Directed by Steve McQueen
Widows, a tale of love and crime based on the 1983 British TV series of the same name, is undeniably the most commercial work by celebrated director Steve McQueen. By no means, this heist film is at the same level as his masterpieces Hunger, Shame, and 12 Years A Slave. However, he found intelligent ways to raise tension and let the nervousness of the unbreakable female characters penetrate our bodies.
When their criminal husbands get killed in the aftermath of an incompetent robbery in Chicago, three women - the self-assertive Veronica Rawlins (Viola Davis), clothing store owner Linda Perelli (Michelle Rodriguez), and newly escort Alice Gunner (Elizabeth Debicki at her very best) - are in imminent danger.
Having nothing in common apart from a life ruined by debt, they decide to join forces and steal five million grand to save their asses from incurring in further complications. The plan is not a product of their imagination, though. All the details were written in a notebook left by Veronica’s sly husband, Harris (Liam Neeson). The latter had stolen one million from Jamal Manning (Brian Tyree Henry), a crime boss turned politician, who now wants to be paid by Veronica. He is running for alderman against Jack Mulligan (Colin Farrell), also a powerful politician who’s trying to get things his own way, despite the disapproval of his authoritarian father, Tom (Robert Duvall).
Aware of the necessity of a driver to carry out the plan accordingly, they add a fourth element to the team: beautician and part-time babysitter Belle (Cynthia Erivo). Even with a few unanticipated setbacks, the heist is consummated, but tranquility is still not guaranteed since villainous connections and pernicious schemes are disclosed in the final section.
Having the stellar cast putting his creative ideas into effect, Steve McQueen exalts feminine prowess in a story filled with political corruption, criminal violence, adultery, and tainted relationships. The well-founded script came from Gone Girl writer Gillian Flynn.
Deftly mounted to please the crowds in obvious ways, Widows benefits from the organized structure of its storytelling and the ability to never slackening in tension or emotion. Although operating in a Hollywood-esque mode, McQueen offers the viewers consistent payoffs.