THE BLOG

'Focus' - The Review

02/03/2015 17:35 GMT | Updated 01/05/2015 10:59 BST

Given a couple of key reviews for the new Will Smith/Margot Robbie con man caper Focus, you'd think the cast had gone round the critics' houses with a swag bag and walked out with the contents.

Okay, it's not as clever as some of the best episodes of Hustle or classic movie The Sting, but it looked terrific, the leads were magnetic and there were some splendid scenes.

One involved a brilliant horse track caper which was engrossing for its 10 minutes, the other a great moment in the life of a henchman as he prepares for a head on collision.

Alas, a racetrack scene was ill judged, the cars drowning out the thesps, but far more of this movie worked than didn't.

The plot centres on veteran con-man Nicky Spurgeon (Smith) who falls for rookie grifter Jess Barrett (Robbie). He trains her up then dumps her.

Three years later, Nicky is in Buenos Aires, employed by tycoon motorsport team owner Rafael Garriga (Rodrigo Santoro). What follows is a second rate con compared to the outstanding, aforementioned horse track caper.

Admittedly Focus, which in my case was screened in the wrong aspect ratio - thanks Cineworld Castleford - is not high art; it washes over you like a pleasant wave. But if you fancy wasting a couple of hours without engaging your brain, then this is perfect entertainment.

I enjoyed it far more than Blackhat, seen a week earlier, and laughed out loud a few times in all the right places.

Robbie is a screen magnet while Smith claws back some of the credibility squandered with After Earth.

Would I watch it again? Unlike Blackhat, definitely. It's cinematic candy floss that goes straight through you. The Argentinean backdrops are a welcome break from the usual US locales, though given the fact it has the best tango in the world, a shame the film makers didn't shoehorn a fleet footed routine in.

If you want a great conman caper then watch a few eps of Hustle. If you want slick escapism, then Focus is a likeable diversion as diaphanous as some of Margot's dresses. And thank heavens for that.