Focus Blu-ray Review

What’s It About? The start of Will Smith’s big-screen career saw him play a young con artist in the movie Six Degrees Of Separation.

Now, in romantic comedy caper Focus, he’s back turning on the charm, this time as a seasoned con man who becomes both professionally and personally involved with a newbie con artist played by The Wolf Of Wall Street’s Margot Robbie.

Verdict: If After Earth left you doubting, Focus proves that Smith hasn’t lost any of the charisma that made him a great movie star. And his on-screen chemistry with Robbie certainly feels convincing.

As for Robbie, she not only brings the glamour the role requires, but she’s also more than capable of matching Smith in the acting stakes. Which is all good news as Smith and Robbie will be back on screen together in 2016 as Deadshot and Harley Quinn in the superhero movie Suicide Squad.

This is the first film by directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa since their superb rom-com Crazy, Stupid, Love, starring Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore and Emma Stone. They’re also the directing team behind I Love You Philip Morris, with Jim Carey and Ewan McGregor, and they wrote Bad Santa starring Billy Bob Thornton. Focus doesn’t quite hit the heights they reached with those movies, but what the directing duo does achieve here is polished entertainment that’s easy on the eye and brain.

The movie has the sleek style and glossiness of Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s films with George Clooney, and takes us from New York to New Orleans and on to Buenos Aires, with enough twists and turns to keep things interesting, though it’s not impossible to guess where it’s headed.

And because this is a movie about con artists, you’re always questioning anything anyone says, and looking for and expecting double, triple and quadruple crosses. The cons themselves are mostly neatly choreographed, though the odd scene runs a little long. And if you think about it too much, the first half of the movie might feel a little uncomfortable as the major marks are just ordinary people like you and me, rather than nasty pieces of work who happen to also be very rich. One thing’s for sure though: next time you’re out and about, you’ll be keeping a much better eye on your wallet, watch, or whatever else of worth you have on you!

And there’s enough humour in Focus too. So, expect some slapstick, a bit of banter, bawdiness, and some one-liners, and a little in-joke that plays on the fact that Margot Robbie’s Australian.

While Focus is most definitely Smith and Robbie’s movie, there’s some nice on-screen support from Adrian Martinez as Smith’s coarse-mouthed sidekick, Gerald McRaney as a tough-talking security guy, and BD Wong whose cameo as a millionaire gambler at an American football game has a touch of both Christoph Waltz and Ken Jeong about it.

Partly due to the way Focus throws the spotlight on its stars, it feels like it’s channelling old-school cinema like Charade and To Catch A Thief, both of which starred Cary Grant, the first alongside Audrey Hepburn, and the second with Grace Kelly. And while Focus may not be the kind of uber-clever con movie or classic heist flick with a new twist that’ll keep us coming back for more in years to come, like say The Sting or Nine Queens, it’s still a perfectly decent diversion.

Extras: Masters Of Misdirection: The Plays In A Con, Will Smith: Gentleman Thief, Margot Robbie: Stealing Hearts, Deleted Scenes, and Alternate Opening.

Final Words: Focus is a pleasant distraction that benefits from a pair of winning leads and glossy good looks. Basically, it works best if you just sit back and let yourself be seduced by its shiny surface.

Rating: 3 / 5      

Focus is available on Digital HD now, and arrives on Blu-ray & DVD on 6 July 2015.