Movie Review
Focus poster
By Scott Sycamore     Published February 28, 2015
US Release: February 27, 2015

Directed by: John Requa Glenn Ficarra
Starring: Will Smith

R for language, some sexual content and brief violence
Running Time: 105 minutes
Domestic Box Office: $53,781,000
People who like to try and ďfigure outĒ a movie should get at least a mild kick out of this fare.
Focus. This is a movie that requires you to pay attention. Or donít. You know what? Iím not really concerned. Because what you do is not relevant to the cinematic experience being pumped out by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa. You might get lost from the plot, as I did, but youíre still going to want to give this snazzy cool fest a pass. Because you like watching cool people do interesting things on a big honking IMAX screen, you might get your brain tickled a little bit, but your intelligence wonít be insulted.

Sometimes the best special effect that a director can have is a great actor or two. And in this case, they get their movie magic by way of an impossibly attractive young actress named Margot Robbie. No, seriously. This girl is everything you want: inhumanly attractive and with charm to boot. Basically, sheís a dynamo; the screen sizzles with this woman. Now I feel like Ebert reviewing Intolerable Cruelty describing Catherine Zeta-Jones in her prime. Will Smith is also in there, and he may in fact do some of his best work in a while. He plays equal parts cool and vulnerable with aplomb. He is the right person for the role of a seasoned con man who knows every trick in the book, and some that arenít written down. Heís the kind of guy that you can just buy as a master thief/gambler/gamesman; it just makes sense that it would be him. His golden boy image works for him here, but he actually seems less cocky and arrogant than he has in previous roles. Maybe age is refining him a bit.

I wasnít the hugest fan of the ending, but it was quietly poetic in an anti-climactic sort of way. Iím not sure if the general twists and turns of the plot will hold up in repeat viewing, but at least the movie begs you to ask such a question. This is that puzzle type of movie where you are always trying to figure out who is double crossing whom, while forgetting about the triple, quadruple, and quintuple crosses happening right in front of your nostrils. People who like to try and ďfigure outĒ a movie should get at least a mild kick out of this fare. Iím too dumb to figure out mysteries and such, so I just go along with the plot gears until the big moments are revealed to me. Like I said, either way it will work out just fine, and those nachos youíre munching on wonít have any less habanero sauce.

This movie glamorizes crime. Thereís no question about it. If you wanted to be a pickpocket already, you are going to rush from the theater to start working the streets immediately. Come to think of it, I donít even recall any police presence or threats of getting arrested in this flick at all. Thatís rather convenient. No FBI, no terrorists on our heroís trail keeping them under duress. Will Smith barely has time to teach people how to pull credit cards out of peopleís pockets before he puts on his next pair of sunglasses inside a sports car. This isnít a movie about good people per se, or even relatable people; and yet you are still able to take the journey with them. These arenít your friends and neighbors up there onscreen; they are more exciting than that. Lose yourself in the playground of a smoking hottie Ė in the full Charlie Sheen sense Ė and a man who once punched an alien in the face. The message of this film is: never lose focus.
Scott's Grade: B-
Scott's Overall Grading: 417 graded movies
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