An entertaining and well shot film with good acting was my initial reaction to Focus upon leaving the cinema. That’s about as far as it goes in terms of positive feedback due to the film feeling incredibly familiar and somewhat commercialised.
Let’s start with the whole reason I started this blog – comedy. The humour in this film felt uninspired, forced and, as stated above, commercialised. It honestly felt like a group of people got in to a room and said “wouldn’t it be funny if he said this?” rather than letting the character tell them what they would say. The best example of this from the film is when Nicky (Will Smith) states that his overweight co-worker distributed his own line of gravies. “Wouldn’t it be funny if an overweight man distributed his own line of gravies?” – No, no it would not.
With all of that said I have to admit that I DID laugh at some of the jokes in the film, but due to the acting…not the writing. Will Smith and Margot Robbie display incredible performances with a lot of heat between the two actors on screen and if I am honest they saved the film from the awful comedy clearly put in to keep us interested. I always say that it’s the acting that makes a film, and I fully stand by it with focus – if nothing else, watch Focus to see Will Smith in a different role to his normal casting (and kill it).
The story was alright, but as I said above it felt very familiar and although it is enjoyable to watch I can’t get past the fact that the two characters reunite and get together, despite the fact that Nicky (Will Smith) used Jess (Margot Robbie) for his own personal gain and essentially broke her heart. Any woman would be crazy to go back to that. That part of the story felt unrealistic, however the rest of the plot I did like, it was fast paced and exhilarating which is great for entertainment. Character development, however, was absolutely fantastic – I feel like the character of Nicky was developed to the point of perfection and no further.
Something I did enjoy was the cinematography, it was the one part of the film that showed deeper meaning and really got me thinking about different themes and messaged with in the film. Also the sound production on this film was very very good, the use of music to lure you in and give you disappointment was clever because it showed the buzz and exhilaration that the characters were feeling rather than playing sad music over a sad scene.
In conclusion, I enjoyed Focus quite a lot, but have issues with the humour, story and female character development.