Thursday, March 19, 2015

Focus Review

Watching Focus when I did, coming off of the cinematic euphoria still lingering from Waltz with Bashir, a film which caused me to gush about how highly I value innovation in filmmaking, didn't do it any favors. This is a movie void of innovation, the type of work that I could have easily headed to the restroom during and not been concerned that I missed anything of importance because frankly, nothing that happens really matters at all.

Do you want to know what aspect really didn't do Focus any favors? It isn't timing, even mentioning that is giving it more credit than it deserves, presenting a fallacy that I could have waited a few extra days and seen it from a different perspective. No, the biggest disservice to Focus is itself. It's a pretty poor film.

While not as laughably terrible, I was reminded of the train wreck of a film Now You See Me from a couple of years ago. Focus attempts to razzle-dazzle you with some fancy con artist scenes in which they are robbing people with ease, which is odd because in actuality it all looks oddly clumsy, but regardless it's all just nonsense and noise to mask a terrible screenplay and an overall narrative that can't possibly carry the weight of a worthwhile dramatic feature. 

While Will Smith is by no means bad in Focus, he also isn't great either. He just sort of is, and despite his top billing he is pushed to the side by the star and saving grace of the film Margot Robbie. Nevermind the fact that she is beautiful, that much is obvious to anyone but on its own that factor isn't inherently enough to make a film more enjoyable. I mean hell, Hollywood is filled with beautiful people that litter the landscape of cinema released every damn weekend. The reason Robbie is the star of this film, much like in her scene stealing performance in The Wolf of Wall Street, is because of the fact that her abilities as an actress make her seem so real and honest, even in a movie like Focus that as a whole feels anything but. I can't wait to see her take on more and more projects that will properly challenge her and show her range.

If it wasn't for Margot Robbie being a constant presence throughout the film, I likely would have fallen asleep. She might be a shining star, but Focus is still a turd.


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