From The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air to Seven Pounds, Will Smith has proved his range as an actor. Therefore we can forgive him for going back to his familiar generic role as the suave hustler in his latest flick Focus.
He plays what can only be described as a ‘new-age Fagin’ character called Nicky. Nicky is a con-man running an organisation of ‘criminal activity’ specialising in pickpocketing. If we cast aside obvious ethical concerns such as the glamourisation and acceptance of criminal activity, the movie shapes up to be really quite enjoyable. The plot is well written and clever as Smith takes on novice pickpocket Jess (Margot Robbie) who is desperate for a slice of the action.
Of course the relationship rapidly turns from professional to romantic, yet being a hustle film we are never quite sure what is genuine and what is not after their dealings quickly become love/hate. Despite forebodings that the coupling would not work, Robbie and Smith have good chemistry, with Robbie managing enough charm and charisma to handle the ‘beautiful woman’ character in an old Hollywood glamour style, without appearing narcissistic or overly try-hard.
The soundtrack is good, with everything from Iggy Pop to James Brown and with polished new tracks in-between.
The visuals are stunning in their elegance as we move through the cities of New York, New Orleans and Buenos Aires.
Directed and written by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, whose previous work includes I Love You Philip Morris and Crazy, Stupid, Love we see the benefits in following your story to the end as both plot and directing work together in order to make the film entertaining, as the pair interestingly look again at the theme of identity.
Overall, all elements of the film work well together to provide ideal Friday night viewing which, for once, is not completely mindless.