<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by John Requa and Glenn Ficarra. Starring Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Rodrigo Santoro, Adrian Martinez, Gerald McRaney, BD Wong, Brennan Brown, Robert Taylor
Focus glorifies pickpockets and thieves and asks us to root for a morally bankrupt man who shows no sincerity whatsoever through the film. It has two directors so one can understand why it’s such a mess.
It would take a really good writer and director to make film about people who steal for a living and make the audience want them to win. The last one I watched that was that interesting was the magical heist movie Now You See Me.
In Focus – a film that actually has a con artist consultant – we are introduced to Nicky (Will Smith) who is taken for a light con by Jess (Margot Robbie) who realises he is way out of his league. Nicky, who runs a huge racket stealing goods and credit card details, takes her under his wing since she has potential and they form a partnership that goes a bit beyond just picking pockets together. But hearts get stolen and then broken.
The problem with Focus is that it tries to make you like a character that steals from people and really has no redeeming qualities. He ends up using his most trusted ally.
Con after con occurs with Nicky’s penchant for gambling cropping up once in a while to throw a curve ball. But the twists that come one after another and are then explained in nauseating detail as if to impress the viewers are neither glorious nor intriguing.
The Rom part of this rom-‘con’ is played out well by Margot Robbie who is the novice that develops her skills and her heart. Will Smith seems a bit lethargic and fails to blossom as a character. There’s some zingy banter now and then especially by the vulgar-mouthed Farhad (Adrian Martinez) and Owens (Gerald McRaney) but most of the dialogue you’ve heard before.
Focus is a film that zig-zags between trying to be a con movie and then a romantic movie and then a suspense film but never convincingly tells you a complete story that amazes you. At the end, you simply cannot sympathise or cheer on any of the characters and neither can you find them endearing.