Directed by critically acclaimed filmmaker Steve McQueen who won the Oscar for 2013’s 12 Years a Slave, Widows is a powerful character-driven heist thriller that relies less on action sequences and more on the slow burn drama surrounding the climax and is remarkable for its stellar ensemble cast. The plot follows a group of women who plan a robbery following the deaths of their criminal husbands during a job and find themselves intertwined with the corrupt politics of Chicago and competing criminal organizations. Veronica Rawlings, played by Oscar winner Viola Davis, becomes the leader of the bereaved women following in the footsteps of her husband Harry, played by Oscar nominee Liam Neeson, who was the leader of their husbands’ criminal enterprise. She discovers her husband’s notebook outlining their next robbery and recruits the other women to go through with the heist in order to pay back the criminal boss and alderman candidate Jamal Manning, played by Emmy nominee Brian Tyree Henry. Jamal, along with his brutal associate and brother played by Oscar nominee Daniel Kaluuya, threaten the women whose husbands they claim stole millions of dollars from them. Eventually, Veronica is able to recruit Linda, played by Michelle Rodriguez, Alice, played by Elizabeth Debicki, and Linda’s babysitter Belle, played by Cynthia Erivo, to participate in the heist that could be worth up to five million dollars, enough to pay back Jamal. Only one of the widows Amanda, played by Carrie Coon, decides not to help out because she has a newborn baby. Their plans are complicated by the corrupt Chicago politician Jack Mulligan, played by Golden Globe winner Colin Farrell, who is running for alderman against Jamal. Jack and his vicious and equally corrupt father Tom Mulligan, played by Oscar winner Robert Duvall, are wary of Veronica because they made illicit deals with her husband Harry. Although there are several action sequences that take place during the actual heist scenes, most of the film shows the trauma and grief of the women losing their husbands, as well as their desire to avenge their deaths by meticulously planning an elaborate robbery of their own. They are portrayed as almost feminist anti-heroes who commit a crime that all the male criminals and corrupt politicians believe is not possible for women. The movie also contains several shocking twists and turns that make for a much more entertaining and thought-provoking experience. Overall, I thought it was a well-crafted and superbly acted action drama that creatively breaks the mold of a typical heist thriller by focusing on character development and creating a foreboding atmospheric drama.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s