last act. Which is so dead set on leaving the audience happy, that it throws out a unrealistic curve ball instead of making the ending believable. But even with the ending being a letdown, you have such a fun ride getting there that you walk out the theatre slightly forgiving it. Slightly.
A good comeback vehicle for Smith and another step in the right direction for Robbie, Focus is definitely worth the price of admission. If anything, its fun to get a preview of how these two look together on screen. They will pair up again in 2016’s “Suicide Squad” as “Deadshot” & “Harley Quinn” respectively.
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