Widows Review - Worth Seeing or Daylight Robbery?

Runtime: 129mins | Director: Steve McQueen | Rating: 5 Stars

Had anyone told me that Oscar-winning Director, Steve McQueen, would end up making a film based on the humble 80’s British television show of the same name aired on ITV, I would have called them insane. Yet, here we are, with Widows currently on the silver screen.

Career criminal Harry Rawlings (Liam Neeson) and his gang attempt to pull off an impressive heist in Chicago, but this time, it doesn’t go their way. Soon, Veronica (Viola Davis), Linda (Michelle Rodriguez), Alice (Elizabeth Debicki) and Amanda (Carrie Coon) find themselves husbandless and in debt to a dangerous gang whom their husbands stole from. Without any means to pay them, the widows enter a dangerous new world and attempt a heist of their own.

Now, I’ll admit that before watching Widows, I wasn’t that excited about it. It sounded like your generic heist blockbuster that we’re all too familiar with – essentially, a substandard plot with too many explosions and not enough substance.

Fortunately, Widows is nothing like this.

Of course, being a heist film, there’s plenty of action – even from the outset. The film opens with the four husbands mid-heist in a car chase, bullets spraying everywhere, ending in their untimely demise (given the title, this is hardly a surprise). Rather than wallowing in grief, however, the women quickly group together after Veronica is threatened and hatch a plan of their own.

As you might expect, the women of this film truly are the stars – both the characters and the actresses portraying them. Given the film’s subject, it would have been all too easy to drape the women in melodramatic grief or go over the top and portray them as a female version of The Expendables. Instead, McQueen presents us with real women facing every day struggles who are trying to reconcile their past whilst securing a stable future. Viola Davis, in particular, gives an incredible performance, somehow showing both extreme vulnerability and intimidating strength.

Daniel Kaluuya (who, by the way, has had a phenomenal year) also gives a riveting performance as the film’s antagonist – I couldn’t take my eyes off him whenever he was on screen. He lacks empathy, doesn’t hesitate to kill, and is unpredictable. He’s a brilliant villain who’s fun to hate.

But, whilst Widows still manages to deliver the excitement and spectacle of a blockbuster heist film, it also has a lot to say. Providing a damning condemnation of modern politics, race relations and lack of equality in Chicago, and by extension, America – this is what makes Widows stand out. McQueen isn’t afraid to discuss very relevant and troubling topics, even in a film whose genre seems unsuited to it.

Despite the unlikelihood of its creation, Widows delivers a surprise success which benefits hugely from its star-studded cast. Managing to provide both an exciting heist film and damning political commentary, this isn’t a film to be missed. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a dark horse for Best Picture come awards season either…

To watch the trailer – click here!

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