HOLLYWOOD—The last time I recall watching a heist flick that entertained me thoroughly and left me in a tizzy was the 2003 flick “The Italian Job.” The movie was riddled with great performances, a fun narrative and twists galore that continued to leave the audience guessing. You can now add another flick to that list, Steve McQueen’s “Widows.” Yes, “Widows” is a different breed of cinema for the Oscar-winning filmmaker who helmed
“12 Years a Slave.”
If you’re entering the theater looking for drama, you’re going to get it, but if you’re looking for drama that really punches you in the gut, this is not that movie. Let me point this out right now, “Widows” has an all-star cast led by Oscar-winner Viola Davis. She is joined by Liam Neeson, Robert Duvall, Jacki Weaver, Carrie Coon, Michelle Rodriguez, Colin Farrell, Daniel Kaluuya, Elizabeth Debicki and Cynthia Erivo to name a few.
The narrative follows the lives of several women whose husbands are killed in a robbery gone wrong. The one thing that I have to say about the writing for this movie is that it’s clever; the audience is given teases and hints of information, but just because it has been delivered to the audience does not validate it as being 100 percent accurate. Davis delivers a tour-de-force performance as Veronica, a wife grappling with her husband’s secret past and how his sins have come to haunt her and her family.
I will admit I did not buy for one second Kaluuya’s performance as a mob enforcer. Is the acting solid? Yes, but in my personal opinion it was slight miscast. I think an actor with a bigger clout or presence could have fulfilled that role and brought even more menace to the character; you feel the fear, but it does not cause your bones to shake.
I love this comradery between the fearsome four as I like to call them: Veronica, Linda (Rodriguez), Alice (Debicki) and Belle (Erivo). All of the ladies are placed in a situation that quite frankly none of them want any part of, but because of their husbands they are forced to pay a debt or pay with their lives. Yes, some might beckon this heist flick to the 1996 movie “Set It Off” and that comparison would be valid, but this movie has a bit much more going for it. There are politics at play thanks to Jack Mulligan (Farrell) and Tom Mulligan (Duvall), and that amplifies the thrills. You think you know who the good guys are and the movie plays with that notion; everyone has an ulterior motive and as the story unfolds, people who you want to root for become enemies and characters that you don’t necessarily like you start to root in their favor.
McQueen does a stellar job with the pacing giving drama, action, explosions and gunfire to keep the audience entertained until the final moments. There is indeed a nice twist that comes out of left field that I did not expect at first; looking back at the movie I should have saw that coming a million miles away, but there was another twist in that twist that surprised me, as it will the audience.
“Widows” is so much more than just a heist flick; it’s a film about romance, race, politics, domestic violence, trust, secrets and how when all those things collide it can produce a movie that dazzles the audience. It is never easy to combine all those elements in just one flick and for them to sync seamlessly; let me correct myself because the movie is not perfect, but the flaws that do exist (some characters not being utilized as much as they could have), it works. “Widows” is indeed an exciting thriller that will maintain your attention from start to finish.