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Saturday, 14 March 2015

Focus (2015)

It’s a week of movies where the story has been told before but with a minor twist here and another one there.  Most of us have seen enough and more movies about conmen and their operations and so the formula for a good one is out there.  Focus capitalizes on this tried and trusted formula for a con movie and manages to scrape through – but barely.


Nicky (Will Smith) is your suave and super slick conman.  His strength, by his own admission, is that he can convince anyone about anything.  He does so by playing to their strengths or weaknesses as the case may be.  His operation is large enough to have a full fledged team of nearly 20 people with a variety of responsibilities.

Jess (Margot Robbie) is an up and coming, aspiring con-woman.  She is a novice as Nicky quickly figures out and proves to her as well.  She is desperate to make it big in the “business” but lacks the most important ingredient / Rule #1 – as defined by Nicky’s book on “How to be a successful conman” – Focus.

Jess insists on working with Nicky even if it is as an intern / apprentice.  Nicky’s team doesn’t seem to object on that count. Jess moves into the team and proves to be an asset over the weekend that they pull off several jobs in New Orleans.  No points for guessing that the attractive lead cast fall for each other – which of course cannot be good for business because of rule #1.

Focus is a largely predictable movie and has few high points like the gambling stand-off between Nicky and Liyuan (BD Wong) - but even that is quite predictable.  It offers a lot for both genders because you can letch at two gorgeous specimens over a hundred minutes or so (more Margot Robbie than Will Smith of course).

While both actors have definitely done what was expected of them, there is very little in the story that will make you jump off your seat in surprise or result in your jaw dropping to the floor (I include Margot Robbie in a two piece black bikini when I say that).  It turns from a slick con movie into a mushy love story which is not what most people in the audience would have in mind after seeing the trailers and posters.

The director duo of Glenn Ficarra & John Requa deliver yet another movie that scrapes through into the category of “Watchable” (Crazy, Stupid, Love). Focus isn’t one that would require you to put in your hard earned money to watch over its first weekend.  It can wait till a DVD release or satellite.  Good Watch but nothing earth shattering.  6 on 10.

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