Expert Conman, Nicky, takes a street level pickpocket under his wing and trains her to become one of the best thieves he's ever seen. The two develop a relationship but things take a turn for the worse, now....who's conning who?
Will Smith (Men In Black) and Margot Robbie (Wolf Of Wall Street) play professional con-men who meet when Jess (Robbie) attempts to con Nicky (Smith) by seducing him up to her room, only to find out that he's one step ahead. Nicky trains Jess to become a part of his business.
The trailers may lead you to believe that this is an action film based around the art of the con, but this is much, much smarter. Directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa who previously directed the very good "Crazy, Stupid, Love" have constructed a highly intelligent and endlessly entertaining film filled with great performances, playful humor and twists you won't see coming.
Smith and Robbie have undeniable chemistry, it makes every scene between them a pleasure to watch. Their relationship felt authentic and never felt forced. Of course the two will be starring in next year's "Suicide Squad" so let's hope they share a lot of screen time.
The film contains some highly impressive set pieces, the most being a game of bets with a high stakes gambler played by BD Wong (Jurassic Park) that was almost to good to believe. Like the characters in the film, you'll leave feeling like you've been played, as the directors pull the rug from under you many times. Perhaps by the final chapter there are one too many twists that made the final act feel slightly overkill.
Going back to the gambling scene. This was excellently pulled off, you will never guess the outcome, Requa and Ficarra did a miraculous job with this scene which one its own would serve nicely as its own product. It has a full arch, a beginning, middle and end and that's rare to find. This is the best scene in the film and the actors were fantastic in it.
It's difficult to discuss the films story without revealing spoilers, because there are many.
"Focus" is an incredibly fun film that doesn't rely on action or effects to impress, the witty dialogue and well thought out set pieces will definitely surprise you.
Will Smith delivers his finest performance since "Seven Pounds" back in 2008, reminding you that he is still one of the finest movie stars we've ever had. Like always he's funny, charming, charismatic, but he also presents a vulnerability here that we don't usually see from him, his character had a lot of depth which was surprising.
Margot Robbie proves herself yet again to be a star, not only nailing the comedy but delivering in spades with the dramatic scenes. The film also has a surprisingly good supporting cast, Gerald McRaney, Adrian Martinez and Brennan Brown all do a great job.
Ironically the biggest issue with "Focus" is that it lacks....focus. There is no real through-line in the film other than the relationship between Nicky and Jess, which becomes a lot more prominent as the film progresses. The final con seems to appear from nowhere and whilst the end twists are a lot of fun and are very surprising, one or two don't make all that much sense.
The film becomes progressively darker and more danger is introduced but it never loses its sense of fun. There is a constant game of who's conning who and you'll have a lot of fun trying to figure it out, or simply watching it unfold.
For a February release this was surprisingly good, I really recommend "Focus", its very intelligent, incredibly entertaining and wraps up nicely by the end credits.
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