Focus Review

     Ah, yes the time honored film about the con artist. A tradition that spans back to the golden age of Hollywood, but it reached its peek with “The Sting”. I mean, that flick won best picture for God’s sake, so there has to be something to it, right? Well, like a con, they can’t all be fucking winners, and Will Smith’s “Focus” sure as shit didn’t even place.
     Nicky (Will Smith) is a grifter who comes across Jess (Margot Robbie) and he starts to teach her the tools of the trade.  But once they come across a mark they didn’t anticipate, it begins to affect them.
     Actually thinking back on this movie, I really dug the first half. Showing how certain cons work, the preparation that goes into them, all that jazz. But it’s the second half that the movie becomes this clichéd mess where there seems to be something set up, but the pay off never comes. I guess that I hate it when a smart, calculated character is set up only to devolve into a fucking idiot in the latter part of the film with no actual warning. It is a small nitpick on my part.
     All con artist films have what is know as their long cons, a con running through an entire film to pay off at the end as a shock, surprise, or a twist. It is a bit formulaic, but that’s what I look forward to in these movies. “Focus” was the first one that made me go, “That’s it? Really? Does that even count?” “Matchstick Men” was the last movie that had a con so devastating that I could hear my heart break. I heard it fucking break!! That’s what needs to be strived for, we need to care that much.
     I guess in the grand scheme of things I shouldn’t have expected much. I really wanted to love this, but I can’t in good conscience get behind a movie that is by, all accounts, lazy. And if you have ever seen “The Sting”, you know that lazy won’t pass muster.


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