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Review: Focus


Focus, starring Will Smith and The Wolf of Wall Street’s Margot Robbie, is the newest, glitziest con movie to hit the cinemas. With a trailer promising something reminiscent of Ocean’s Eleven, I was hopeful on settling down to watch this film. However, despite Will Smith being as sassy and badass as ever, I was left vaguely disappointed. Although offering a few twists and turns that you would expect, some humorous moments and great chemistry between the two leads, Focus unfortunately only falls into the category of mediocre.

The plot follows veteran con artist Nikky (Will Smith) and novice Jess (Margot Robbie), who, on meeting Nikky after a failed con on him, asks him to teach her the tricks of the trade. A montage of some suave watch stealing and wallet swiping later, Jess is well and truly integrated with Nikky’s conning organisation, a team that resembles a modern day, adult Fagin’s gang from Oliver Twist. The two characters inevitably begin to fall for each other in typical rom-com style, as the crew head to a football game to work the crowd and rake in the cash. After pulling of a ludicrous but fun con at the game, this, in my opinion, is the peak of the film. However Nikky, being the stereotypical flawed anti-hero, pulls the Twilight move and abandons Jess, believing his love for her is too dangerous in the con game. When the two meet again some years later on different sides of a Formula One con in Buenos Aires, we are left with the question – who is really conning who?

The acting throughout the film is on point, with Smith and Robbie making an interesting (and gorgeous) couple and comically bouncing off each other well. The character Farhad, one of Nikky’s crew, played by Adrian Martinez, is another stand out as he offers some shocking yet hilarious one liners and is responsible for much of the comedy in the film. Focus is also great visually, utilising some stunning locations (and of course Will Smith’s pecks), giving the whole film a very glitzy suitably con-like feel.

However, despite all of this, the second half of the film just didn’t live up to the expectations set up by the first. While there are a few unexpected twists, the plot arch that I was hoping would blow my mind just didn’t appear, and the twists that did reveal themselves were just too ridiculous for words. The character of Jess in the second half also disappointed. After being abandoned like a naive Bambi figure, I had hopes of her making a far more inspiring return and having a more active role than she did, leaving the Jess/Nikki relationship, in my opinion a little flat and unconvincing. Although the end is somewhat of a disappointment, Focus is still good fun in the typical Hollywood sense. A conventional mix of glamour, sensation and flippant one liners, this film is enjoyable, but ultimately forgettable.


Edited by Mackenzie Orrock

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