“It can’t be bad because it has Will Smith in it!” A friend of mine told me in the cinema lobby. I totally disagree with this statement because I have seen several bad Will Smith films. (Don’t even get me started about Hitch.) Fortunately, this film was not one of those wake me up before you go go… I mean leave the cinema films because I fell asleep half an hour in. The plot was a steady journey filled with conflict and enigmas. I bought into the universe from the off and so when farcical notions did occur, I could shrug them off, as the suspension of willing disbelief had me flying high.
Odeon cinema defines the genre of Focus as a comedy. Similarly, Vue cinema says that it is a crime comedy. However, the trailer led me to believe that it was a hard core crime film about a con man who goes too far. (See below for trailer.) It was funny in places and the character of Farhad (Adrian Martinez) is used as a device to generate humour. Catharsis is also a lovely little technique used to ease tension and create those shall I laugh or cry situations. But to be honest, I don’t think it was funny enough to be classed as a comedy. As for the crime part of Vues description, crime is a main theme what with all the pickpocketing and scams. I think at the core of it all, is love though. It is the romance between Nicky (Will Smith) and Jess (Margot Robbie) which drives the plot forward. If we were to remove the romance, there wouldn’t be a film. If we removed the humour, it would still have a plot. If we removed the crime then conflict would disappear. It would seem the crime cannot exist without the romance and vice versa because the romance fuels the crime and the crime fuels the romance. So is it a crime romance? I think so.
Yes, the film does have tones of humour, but that does not go to say that is it light hearted in any way. Another aspect which I liked was how it raised awareness of scams and con people; but most importantly how easy it is to pickpocket someone. At the beginning of the film Nicky teaches Jess how to lift expensive items from someone and it is shocking how easy it really is. I have to remember that this is a film and so it is probably exaggerated to some degree, but I certainly left the cinema a little more vigilant.
An issue I had with the film was the amount of product placement. Nokia is splashed everywhere. I guess I don’t have an issue with the idea of product placement it’s just Microsoft are changing a lot about their Windows phone brand at the moment. I have been informed that Microsoft are phasing out the Nokia brand where Windows is concerned. So for instance, the latest Lumia windows phone is called the Microsoft Lumia 435 whereas before dropping the Nokia name, it would have been the Nokia Lumia 435. It’s all very confusing. Another issue I had with the product placement was that both Nicky and Garriga (Rodrigo Santoro) both have Nokia Lumia 1020s. I had a Nokia Lumia 1020. I smashed the screen on the Nokia Lumia 1020. I tried to replace the Nokia Lumia 1020. I couldn’t find a Nokia Lumia 1020. I could only find it second hand. So my point is, why advertise a phone that you can’t even buy? Understandably, the phone might be available in other countries on contract but why give two characters the same phone? Why not mix it up a little bit?
Another issue I had with the film was the lack of female characters. Yes, Jess is a protagonist which means that there is more screen time of her, but she is pretty much the only lady other than a couple of secondary characters who say about one line each. Looking at the IMDB page listing for the film the more popular characters cast list has fourteen characters, of which only two of them are women. It would have certainly been nice to have seen more ladies in the film. It would have been even nicer to not have seen so much of Jess, if you get what I mean? (Winky face.)
Overall I enjoyed the film. Would I watch it again? Probably, but only if a friend wanted to watch it with me. Contrary to the film title, it is an easy watcher which doesn’t need much attention or focus. I would say it’s definitely worth a onetime watch… As long as your watch doesn’t get pickpocketed.
There are ten ★s painted on a wall but I can only Focus on seven of them, the other three are just blurry.
(Purely by coincidence, I was in Leicester square the night of the Focus Première. A massive TV blocked the street opposite M&M World which continuously played the trailer. The famous red carpet ran all the way down the street stopping at the Vue cinema. We weren’t planning on staying, in fact, we began to walk away from the red carpet area when the host (well I assume host, it’s the only way I can describe her) announced Will Smith’s arrival. Like a shot, my partner started to run back towards the red carpet. I ambled behind him, weighed down from the many mugs I purchased from earlier. I was so busy trying to spot Will Smith on the red carpet that I didn’t see the massive silver 4X4 in front of me. Why was there a car suddenly on the road? There were metal bollards everywh… Oh it was Will Smith’s car that nearly mowed me down. I wove into the crowd. Sadly I was too short to see him, but my other half saw him clearly.)