Widows (2018)

Director: Steve McQueen
Writer: Gillian Flynn, Steve McQueen
Based on: Lynda La Plante‘s TV series
Cast: Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Carrie Coon, Liam Neeson, Jon Bernthal, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Coburn Goss, Robert Duvall, Colin Farrell, Brian Tyree Henry, Daniel Kaluuya, Jacki Weaver
Seen on: 18.12.2018

Harry Rawlings (Liam Neeson) has made a career out of being a thief. Together with his crew Carlos (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), Florek (Jon Bernthal), and Jimmy (Coburn Goss) he sets out to do another job – but this time things go wrong and they all die. Harry’s wife, now widow, Veronica (Viola Davis) who never knew much about his career, finds herself being pressured by Jamal Manning (Brian Tyree Henry) to whom Harry owed money. Not knowing what else to do, Veronica gets in touch with the other widows – Linda (Michelle Rodriguez), Alice (Elizabeth Debicki) and Amanda (Carrie Coon) and tries to convince them to pull off a heist themselves.

Widows was a pretty good and more than usual complex heist film, but I’m afraid that my expectations were a little too high – it just wasn’t as good as what I’ve come to rely on in a Steve McQueen film.

The film poster showing portrait images of the main characters.

Widows has one big twist in the film and for some reason, I knew it going in. I don’t know from where (Did the trailer give it away? Did I stumble upon a tweet? Did I just guess?), but of course it does something to how you watch a film when you know its twist. Fortuntately, the film works anyway, but I think, I would have liked it a little more if I hadn’t known it.

The focus of the film is also what worked best about it: the way the women come together and find their footing in a world that they have been spared so far. Davis, Rodriguez and Debicki are fantastic to watch and the script gives them a lot to work with. Erivo is in a bit of a difficult position here from the way she joins in, and I felt that till the end – she never quite catches up to the rest.

Alice (Elizabeth Debicki), Veronica (Viola Davis), Linda (Michelle Rodriguez) and Belle (Cynthia Erivo) make their plans.

I liked that we got a serious heist film (usually they are more comedic in nature, a little lighter) that gave us a little more complexity – not only with the plot, but also with the characters. In particular, Colin Farrell’s Jack Mulligan stood out to me here. He was surprisingly interesting.

So it is definitely a strong film, but it just didn’t win me over completely – or not as completely as I had hoped for given that I love McQueen’s films so far and that the cast is fantastic and that I like heist movies and awesome women. I should have been all over it, and it was “just” good.

Veronica (Viola Davis) talks to Jack Mulligan (Colin Farrell) at her husband's funeral.

Summarizing: Good but not great.

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