Widows is one of the best movies of the year, featuring dynamic performances, great twists, and a fascinating story.
Director: Steve McQueen
Summary: Set in contemporary Chicago, amid a time of turmoil, four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands’ criminal activities, take fate into their own hands, and conspire to forge a future on their own terms.
This has been the year of the female-centric heist movies. Between Ocean’s 8 and Widows the women are here to prove that we can rip all of you off just as well as the boys. While Ocean’s 8 was more of a fun romp Widows is here to blow your socks off. There are not enough ways to express how good this movie really is. To start off it has a fantastic central cast. Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, and Elizabeth Debicki are our three central ladies, with Cynthia Erivo joining the team a little later in the game.
Davis is a commanding presence, while also showing how much impact the death of her husband has had on her. She is coming across as heartless at times, but it’s countered by how soft she is with her little white dog that comes with her almost everywhere [and whose well being was a source of constant stress for a certain little white dog owning critic]. Rodriguez is mostly known for her roles in action movies and she does the best work of her career here. She’s a mom, an underappreciated woman, and someone unwilling to take crap from anyone else.
Debicki plays the most intense role in the film. Her husband was abusive, and while she is clearly torn up about his death, she is also a little relieved. One of the most disturbing moments in the movie comes when she is sitting with her mother, as her mother tries to convince her to sign up to be an escort. It’s intense, but she uses the skills she learns to get things done. Erivo is a rising star, and is just owning every role she walks into. She stole the show in Bad Times at the El Royale, and is extremely vital to the crew in Widows even if her stakes are a little different.
Daniel Kaluuya and Brian Tyree Henry are fantastic as two brothers who are going about doing the right-ish thing in the absolute wrong way. Kaluuya in particular is terrifying in how well he takes over an entire scene, no matter how much talking he might actually do. Colin Farrell, Robert Duvall, and Liam Neeson are all fantastic in their roles, which are complex and great to watch.
A fantastic cast can’t do much without a great director behind them, and Steve McQueen is one of the greats. He already has an extremely impressive filmography, but he manages to top himself yet again with Widows. The tension in each scene in palpable, the thrills are great, and it’s unlike any heist movie you’ve seen this year or possibly ever. McQueen and writer Gillian Flynn aren’t afraid to look at the hard issues facing people living in Chicago and what kind of impact that has on a person — or what those kind of experiences could lead a person to do.
This is a long movie, two hours and nine minutes, so settle in for a slow burn. There were only a few moments where you feel that length in the pacing, but generally it’s an extremely well paced film. It’s not an action movie by any stretch of the word so anyone looking for that is likely going to find the movie slow. However, for those looking for a thriller and a crime movie you know what you’re getting into. You settle in and watch these ladies get shit done.
Widows is undoubtedly one of the best movies of the year. A fantastic story, cast, direction — everything about it works. It’s always fun when a movie can be easily distilled down to “men will inevitably let you down so screw them and we’ll get it done ourselves.” This is one of the can’t-miss movies of the year.
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