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Film Review: Widows

Director:    Steve McQueen

Cast:    Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell, Brian Tyree Henry, Daniel Kaluuya, Jacki Weaver, Robert Duvall,

Rating:    MA

Running Time:    128

Australian Distributor:     20th Century Fox


‘WIDOWS’ is directed by Steve McQueen who also co-wrote the screenplay with Gillian Flynn based on the 80’s British TV series. The plot centers around the wives of a group of criminals who are left with their husbands debt after they are all killed on a job. With a month to pay, they will have to work together to complete a heist that will solve their problems on their terms. With enough money to start new lives. If they can pull it off.   

Steve McQueen is a fantastic director with a strong resume, and Gillian Flynn is an exceptional writer. Give them both compelling source-material to work with and a strong ensemble cast with names like Viola Davis, Colin Farrell, Daniel Kaluuya, Elizabeth Debicki, Liam Neeson, and many more I felt confident that this would be a very structured, well-acted heist film.

I had a great time watching this moody story play out. It had a plot-line that wove many interesting pieces together. It was loaded with great performances that created characters with strongly rooted emotional layers. With the direction of McQueen crafting a variety of visual appeal to complement it all.

The construction of the film was very smooth. It showed a focus on continual forward movement with a creative use of flashbacks that came in short, timely doses. In this one they worked perfectly to drop informative splashes of substance into the backdrop throughout the progression of these women trying to get out of the issue their husbands put them in.

The story weaved layers of politics, corruption, organized-crime, and a criminal heist into a single story with a skillful attention-to-detail. It added onto that with a talented cast that was able to quickly build character personas to make the most of already great written material.   

Viola Davis though was rightfully the anchor of the film and she delivered a fantastic performance with layers of intelligence, determination, and capability. Topped off with just enough vulnerability to humanize her. The other standout in the cast despite everyone delivering great performances, was Daniel Kaluuya. He was ruthless in this role with a dead-look behind the eyes that was exactly what this character needed. Kaluuya took on a role that we have seen a thousand times. But with his performance he without question left a lasting impression because he took the role and made it his own.

Chief among all threads of thought however is the true purpose of the film – the power of women. This film preaches and praises the benefits of their coming together in adversity, the ability to overcome obstacles and their desire to succeed. These women are all powerful, all have their unique talents and are all given time and character development to have every audience member believe in them.

In McQueen’s most commercial film to date, Widows is uncompromising, visceral and surprisingly thought-provoking. Combined with Flynn’s creative dialogue and strong performances, it is a masterclass in filmmaking.



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