Starring: Viola Davis, Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell, & Daniel Kaluuya
Directed By: Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave)
Runtime: 2 hours 9 minutes
I don’t have time to gush about this movie like I really want to. So the short review goes like this…See this movie. See this movie. See this movie. Forget all family obligations over the next few weeks, see this movie. Forget all professional appointments you may have made, see this movie. See. This. Movie.
The longer review of this movie goes a little something like this. Steve McQueen returns with his first film since 2013’s “12 Years a Slave”, a movie which won Best Picture. It was the first film written and directed by a black person to win Best Picture. He earned the five year break. Widows is an adaptation of a British miniseries from the 80s. Four innocent women lose their career criminal husbands when a job goes wrong. The widows are blackmailed into coming up with five million dollars.
Viola Davis leads a team of women into pulling off the heist, stealing five million dollars from a corrupt Chicago politician played by Collin Farrell doing his best real Irish, fake Chicago accent. Along the way, Davis is tormented by a Chicago street gang trying to go legit. The leaders of which are played by Bryan Tyree Henry (Atlanta) and a haunting performance from Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out).
This movie works on multiple levels. The surface level action/drama/heist film, and below the surface we have a female empowerment drama without being preachy for even a second. This is what Ocean’s 8 SHOULD have been. Then there’s a third level, a story about people in power screwing over anyone to keep their spot at the top. All three levels work. All three levels are masterful. And if you don’t want to see all three, you don’t have to. It works as a straight up heist film with no message. Or, if you care to see it, one of the smartest heist films ever.
Too many terrific performances from an all-star ensemble cast. Viola Davis, Liam Neeson, Michelle Rodriguez, Collin Farrell, Robert Duvall, Daniel Kaluuya, and two names you might not know but should learn. Elizabeth Debicki and Cynthia Erivo.
Widows is the closest thing I have ever seen to watching a season of The Wire. I do not throw that comparison around loosely. It feels like The Wire. Smart, violent, real, with a good amount of heart. Don’t miss Widows.
On a scale of "See It/Stream It/Skip It", I'm answering with an emphatic "See It". I normally like to guide people into making their own decisions with what movies to watch, but I am championing this movie to the end of the Earth.
If you liked The Wire, Heat, and Ocean’s 8 you might enjoy Widows
4 out 5 stars
I’m going back and forth between 4/4.5 I’m not sure. Time will tell.