If you can imagine ‘Gone Girl’ combined with ‘The Town’ then you will probably like this.
- Screenplay by Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl) and Steve McQueen (Hunger) based on the original TV Series by Lynda La Plante
- Directed by Steve McQueen (12 Years A Slave)
- Starring Viola Davis (Fences), Liam Neeson (The Commuter), Michelle Rodriguez (Fast & Furios Franchise), and Elizabeth Debicki (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2)
- Budget of $42m
Initial Thoughts 💭
There has been a lot of Oscar buzz surrounding this film, which is quite surprising given that it is fundamentally a heist film which aren’t normally in the running. But that is not to say they aren’t capable of being great films – think Heat, The Usual Suspects and even more recently Baby Driver….and Widows is no different, it is a great film. Steve McQueen returns, with his first feature film in 5 years, and delivers yet another powerful film.
The ‘ccc’ review💭
When a gang of criminals are killed during a failed robbery, their widows are left with a substantial debt which they are required to repay within a month otherwise their lives are in danger. After receiving her late husband’s notebook detailing his next heist, Veronica (Viola Davis) decides to take matters into her own hands. The unlikely team of widows, Veronica (Viola Davis), Alice (Elizabeth Debicki), Linda (Michelle Rodriguez) and Belle (Cynthia Erivo), pick up the business where their husbands could not.
Although an unlikely tale, what not to like. Strong acting…check. Action scenes…check. Music provided by the great Hans Zimmer…check. Rather than just be a crash bam wallop heist film, Steve McQueen has layered in powerful characters and an emotionally charged story to really make this a multi-dimensional film. And don’t worry, you don’t have to had watched the original TV series – even if you did you will find a product vastly different to the original.
Writing about Hans Zimmer and the original series, the composer actually worked briefly on the original Widows almost 35 years ago (as an assistant to the show’s composer, Stanley Myers). How amazing is that, and as always his score is flawless and good enough to make your morning commute seem more dramatic.
The story is simple enough to follow (which you could argue is a slight criticism), but the little subplots are a nice addition and never distract from the main story. However, despite the realistic feel McQueen has imposed on the film, four recently made widows attempting a $5m heist will always stick out as a flaw…but that is cinema right?
Trying to not make a comparison to the Ocean’s 11 films, but this film is about the build-up to heist, getting the team together and obviously encountering problems on the way, cultivating in the finale right at the very end of the film. With a running time of over two hours you have a lot of time guessing where the film going so there aren’t really many twists and turns, with even the major “twist” not leaving you gasping too much. But this is where the importance of the cast comes in.
This was Steve McQueen’s first feature film that did not have Michael Fassbender in the cast, but the cast he did recruit put in many strong performances, most notably Viola Davies. Viola Davies has shown she is a powerful actress is does command the screen, and is a brilliant leading lady. She is supported by Michelle Rodriguez and Elizabeth Debicki who both play their part and provided some lighter moments compared to Davies’ outright intensity. Colin Farrell and Brian Tyree Henry compliment each other well as corrupt politicians, David Kaluuya proved to be a great villain in a role he is likely to continue to play and Robert Duvall is equally as brutal.
Final Thoughts 💭
We would like to say that we enjoyed the whole of Widows from start to finish, but the nature of the story and length of the film we found ourselves watching a predictable film. However….this is overshadow by the quality of Steve McQueen’s direction, Hans Zimmer’s much and brilliant performances from pretty much all of the cast that delivers one of the stronger movies of the year.
A great watch from a great director