Will Smith sitting with his arm around Margot Robbie in the movie Focus.

Rent Focus on BoxOffice and watch Will Smith as con man Nicky who mentors Jess, played by Margot Robbie.

It’s been a while since Will Smith has done anything noticeably good – probably because he’s been shepherding his son, Jaden, through the minefield that is Hollywood stardom. After a few recent smaller roles in movies like Anchorman 2 and The New York Winter’s Tale, Focus is probably his first proper starring feature since he crash landed on Earth back in 2013 in After Earth.

So, how was it? Interesting. It’s a heist movie but instead of the usual professional car thief plot, we’ve got Nicky (played by Smith) who is a con man extraordinaire who dabbles in anything from common pickpocketing to elaborate scams that involve subliminal messaging, psychological conditioning and vast networks of fellow scamsters playing off against one another while chasing the same prize.

This movie moves along very quickly. Sometimes I found it a bit too quick. Like any well-oiled scam, it’s so easy to be misdirected and to lose track of what’s going on that you either miss something or spend a good few minutes back-tracking to find out what just happened.

Whether intentional or not, this style of movie making speaks directly to the subject matter, which makes it even more intriguing. The movie, as the title suggests, requires some focus. You can’t watch this movie and be distracted or look down at your phone to check Facebook. You will miss something if you’re not paying attention.

In many respects, this movie is similar to Ocean’s Eleven, Man on a Ledge or even Now You See Me. When you’re paying attention it’s a clever and very thrilling movie to watch. 

But if you let your focus lapse, well, you’ll either be completely confused or you’ll just miss the plot entirely. There were times in the movie where I did have to look away to answer an e-mail or take a phone call and ended up losing parts of the plot. What I thought were plot holes, actually was just me not paying enough attention.

Apart from Smith, the cast get the job done, although I wouldn’t say that any of the actors left a lasting impression on me. I mean, Margot Robbie is definitely easy on the eyes, but her role, as with many of the supporting cast, verged on the superfluous.

Coming from John Requa and Glenn Ficarra (the directors who brought you Bad Santa), Focus is probably not going to appeal to everyone but the great indoors is calling and there are worse ways to spend R30 while it’s freezing outside.

 

Rent Focus on BoxOffice now.