Director(s): Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
Cast: Will Smith, Margot Robbie
Release Date: Own it on Blu-Ray Combo Pack, DVD & Digital HD June 2nd
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 8/10
Disc Rating: 8/10
Will Smith stars as Nicky, a seasoned master of misdirection who becomes romantically involved with novice con artist Jess (Margot Robbie). As he’s teaching her the tricks of the trade, she gets too close for comfort and he abruptly breaks it off. Three years later, the former flame—now an accomplished femme fatale—shows up in Buenos Aires in the middle of the high stakes racecar circuit. In the midst of Nicky’s latest, very dangerous scheme, she throws his plans for a loop…and the consummate con man off his game.
Nicky (Smith) is one of the best con men in the business and thanks to growing up in the game, being smart and learning from the best, he rarely falters or misses his mark. At least, that was until he met the beautiful Jess (Robbie), an inexperienced hopeful and beautiful con woman who mistakenly tries to con Nicky, completely unaware that he had been onto her from the get go. Desperate to learn the game, Jess pleads with Nicky to teach her the tricks of the trade and he reluctantly acquiesces to offer her some guidance on achieving that perfect focus that potentially makes anything doable. Before long, Jess is part of the team, working with Nicky and his crew, but Nicky makes a terrible mistake and leaves Jess behind, neither ever imagining that they will coincidentally cross paths again sometime later in another place just as the real game begins.
Glenn Ficarra and John Requa jointly wrote and directed ‘Focus’. Ficarra and Requa had previously impressed me with their debut film ‘I Love You Phillip Morris’ which was an unapologetic, beautifully done and truly unique romantic comedy, and the duo does a more than capable job at the helm of ‘Focus’ smoothly guiding their own script and knowing better than most the best possible way in which to utilize Will Smith, simultaneously reminding viewers of just how talented and cool he can be in the right role and film. Joining Smith in rounding up the cast are Margot Robbie, Rodrigo Santoro, Adrian Martinez, Gerald McRaney, Brennan Brown, BD Wong and more, all of whom deliver quite capable (or at the very least sufficient) performances in each of their respective roles.
‘Focus’ is an entertaining ride from start to end that perfectly balances all of the right elements that make for a great con film. It’s frequently intense, often surprising and regularly hilarious, while consistently keeping a cool and slick appearance, in addition to delivering some smart twists and turns that will keep viewers uncertain and on their toes until everything has wrapped. Add all of that together and throw in Will Smith and Margot Robbie, and the end result is one incredibly enjoyable film. I would definitely recommend checking ‘Focus’ out if you get the chance, it’s easily worth a rental at the very least.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘Focus’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing a 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio (the rear of the cases lists a 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio, but it is in fact presented in 1.78:1 as can be seen by the lack of any black bars on the top or bottom of the screen in the screen caps). The video presentation looks pretty great as a whole, delivering a sharp and detailed picture throughout, with no notable faults to be found within, even the dark and fast moving sequences hold up impressively and never cause anything occurring onscreen to become negatively affected or indiscernible in the slightest. Overall, this high definition video presentation holds up in almost every way and should have most folks quite pleased.
The Blu-Ray release features a lossless 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack holds up impressively, maintaining a perfect balance between the loud and quiet moments in the film, both of which there are many. It has no issue jumping from quiet to loud and vice versa at a moment’s notice and it frequently utilizes all seven available channels for a number of auditory elements including everything from plane and automobile noises to a plethora of crowd activity in numerous scenes, and never causing any dialogue that may be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or inaudible. Overall, this 7.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack may not be quite as insanely active as some of the 7.1 (or Atmos) tracks we commonly see these days, but it still packs quite a punch in a number of scenes and most importantly, it holds up in every way required of it.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘Focus’ includes a few nice extras. Included on the Blu-Ray release are a number of ‘Deleted Scenes’ (approximately 8 minutes worth in total), an ‘Alternate Opening’ (approximately 3 minutes) and a few Behind the Scenes Featurette’s that include interviews and comments with members of the cast and crew discussing their experiences making the film. The 3 included Featurette’s are: ‘Masters of Misdirection: The Players in a Con’ (10 minutes), ‘Will Smith: Gentleman Thief’ (6 minutes) and ‘Margot Robbie: Stealing Hearts’ (4 minutes).