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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Monday, December 14, 2015

Movie Review - Focus

Focus (2015)
Starring Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Rodrigo Santora, Gerald McRaney, and Adrian Martinez
Directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa

There are moments of success throughout Focus in which stars Will Smith and Margot Robbie are so charming and charismatic as sly thieves, con artists, and lovers that the Glenn Ficarra and John Requa written-and-directed film almost makes you think that you're watching something that's worthy of your time.  And then the repetitive cat-and-mouse stereotypical double-crossing rears its ugly head and we realize that the story is rather tired and Ficarra and Requa haven't done enough to reinvent things despite making their film look crisp.

Smith is Nicky, a real big shot con artist who heads a fairly large group of crooks who pull off massive amounts of rather small heists that add up to a whole lot of dough.  He meets Jess (Robbie) one evening as she attempts to con him and the two end up falling for one another.  As Nicky trains Jess to be a better crook, we're essentially given two different films:  the first forty-five minutes showcase Nicky and Jess successfully running rampant in New Orleans over Super Bowl weekend and the final seventy-five minutes switch things to Buenos Aires where Nicky attempts to help a race car team owner (Rodrigo Santora) try and win some big race through underhandedness.

The problem with Focus is, ironically, the lack thereof in the film.  We're essentially getting two separate stories here and while the film's first act in New Orleans works in all aspects -- acting, direction, story -- the second act disappoints.  The audience is well aware that most of what they're seeing onscreen is simply double cross after double cross and it ultimately makes us care very little about what we're watching since we take everything we're seeing with a grain of salt, making assumptions that nothing we're seeing is "true."  Smith and Robbie carry the piece and help to ease the disappointment in the film's final hour, but Focus feels like two separate films that don't really come together as one.

The RyMickey Rating:  C-

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