Movie Review – Focus (2015)

Directors: Glenn Ficcara & John Requa

Stars: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Rodrigo Santoro

Nicky (Smith) is an experienced conman who takes a newcomer, Jess (Robbie), under his wing. After a successful stint working together they fall in love, but when everyone is lying who can you trust?

I was hoping this was going to be a return to form for Will Smith. It wasn’t. Ironically, given the title, the film felt like it lacked focus. It never seemed to settle on whether it wanted to be a love story, a heist movie, an action-thriller, or a comedy. All these elements were blended together and ultimately resulted in a movie that was less than the sum of its parts.

It is a watchable film though. Let’s face it, Smith and Robbie and two attractive people and they jet around to some glamorous locations. The soundtrack is evocative and supports the moods of the scenes, and it’s slickly directed. There are some moments of tension as the cons go on, but this is quickly defused. I quickly realized that basically everything in this movie is a con, and by the end of it I felt empty. The story chooses to focus on the romance between Nicky and Jess but because they spend so much time playing everyone (and each other) it makes it difficult to actually identify and root for them. It didn’t help that Smith and Robbie lacked chemistry.

The stakes never felt high either and the film just lacked a certain spark or energy. Nothing ever seemed to really matter, so it meandered along and eventually ended, leaving me feeling, well, nothing at all really.

On top of that there were some misguided attempts at humor that took me completely out of the film, and some parts where Nicky exhibited some creepy and pathetic behavior. All in all it’s a film that is just kind of there. It’s not awful, but it’s not very good either. It just occupies space.

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