By Anthony Marcusa
For release June 6, 2015
One of the most surprisingly enjoyable films of the year so far comes to home video this week, as a pair of charming leads dazzle and thrill in Focus. From Warner Bros., Will Smith and Margot Robbie star in a stylish thriller about conning and deception, where elaborate heist after elaborate heist is planned, and a possible romance that gets in the way.
Then again, it could all be a trick. That’s the fun of Focus, as Will Smith’s master thief Nicky seems to always be in control, even when taking on a beautiful new protégé in Robbie’s Jess. He introduces her to a world of tricks and distractions used for both pickpockets and these massive ploys.
It’s a satisfying and sleek ride that keeps the audience’s attention throughout, while forcing the viewer to try and figure out what’s going on. Because we know these are con artists, we are always questioning what is happening. Focus, however, isn’t in the business of simply trying to outsmart the viewer. We align ourselves with our leads, even if they are criminals.
Which is why the film succeeds. Smith is incredibly winning, while Robbie proves more than just a beautiful face – which makes her a great con artist.
If you missed it in theatres, it arrives now on Blu-ray and digital download, alongside a few special features. What they lack in size, they make up for in intrigue. Here’s what you get.
Masters of Deception – This ten minute feature revolves around Apollo Robbins, a master con artist who worked as a consultant on the film. Robbins, along with the cast and crew, talk about how various cons and tricks work, and what those involved is tasked to do in order to execute a steal. We’re witness to the cast practicing these acts, and Robbins demonstrates how easily people can be distracted and how confident they can be when really they are being taken for a ride.
Smith, Robbie Interviews – The two leads are each given a short feature, as they talk about their interest in the film and characters. Others join in the conversation, sharing their thoughts on working with these two stars.
Deleted Scenes – There are only a handful of deleted scenes, including one at the very end. One in particular is rather entertaining, as Smith performs a classic bar trick on a group of drinkers. It’s a savvy one you can use yourself too.
Alternate Opening – Here we have an interesting introduction to Nicky and the world of conning, where he invades a jewelry shop and tricks the employees. While it’s not as good as the actual opening, it’s a pretty funny sequence after having seen the film and spent time with the characters.