After Will Smith’s last two films – the disastrous After Earth, and the mediocre Men In Black 3 – it was unclear of where his acting career was going, and if his films were ever going to get any better again. Now, picking up an Ocean’s Eleven-type con-film, he seems to be on the right track.
And although the right track is still a long way from his late 90’s and 00’s work, Smith still gets jiggy and manages to create an entertaining flick!
In Focus, we follow Nicky (Smith), a seasoned con-man who is thrown into disarray when he re-encounters a colleague during his biggest job yet. That woman is Jess (Margot Robbie), and what follows is a ‘who did it?’ plot of complexion and baffling drama with fast cars, short skirts and money throwing.
Sure it sounds clichéd – and it is. But with some added wit, new faces and ‘oh, it was that guy all along!’ type-plot, it feels like something fresh, or even new. Crafted by Glenn Fricarra and John Requa, Focus is slick and modern, yet still needs to dip its toes into old formulas that worked rather than new mixes. Mainly in similarities to the Ocean franchise, the camera work, plot-pacing and swanky backing score.
But the focal point is not actually the cons, or the plot twists. But more the relationship between Smith and Robbie’s characters. The con-man and con-woman and how they attract, the flow and the chemistry between them - but also the friction and the play against each other. Even with the age difference and believability, it’s dazzling and builds even bigger hype for their Suicide Squad team-up next year!
With plot twists, flips and non-linear storytelling, Focus does at points feel like an episode of Scooby Doo as it slowly unravels and explains all to the camera – yet, at points it is genuinely entertaining too and makes you forget how long you have been watching it for...