Title – Widows (2018)
Director – Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave)
Cast – Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriquez, Elizabeth Debicki, Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell, Brian Tyree Henry, Robert Duvall, Carrie Coon, Daniel Kaluuya, Jacki Weaver, Lucas Haas, Cynthia Erivo, Jon Bernthal
Plot – After their partners are murdered in a heist gone wrong, Chicago widows Veronica (Davis), Linda (Rodriguez) and Alice (Debicki) set about pulling off a heist of their own to pay off debts owing and to give themselves a chance of starting a new life.
“The best thing we have going for us, is being who we are”
Review by Eddie on 27/11/2018
A heist film this is not, going into Widows and expecting it to be will likely leave you highly disappointed but thankfully just because Steve McQueen’s film isn’t what some may’ve expected it to be doesn’t mean it’s not one of the year’s most unique, energetic and entertaining high-profile releases.
Seemingly an odd match for a director whose made his mark with purely dramatic offerings, Hunger, Shame and 12 Years a Slave, this adaptation of the old-school UK TV show of the same name, that has seen McQueen team-up with Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn appears on paper to be a strange career choice for the Oscar nominated filmmaker but using the seemingly simple set-up of a bunch of widowers taking up their deceased criminal partners mantle and pulling off a daring heist, Flynn and McQueen create an incendiary look at the city of Chicago as Widows shines a light on the underbelly of the city’s current climate.
It becomes a fairly loaded plotline as we follow Viola Davis’s determined Veronica as she, with the help of Elizabeth Debicki’s Alice and Michelle Rodriguez’s Linda look to clear their husband’s debts after they botched a heist involving government officials and a large sum of money but that’s not all the films concerned with as McQueen brings in a collection of side plots and twist and turns that includes Collin Farrell and Brian Tyree Henry warring election candidates and Daniel Kayuuya’s vicious gangster Jatemme Manning going about his business of recovering money that was stolen from him and his gangster/politican brother.
In many ways there’s almost too much going on in Widows two hour runtime, as the film deals with its hefty collection of characters and narrative arcs and in doing so the film in some ways becomes a little bit of a cold experience emotionally as we don’t get to know some of McQueen and Flynn’s characters like we would like to, but it’s a slight criticism of a film that’s so slickly made and filled with notable turns.
As we’ve come to expect from McQueen, who graduated from artist to filmmaker in the late 2000’s (arguably thesame thing), Widows is a visually stunning and well-made film that’s backed up by a non-intrusive but atmospheric Hans Zimmer score that combines well with the filmmaker’s vision, that includes a standout opening car chase, wince-inducing scenes in a basketball stadium and bowling alley and a memorising car conversation that takes us on a tour of Chicago’s social divide between the rich and the poor.
When combined with many of the solid acting turns, these scenes help give Widows a vibrancy and style that make it such a standout event.
Lead by the always intense Davis, Widows is also a nice showcase for the growth of fellow actresses Debicki, Rodriquez and up and comer Cynthia Erivo who all deliver fabulous turns and even if Daniel Kayuuya (in a tight race with the scene-stealing dog from Game Night fame) steals the film with his few intense scenes, it’s fantastic to see a female-centric cast work so well together and considering just how bad Ocean’s 8 was in the female empowerment/heist sub-genre early this year, Widows is even more of a cinematic delight.
Final Say –
A loaded and politically motivated crime drama, Widows has a lot to say in a short time and while it may not exactly strike it rich emotionally, this is another prime example of why McQueen is one of the best director’s working today, offering a thrilling and surprising new addition to his brilliant C.V.
4 Obama posters out of 5