Hot Take: The movie is loaded with talent and comes from a talent director and writer BUT I can’t help but feel like something is missing. It’s good BUT not amazing.
With all of the buzz around Widows, it was hard not to walk in with high expectations. Featuring Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez and Elizabeth Debicki was three women who recently lost their husbands during an attempted heist who now must work together to pull off a heist of their own to pay back the men their husbands tried to rip off from director Steve McQueen who also co-wrote the film with Gillian Flynn, Widows has a lot going for it. In addition to those three women, the cast is bolstered by a supporting cast of Colin Farrell, Cythnia Ervo, Daniel Kaluuya, Brian Tyree Henry, Robert Duvall, Jon Bernthal, Lukas Haas and Liam Neeson. It’s stacked with talent and the premise is fresh enough that it never feels as stale as it could considering it’s yet another heist flick. However, Widows isn’t without problems and while it’s good enough to recommend, it’s hard to get as excited as some who feel the film deserves to be heavily recognized come Awards season.
Rather than jumping into the synopsis of the film which is pretty clear if you take a look at the film’s trailer, let’s talk about some of the issues Widows has that keeps it from being a great film. There’s a convenience factor to Widows that is troublesome. There’s plenty of death and violence in the film but it feels as if the audience has been given a reason to be happy that character has met their demise. It’s heavy handed to the point you feel a small sense of relief for the women who’ve lost their criminal husbands as they’ve all been portrayed unfavorably in the opening scene of the film. Even the main character, Veronica (Viola Davis), who is married to the group’s leader Harry Rawlings (Liam Neeson) who seems to have the happiest and most stable relationship with her husband slowly reveals throughout the film that maybe not everything was perfect in their relationship, either. There isn’t a character who gets knocked off in the film that you struggle with their loss due to the film’s efforts to besmirch them before they meet their end.
Visually, the film is impeccable. The score (from the always amazing Hans Zimmer) provides the film even more clout. It’s lengthy at 129 minutes but never feels too long and it’s difficult to find any major fault with any of the film’s performances. It does reach a point where it’s difficult to fully buy into and takes too many swings outside of the realm of a traditional heist flick (it weighs in with a political subplot and dabbles with some gangster narrative that the film could spend less time with and still work) and has a air of self-importance that attempts to manipulate the audience into feeling the film has more importance than it really does. Judging by the critical sentiment, it worked on some. Widows wasn’t 100% successful here, though, as it’s a film this reviewer would categorize as good not great.
Viola Davis is your shit! (And so is Liam Neesons!)
Another heist flick with a cheap, overused plot twist is not something you feel compelled to run to see.