‘Focus’ Review: Will Smith and Margot Robbie Lead Fun Heist Flick

Chris Pizello/AP
Chris Pizello/AP

A mix of the Thomas Crown Affair and Ocean’s Eleven, Focus is a surprisingly fun flick that’s outrageous in its plot twists and thrills in the best way possible. Directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (2011’s Crazy, Stupid, Love) give us a fun heist story, while Will Smith and Margot Robbie elevate the plot with their electric chemistry.

Veteran con man Nicky (Will Smith) meets and takes amateur con artist Jess (Margot Robbie) under his wing. Nicky introduces Jess into the world of conning, from pick pocketing to bigger cons involving gambling and major theft. When the two become romantically involved, Nicky knows Jess is too good for his world, so he breaks it off and sends her to the airport.

Three years later when Nicky is working a con in Buenos Aires, he runs into Jess, who just happens to be dating the man (Rodrigo Santoro) that Nicky plans to con. While emotions are still running high and the chemistry between Nicky and Jess is clearly still there, things get messy during the con.

In the last few years, Will Smith’s major motion pictures have been less than mediocre at the box office, including 2013’s After Earth and last year’s Winter’s Tale, which was his most random role ever as “The Judge,” but in Focus he really gets back to his action movie roots. Smith has a lot of fun with Nicky, and it’s refreshing to see him in a role he clearly loves — not one that’s just paying the bills. Smith is charismatic and witty as Nicky and plays into the sometimes goofy plot twists very well.

Margot Robbie (2013’s Wolf of Wall Street) is absolutely exceptional as the young femme fatale and wannabe con artist. Robbie created an interesting character, even though we were given very little about her background or motives. She is electric and mesmerizing every time she is on screen, and her chemistry with Will Smith is out of this world crazy good. Smith and Robbie completely surprise with the depth of their emotional, dramatic, and comedic relationship. If it weren’t for the fun dynamic between the two characters, Focus would have just turned into another heist movie.

Despite a weak villain and the occasional weird plot changes, Focus proves to be a slick and fast paced film that’s a nice getaway to watch right after awards movie season. Will Smith proves that he is still a good actor and can lead an action movie, while Margot Robbie is lovely as our leading lady and remains one of the biggest rising stars in Hollywood.

Focus opens nationwide Friday February 27.


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