Focus movie full length review - The Only People Getting Conned Are the Audience
No one had heard of Margot Robbie until 'The Wolf of Wall Street' came about. Now, it seems that every Director wants her in their film.
How could they not; when she enthralled audiences everywhere with an exceedingly rare female role in a film. A character that is determined and strong willed. Don't get me wrong Robbie is entitled to further roles, I just cannot shake off the feeling that the Directors pulled off a con involving her, so that she could become the female lead in 'Focus'. It should be noted that never has a title had less relevance for a feature film. Because if anything the majority of this film is out of focus and you can include the script in that statement as well.
It's not all bad though. The first thirty minutes is entertaining. However, I mean this in a, if you leave your brain at home way. Don't think too much and you may have a blast, but that's only if you never use your brain during a film. If you do, then there's the door, I suggest you walk through it.
Nicky is a con artist played blandly yet again by Will Smith, who has only ever been well cast in a film once ? 'Men in Black'. He takes up Jess played by Margot Robbie mustering her acting talent and trying as hard as she did in 'The Wolf of Wall Street' to impress. She becomes his protégé, con artist and lover. They try to become romantically involved and it does not work out. Nicky eventually tracks her down to win back her affection and talent as a con artist.
Unfortunately, cracks in the film appear frequently, too large to brush aside and ignore. Consider the opening scene where Nicky tries to bed Jess. It works to his advantage and all of it happens according to his plan. But, we as an audience do not buy it. He barely knows the girl and not five minutes of chit chat has taken place, when they decide to get down to business. I know he is Will Smith and all. I'm sure he has women falling at his feet. But this seems rather far-fetched. Especially when this love turns out to be more than a one night stand and they are fully fledged romantically. The decisions that they partake seem rash, perhaps it was this lack of character development that led me to become distanced from the film in the process.
The script thinks it's very clever and is far too cock sure. This brings to mind another film about deception, trickery and cons. That made no sense at all in the slightest and was all too lacking when it came to character motivation and plausibility. 'Now You See Me'. Both of these films are firmly rooted in the nineties, with old jokes and plot twists so dumb it would have a toddler second guessing the events of the film. Another comparison to be made is that they both possess visual gleam. Take that away and they are just cheap parlour tricks to conceal their true identity.
If I am putting my points across to you again and again, then I'm sorry. But at least it parallels the repetitiveness of the film itself. What starts out as clever movements of characters who steal wallets and other personal belongings from random citizens grows tiresome quickly. Seen one con and you have seen them all. Don't get me going again about the romance that has been stamped on so that couples will flock to the cinema. Do we ever feel involved in their emotions? Do we feel for the characters? Do we in fact buy their romance at all for a second? The answer to all of them above is a definite no! The con clearly is on with 'Focus', not on the oblivious characters, but by and large on the audience themselves. How long can you watch the same old, same old trickery on screen that never changes? It drags and drags and drags. Gets old quickly see? Want a dull Will Smith? A flavourless story? Dumb plot twists that make no sense for a climax? You can have it all. Just do not expect witty dialogue, engaging scenes or interesting characters for that matter. Now excuse me while I burn all copies of the film.