I want to open by saying that thanks to this movie, I don’t feel comfortable walking around with money in my pockets or a watch on my wrist. I also will feel more on edge now any time I decide to go to an ATM and withdraw some of the little amount of money I have in there. I just said nothing about what went on in the movie so that might not be a good thing…or is it?
Veteran con man Nicky (Will Smith) decides to take a “rookie” in the con game, Jess (Margot Robbie), under his wing. After an eventful day at a football game (which was played by made up teams if anyone wanted to know), things change between the mentor and protégé. Years later, Nicky is in the midst of pulling off a big con but things get a little tricky when his “focus” seems like its more on the relationship between him and Jess (see what I did there).
Yeah, I Liked That
I got to start this off by saying that Smith gave us a slight reminder of why he is one of the most entertaining actors around and one of my all-time favorites. He makes movies funnier than they would be other wise (except for ‘After Earth’). He did that with this movie as well as bringing that “Will Smith” vibe that he usually brings to his roles (except for in ‘After Earth’); From his demeanor all the way down to how he delivered his lines. I know it sounds like I’m in love with the guy but I’m just giving respect where respect is due. He also can just flat out act and he showed that in my favorite scene of the movie that took place in a stadium suite at a football game. Smith was able to portray what the film wanted the viewer to see (which was that he has some serious gambling problems) through his expressions. Speaking of that scene, like I said, it was my favorite of the movie. It just kept escalating and escalating and then just completely went in a different direction. I was expecting that scene to set the plot off in a different direction than in the direction it actually did but it tricked me.
Based on common knowledge about the movie, ‘Focus’ is about a man who cons, or tricks, people so it’s only right that the movie tries to trick its viewers. So of course there are some twists. I’ve tried to make it clear that I love a good twist and this movie doesn’t necessarily disappoint in that department. I won’t spoil them but one of the twists seems like it would be predictable but the movie does a good job throughout of steering you away from thinking that will actually happen in the end. A majority of the twists give a nice surprise, are funny, and work well with who we know the characters to ultimately be so I enjoyed them.
Before I move on, I want to say that Robbie’s character and performance wasn’t as good as it was in the great ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ but she still brought her charm and some laughs. Adrian Martinez, who played Farhad in the movie, kept bringing the laughs when he was on the screen. I would of liked to see him in the movie more.
Yeah, I Didn’t Like That
The story as a whole for ‘Focus’ wasn’t what I thought or wanted it to be. I knew it would be a con movie and I knew it would have some love element to it but it was way more of a love story than I expected it to be. It was like it was a love story first and then a con movie second. Not trying to spoil the movie but in the end you’ll get why it’s like that but I still would of liked to see the majority of the movie push the love story element back a couple notches. I don’t know how to do it while making the ending still have its intended effect but I feel there is a way to do it and be more entertaining without effecting that ending. The entertainment was needed too in that second act because it didn’t feel like much happened from that point up until that more thrilling end of the movie. That’s why when the movie ended I was like time flew but not in a good way. I mean seeing some more con’ing would of been appreciated. Even if it was little stuff pick-pocketing because I was enjoying those scenes at the beginning.
Earlier I talked about how I was a fan of the MAJORITY of twists in the movie (I’m saying majority only so I won’t spoil the exact number there exactly are) but the last one I’m not a big fan of. It tries to fully take the movie into a shocking “I Gotcha!” lane but it doesn’t fully work and comes off as seeming to go a little overboard. The twist leads into the ending of the movie which I don’t really like either. Up until the very end, things seem to be escalating up all for the movie to end on a very flat note.
If the second act of the movie was done a lot differently, I would feel a lot differently about this movie. Differently meaning more positively if that wasn’t already obvious to some people. The movie is still enjoyable when it comes to Smith trying to remind me how he’s capable of positively effecting a movie.
RATING: Might Rent
P.S. Once again here is my rating scale. There are four different levels. Below is each level in order from best to worse and what each one means.
Must Own = A movie that is so good that I must add it to my Blu-ray collection when it comes out.
Would Accept as a Gift = I enjoyed the movie but don’t necessarily have to buy it (especially if I don’t have the funds to) myself but I would take it if someone bought it for me.
Might Rent = A movie that if I have the urge to watch again then I’ll just rent it from somewhere or Netflix it.
Never See Again = Very simple. I don’t want to ever see this movie again.
(Photo Credit: http://www.latinpost.com/articles/36990/20150210/focus-movie-free-prize-pack-giveaway-sweepstakes-trailer.htm; URBANSHOWBIZ – http://www.urbanshowbiz.com/2015/01/15/new-movie-trailer-focus/; SMJ12 – http://www.swurvradio.com/will-smith-focus-movie-review-focus/)