Focus is the enthralling story of a master con man, Nicky (Will Smith) who is persuaded to take Jess (Margot Robbie) – an exquisitely attractive novice thief – under his wing.
After Jess proves she is worth her weight in pick-pocketed gold, Nicky introduces her to his cunning crew and she becomes a valued member of their tight-knit team. However, when Nicky and Jess become romantically involved, complications arise and Nicky abruptly drops Jess as his accomplice and girlfriend. This is the first spanner in the works in a series of twists and turns that will keep you wondering exactly who is playing who right until the very end.
Written and directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, the film opens on a busy and picturesque night-time cityscape. It quickly introduces the two main characters (Smith and Robbie) who are drinking at the same bar – not by coincidence. They inevitably, and dare I say it, predictably meet – the finer details you will have to wait and see for yourself – and from here, the film has a thrilling and adventurous feel that is not dissimilar to Ocean’s Eleven. Nicky and Jess are the high rollers, baby and they live as lavishly as you’d imagine. I found myself completely caught up in all the glitz and glamour, wondering how many people actually live the thief life?
Robbie, who made her film debut in The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) alongside Leonardo DiCaprio has come a long way since her humble beginnings as Donna on Neighbours. It’s hard to believe she is only 24 years old as she has the elegance and sexiness of someone beyond her years; she is smoking! And her American accent is authentic and flawless. Perhaps she has developed a real accent after having lived in the States since 2011. Regardless, Robbie definitely holds her own alongside the man that is Big Willie.
Smith brings his trademark confidence (verging on cockiness) and swagger to his role. Considering the fact that he is pushing 50 and doesn’t look like he should be Robbie’s father instead of her lover, he has a legitimate reason to be smug. According to celebrity sources, instead of feeling threatened, Smith’s wife, Jada told him to get in shape after learning he’d be starring alongside the much younger and extremely attractive Robbie. Ouch! Jada’s comments obviously motivated Smith as he is looking as fit as ever.
Ficarra and Requa chose a winning combination with Smith and Robbie. Although the sex scenes are unfortunately fairly tame (and few and far between), the pair uses their effortless charm to steam up the screen. The only criticism is that there are, perhaps, too many twists and turns resulting in an ending that is too far-fetched. It’s like the storyline dug itself so deep that only a ridiculous explanation could enable it to end happily ever after, as the audience expects. Nevertheless, Focus is a solid four stars out of five – easy-watching from start to finish and a potentially open invitation for Focus 2. We can only hope!