Released this month, Will Smith and Margot Robbie star in slick heist movie, Focus. Smith plays Nicky, a very cool, stylish conman who in the opening scenes of the film takes Jess (Robbie), a small time thief under his wings and teaches her how to manipulate people and events to her own advantage. The film starts well with Smith and Robbie smouldering around New York in sharp suites and clinging dresses (Robbie is in the dress I promise) drinking champagne and generally shafting everyone they come across. “Hammers and nails,” Nicky tells Jess his father taught him, “You decide what one you want to be”.
The audience is taken on an exciting ride and into the minds of master manipulators who have learned how to plant subconscious subliminal messages in order to outwit luck and fleece their targets (always rich and amoral). With a gutsy rock n’ roll sound track and Will Smith holding himself back to levels of extreme cool, it is indeed a very guilty pleasure. Robbie looks stunning as usual, but manages to portray vulnerability despite her intimidating good looks as well as impressive comedic timing.
Focus is all about fun, good looking people doing bad things in style. You think you know where it’s going but it takes little detours, some of which are refreshing and some of which just don’t work. Of course, the power couple are parted, of course they are reunited and of course there is one last big heist. The interactions between Smith and Robbie are enjoyable and you do find yourself caught up in their romantic drama. Somehow it kind of dwindles a little at the end and you are left thinking, “Is that it?” The bad guys are underused and the finale slightly unsatisfying.
It looks stunning in every way and is a lot of fun, but it just falls short of being a classic movie. It is still definitely worth a watch, particularly if you are a Smith or Robbie fan; neither has looked better and their chemistry is wonderful.
Focus is in cinemas now.