Focus follows the story of con artist, Nicky (Will Smith). He's good at what he does. In fact, he's the best, even with all his daddy issues. Enter Jess (Margot Robbie), a wannabe theft who wants to join up with Nicky. After a bit of convincing, Nicky gives Jess a chance in his world of conning, only to find out that she's probably just as good as him. And that's when the twists start... and then don't stop... and then keep going.... and going... and going... and just when you think they've put in enough twists, another one comes out and bites you in the butt.
Despite it's flaws, and I will get into these very soon, Focus is actually a lot of fun. It's not a film that breaks new ground, nor is it a film that's all that smart. But what it is, is entertaining. It's a short, fast and enjoyable flick that doesn't really require much effort to watch. While filmed graciously and directed even better, Focus, unfortunately, isn't a film I see myself coming back to.
The two leads, Margot Robbie and Will Smith, are brilliant. Their chemistry is great and their performances even better. Sure, it's fairly easy to pick apart if they're playing each other or not, but what matters is the performances, and these actors deliver. It's refreshing to see Will Smith actually in a good movie for once, especially one that isn't After Earth. Margot Robbie on the other hand, well, it seems Wolf of Wall Street wasn't really a fluke. She's an actress with a big career ahead of you, mark my words.
The film's performances are the least of its worries. It's the predictability of it all that this film should've been concerned with. Focus sets out to be the next great con film, and like all great con films, it's got a few tricks up its sleeve. Very predictable tricks. As the scenes are played out and the cards are put on the table, it's not all that difficult to work out what's a con and what's real, but by the time the third act comes out, I didn't really care either. I just had fun with the film, predictability and all.
It's also rather choppy too, either taking too long to set up or not following through with that original plot. Which one of those I'd rather have been changed, I'm not sure. Focus starts out as an enjoyable, unrealistic mess. It's not necessarily slow, but it doesn't really go anywhere either. Then, about halfway through, we change directions entirely. It's somewhat more enjoyable and to the point, but it looses a lot of its charm and mischief.
Neither one of these halves are bad. In fact, they're both very entertaining, but neither one is fleshed out enough to last. It's almost like a lazy two part tv pilot, the first dedicated the setting up the plot and then the second disregarding the first episode's plot entirely, but like I said, at least the filmmakers made it entertaining, and for that, I'd say this film is worth a watch. Or at least a rent.
To sum up, Focus may be rather choppy, predictable and it feels like two separate tv pilots, but with Will Smith bringing his career around and Margot Robbie further proving she can act, I can't say I wasn't entertained by it.