Sunday, July 5, 2015


Written and directed by the team of Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, Focus met with mixed reactions from both audiences and critics when it opened in theaters earlier this year. It's reminiscent of Out of Sight, the film rests largely on the performances of two photogenic and charming stars who, from time to time, need to smooth over the rough spots in the plot.

As a fan of heist and con flicks Focus is right up my alley, and it's one of Will Smith's more interesting acting choices in recent years. As expert con man Nicky "Melo" Spurgeon, Smith takes a young grifter (Margot Robbie) under his wing in a screenplay that has a few too many twists for its own good but still turns out to be largely enjoyable thanks to the chemistry of its two leads. Focus may be cotton candy, lightweight with less going on beneath the surface than one would hope for, but it's still a tasty treat that goes down easily and will momentarily satisfy your sweet tooth.

The film's first hour involving Nicky and Jess (Robbie) meeting, training, and working together on a big Super Bowl score in New Orleans works better for me than it's final 45 minutes set three years into the future where the pair reconnect in a complicated score involving Formula-One racing. Still, those last 45 minutes provide plenty of enjoyable moments between the two stars and an ending which, if not that all surprising, is still a satisfying conclusion to the pair's adventures.

With one or two exceptions Smith's acting choices over the last decade have been questionable at best. He's put to good use here as the most talented man in his field who, at least by the end of the film, is far from the top of his game (much like the actor). Robbie burst on to the scene in her unforgettable supporting role in The Wolf of Wall Street. Hollywood's latest "It Girl" works well off of Smith more than holding her own to provide the film with the strong leading duo it needs to keep the plot rolling through its various twists and turns.

Available on both DVD and Blu-ray, extras include a digital copy of the film, a featurette on cons, featurettes on the two lead characters, deleted scenes, and an alternate opening to the movie.

[ Blu-ray $44.95 / DVD $28.98]

No comments: