Will Smith and Margot Robbie are con artists trying not to lose in Focus.

Will Smith and Margot Robbie are con artists trying not to lose in Focus.

Reel Reviews: Focus gets by on actors’ charm

New film Focus, starring Will Smith and Margot Robbie, is fun and pretty, but will you see it again next week?

  • Mar. 6, 2015 5:00 p.m.

Athird generation con man, Nicky (Will Smith), creates what he thought was impossible – one last, huge con that will set up his retirement.

The plan becomes threatened when a former partner and love interest, Jess (Margot Robbie), becomes an unintentional player in the scheme.

We say, “It’s fun and pretty, but will you see it again next week?”

HOWE: I love the old con movies, The Sting or The Hustler just to name a couple. It would take something special for a film to be classed alongside them. Focus feels like that kind of film.

Like the others it is flashy and clever, but not too over the top. It remains believable. It is a nice change to the typical movies Hollywood has been giving us lately. I enjoy having something other than a dystopian future, a lame, rude comedy or a trillion dollar special FX bonanza.

TAYLOR: This film is fine. It even has a bit of style, taking cinematic advantage of its title. Nicky, the con man, is a character sometimes out of focus to both himself and the world. I enjoyed watching it, for the most part. It is rewarding in its trickery. Still, overall, I felt like it could have been a little heavier, more serious film.

HOWE: There’s witty dialogue, twists and turns that you don’t see coming and somewhat strong performances from the leading roles of Will Smith and Margot Robbie. The supporting actors do their jobs well enough but it’s the storyline between these two characters that keeps the story moving along by asking “will they or won’t they get together?” I was thoroughly entertained from start to finish.

TAYLOR: It’s cheap and easy to keep the mystery afloat when everyone is lying all the time. The characters are high rollers working a dangerous life, so there is glamour and excitement, which translates onto the screen well. Anyone looks good in an expensive suit, carrying bags of money to the limousine in slow motion. But what carries the film forward so well is that Smith is handsome and charming and Rogbbie is a smouldering sexpot.

Frankly, these two should have got it on a bit more. This film has a spark when it could have had a fire. Fifty Shades be damned.

Howe gives Focus 4 revs of the engine out of 5.

– Taylor gives it 2.5 promises unfulfilled out of 5.

Peter Howe and Brian Taylor are film reviewers based in Vernon, B.C. Their column, Reel Reviews, runs every Friday and Sunday in The Morning Star.