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STEPHEN'S MOVIE GUIDE

Focus (2015)

Review: written July 2015

Slick and stylish, but finally muddled caper

Focus (2015)

There’s no question this movie looks the business. Will Smith is in cool-mode and Margot Robbie oozes sex appeal while her acting chops ensure her character has credibility. She plays a would-be con lady who ends up being the protégé of Smith. There is believable enough spark between the two, however this being a movie about cons, the plot starts to take various turns as you are left guessing who might be conning who and what the big picture actually is.

The movie really gets the chemistry, the style, the locations just right. There is a heightened reality to the cinematography which puts an appropriate amount of gloss considering the topic. Given that the con / caper movie has been a well-trodden cinematic path, there are also some interesting ideas here and characters with enough back story to be not entirely one dimensional. In fact, some moments do indeed do a great job of building tension as you wonder how a scene will play out, such as the football game betting scene. However, a lot of fuss is made in the movie about trust. And this is where the movie lets the viewer down.. at some point the plot becomes so tricksy that you ultimately stop really investing in the characters.. you lose trust that the movie will have an ending with any integrity. Ultimately, the ending does deliver its own surprises and ends ambiguously enough for some interpretation, but the movie lacks the real chutzpah to deliver that knock down moment that will put the required grin on your face.

Great stars acting their socks off in plush cinematography makes this fun enough, but tricksiness isn’t cleverness, and there is a rather hollow feeling by the end of the movie that despite some clever tension filled moments, you may leave unsatisfied. If anything, what the movie lacked is what the title led you to expect.



Focus (2015)




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