‘Focus’ cannot hold attention

By Jacob Pierce, @JacobPierce1_DE

There seem to be two ways a heist movie is made. One way is to make the criminals the protagonists and the other is to split the limelight between the heisters and the people chasing them.

Many problems with the genre tend to come from the first option. The movie tends to play out like a magic show, and one of the first rules of magic is to never underestimate your audience’s intelligence. These films are notorious for swindling moviegoers.

“Focus” (Rated R; 105 min.) directed by Glen Ficarra and John Requa, not only cheats its viewers, but insults their intelligence as well.  

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Nicky Spurgeon, played by Will Smith, is a con man who knows every trick in the book and can smell a heist a mile away. He meets Jess Barrett, played by Margot Robbie, a naïve thief and takes her under his wing. They soon fall for each other and Spurgeon breaks it off, fearing he is losing his edge.

Three years later, Spurgeon is working on a billion-dollar con only to discover Barrett is dating his target and the game starts to change. He loses his focus and winning Barrett back becomes the real heist.

Instead of being its own movie, “Focus” decides to copy every other stereotypical heist film.

The characters are nothing more than mouthpieces for cool concepts and funny dialogue. “Focus” goes fast, which can entertain audiences, but it does not give anyone time to comprehend the ideas being thrown at them. Nor does it give the film time to develop characters. By the end, there is not a good sense of who Barrett and Spurgeon even are.

Smith is not the box office hero he once was. After a few failed roles, he decided to shove his kids down America’s throat and now his star power is at an all-time low. His films have become ones to avoid at any cost.

The one good aspect in this entire mountain of garbage is Margot Robbie. She brings character development to an awful script by portraying a woman looking for something out of life, her only outlet being thievery. She is 10 times better than Smith, which shows once again she is a rising talent waiting for people to acknowledge her.

The movie insults viewers’ intelligence by cheating its way to the end, which is actually kind of common in bad heist films. Ask anyone who saw “Now You See Me” about the ending, and they will most likely explain how it was a giant middle finger to the audience.

A couple weeks ago I said “50 Shades of Grey” would prove to be the worst of the year. I stand by the statement, but “Focus” really gives it a run for its money. The movie is boring and unintelligent. If you are forced to see this by a significant other or friend, take as many bathroom breaks as you can. You will have a better time that way.

 Stars: 1.5 out of 5.

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