Focus

BY DANIEL GUMM

Will Smith has been one of my favorite actors ever since I can remember.  He is phenomenal in everything from emotional movies like ‘The Pursuit of Happiness’ to action like ‘I Am Legend.’ His comedies are laugh out-loud hilarious and he nails everything in between.

In 2013 I, like so many others, saw ‘After Earth’ and, although I wouldn’t say it has taken me two years to get over it, it definitely left a sour enough taste that ‘Focus’ is the first new movie with Will I have seen since then. After all that, however, let me say it is good to have The Fresh Prince back.

In addition to my rediscovered love of Will Smith, I have a soft spot for con-and-heist films. Focus is not ‘Ocean’s Eleven,’ by any stretch of the imagination. Yet, it managed to give a slick crime junky like me the same “I love it when a plan comes together” satisfaction when the characters manage to pull off the theft.

‘Focus’ centers around successful con artist Nicky (Will Smith) and up-and-coming hustler, Jess (Margot Robbie). The movie walks the line between romance and drama. The romance is foremost to the crime elements, but it refuses to overshadow the action. Instead, the two seemingly opposing movie elements complement each other nicely mirroring the actors’ chemistry. Their interactions and relationship come off as genuine. The dialogue is smart and not unnecessary, managing to keep my interest glued to the screen.

My reservations fall on the lines of plot and pacing. The movie does not really seem to go anywhere in particular. I guess you could say that the one purpose parallels Nicky’s working motto; he is in the business of volume more than the size of each individual operation.

The movie is not terribly long but the direct lack of building to a singular climatic event made it hard to get excited. This led to the ending coming rather abruptly, but not to an end that I felt was lacking, merely unexceptional. The movie hit almost all the bases I wanted and pleasantly surprised me; I would recommend giving it a watch. Keep in mind the movie is rated R and while there are a few seconds of nudity and the sexual conduct is kept at a minimum, the language is consistently rough.