“Focus” finds Will Smith back on the big screen two years following “After Earth”. He also finds himself in R rated territory which is rare for him. It is nice to see him taking on more adult fare and plays well to his strengths. In this film he plays a con artist who takes a protege under his wing then falls in love with her.
Smith plays Nicky. The novice he begins teaching is Jess played by Margot Robbie. When their partnership becomes romantic Nicky ends it abruptly as he believes that there is no room for heart in the con game. Cut to three years later and Nicky is caught up in a con involving race car owners when Jess turns up out of nowhere, reigniting their feelings for each other which makes the game much more dangerous.
“Focus” was written and directed by the team of Glen Ficarra and John Requa who previously directed a little seen gem called “I Love You Phillip Morris” as well as the generic “Crazy, Stupid, Love”. “Focus” is a solid film by this team and contains some seriously entertaining set pieces but I did feel like it was half a story with a rushed ending. A lot of time is spent introducing us to these characters and their world which was truly fascinating. The third act of the film felt rushed and a bit contrived as if they did’nt know where to take it all.
Smith and Robbie are magnetic as Nicky and Jess. They play off each other rather well. Their romance also had some great chemistry. I think my favorite sequence was the betting that took place at the big game half way through the film. It starts out as small time and escalates in to potential danger. Its moments like this that the actors were at their best.
In the end “Focus” is an entertaining and well acted film. There are some short comings in the screenplay but it did not deter me from having a fun time with this flick.