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July 3, 2015
Focus Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
5/3/201517/6/2015Warner BrothersGlenn Ficarra
John Requa
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4DTS-HD MA 7.1MA15+Will Smith

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Focus is about con artists Nicky and Jess, played by Will Smith and Margot Robbie.

Will Smith is an international superstar although many of his more recent films such as Seven Pounds, I Am Legend, The Pursuit of Happyness and After Earth haven't been the most entertaining affairs. Fortunately that isn't the case here with Focus seeing Will Smith back in a more likeable roll - despite the fact he's essentially a thief!

Nicky (Will Smith) is 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.

The main issue we have with this film is that it actually feels like two separate films slapped together to make a full-length feature. The first half shows Nicky running his crew, and meeting Jess who joins the con artists, but when the season comes to an end they part ways and we head into the second half of the film several years later when Nick is now involved in motorsports. It just seems that after getting to know many of the crew, they're just gone.

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Margot Robbie is fantastic as Jess.
Having said that, it's fair to say though that this film survives by the cast. Will Smith is back in entertaining mode and he's very watchable in this film for fans and non-fans alike. What surprised however was that he is almost upstaged by Aussie Margot Robbie who is one of the most entertaining new actresses since her breakout role in The Wolf of Wall Street. Perhaps most importantly Will Smith and Margot Robbie have a great rapport together and this comes across in the film. Kudos must also go to Adrian Martinez as Nicky's friend Farhad who provides some levity in the film but is just one of those characters which you can relate to.

A slick production from start to finish Focus is a film that feels like two separate stories slapped together. Still, with a great cast, and some entertaining moments, this was a film we enjoyed watching and would recommend to fans of the actors or those looking for something to watch that you don't have to think too hard about.

Focus has seen a slight reformatting from the theatrical 1.85:1 aspect ratio to 1.78:1 which will fill a Widescreen TV perfectly. We're not sure however, if the image has been opened at the top and bottom, or cropped on the sides but it would be a very minor adjustment.

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Will Smith stars in this fun, entertaining, role.
What can't be faulted is the gorgeous transfer on Blu-Ray. The AVC encoded video always retains the finest level of detail be it in the bright daylight scenes, or the darker moments of the film. Colours really pop off the screen while black levels are deep. This really is a gorgeous, nigh on perfect, Blu-Ray when it comes to video presentation.

The Blu-Ray release of Focus comes with a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 (24-bit/48Khz) track and it provides everything one would expect from a major Hollywood production with ample use of surround sound channels and plenty of bass for the sub-woofer to kick into action. Being a film about theft there aren't any major action sequences to get you excited but the film always sounds fantastic with clear dialogue, some thumping music and ample use of surround sound channels to bring the film to life.

English Descriptive Audio in Dolby Digital 5.1 at 640kbps and a lossless French DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track (16-bit/48Khz) which is pretty impressive as we typically don't see two lossless tracks on a release, albeit at a slightly lower bitrate. Either track, if you have a need, will impress.

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Adrian Martinez as Farhad in Focus.
Subtitles are available in English for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing as well as French, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish. The English track seemed accurate enough from our brief samples throughout the film.

Upon starting the disc you are presented with a trailer for Jupiter Ascending (2:28) but beyond that there are only a couple of small extras.

Masters of Misdirection: The Players in a Con (10:25/HD): This is a pretty fascinating look at pick pocketing, and the different members required in a team. There is also a focus on training Margot to pickpocket for the scenes in New Orleans.

Will Smith: Gentleman Thief (5:52/HD): Unsurprisingly this featurette focuses on Will Smith and his character Nicky, with interviews from cast and crew talking about what Will Smith brings to the character.

Margot Robbie: Stealing Hearts (4:08/HD): From my home town of the Gold Coast in Australia Margot Robbie has burst onto the scene and this featurette focuses on her learning to become a pickpocket for the film.

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Margot Robbie - another Aussie superstar.
Deleted Scenes (8:02/HD): A series of four deleted scenes which wouldn't really add too much to the film.

Alternate Opening (2:44/HD): As the title suggests this is an alternate opening sequence for the film which is pretty good, but would have given too much away, and doesn't suit one of the main themes that the con artists don't go after large scores.

Focus is a fun film that sees Will Smith back to his more entertaining best while Margot Robbie shines as Jess in the film - there's no doubt she is a superstar. A great transfer to Blu-Ray makes this worth checking out.

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are Copyright© Warner Brothers. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.