This week on “Justin Hall At The Movies,” I’ll be reviewing Will Smith as he teaches the art of the con in “Focus.”
Movie Review “Focus”
Focus is a movie that relies a little too much on style and wildly unexpected twists to carry it through. However, thanks mostly to the charm and charisma of its two leading stars, it manages to get itself out of obligatory territory…most of the time.
Will Smith stars as Nicky Spurgeon, a professional con man who meets and falls in love with a grafter (Margot Robbie, The Wolf of Wall Street). Soon he’s teaching her the ropes of how to pull off perfect cons. However, he’s also breaking his one rule of never getting emotionally involved with someone.
Some of the movie’s cons are just flat-out entertaining to watch to see how Smith can up the ante as in one scene where he and Robbie go to New Orleans to attend a football game and match wits with a compulsive gambler. They bet on everything from the exact plays made on the field to the numbers on the players’ jerseys. I don’t know if you could necessarily pull off some of these cons in reality, but it was interesting to think so.
After going their separate ways, Spurgeon travels to Buenos Aires and sees that his one-time protégé has now become an experienced con artist herself and naturally she shows him what she’s learned.
This is not a major Will Smith movie, but it is surprisingly watchable nevertheless. The screenplay by co-writer/directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa always manage to keep the film on its toes even when it goes a little too far into being preposterous. The climax of the movie is a fine example of that.
However, there is a lot of style, energy, and enthusiasm from its two stars as they try to outwit both each other and their competitions. Focus probably won’t be a blockbuster for Smith, but it will erase the memories of the gargantuan bomb that was After Earth. And that’s no con.
(Rated R for language, some sexual content, and brief violence.)
Until next time, White County, this is Justin Hall saying I’ll see you AT THE MOVIES!