What's lost in the process in some much needed character-development and some more even pacing. Certain sequences take up to twenty minutes of screen time; time that could have been more favourably dedicated in other spots. The unfortunate choices to keep the locations fresh and appealing and, rather myopically, focus a little too closely on the 'will they/won't they' relationship between Nicky and Jess seem to only hamper the film further. Moments of levity and witty banter flow from the pair quite naturally but this feels like a stolen rom-com element rather than something true to the nature of the film they are actually in. Robbie, in fact, may be the only one worth watching onscreen. Much like her commanding performance in The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), she cuts a thousand facets into her role as Jess, easily moving from cunning to vulnerable to deferential with aplomb. It's a hearty shame that Focus fails to deliver on its promising premise. There's plenty to mine from the heist genre and Smith and Robbie try their best with what they're given. But the plot twists are silly, the development shoddy and overall, the film feels like one long con that falls flat until the very end.
Allie Gemmill | @alliegem