Widows is a movie adaptation of a novel by Lynda La Plante. Directed by Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave) from a screenplay by McQueen and Gillian Flynn, who is best known for Gone Girl.
The movie opens with a heist gone wrong as the men involved are killed in a fiery car chase. Leaving behind their wives who have little knowledge of what really happened behind the scenes. They quickly come to find out that a debt has to be repaid to a “crime lord” regardless of their husbands’ deaths. The widows, Veronica (Viola Davis), Alice (Elizabeth Debicki), and Linda Perelli (Michelle Rodriguez), have no choice but to plan and carry out a heist in four weeks.
This stylish and sleek thriller delivers on the expectations of having twists and turns but not without some bumps on the road along the way.
Unfortunately, Widows suffers from some pacing issues in the first quarter, occasionally even bordering on being lacklustre. However, just as the plot starts stalling, McQueen and Flynn inject mystery, betrayal & introduces new characters to up the ante.
There are also jumps between timelines which might confuse some viewers if they are not paying attention properly. The creators deliberately opted to make no noticeable differences in technique when scenes jump from present to the past – which is great for those of us who can follow the storyline but not for the rest.
Widows has a lot of unlikable characters, some of whom are portrayed by Liam Neeson, Jon Bernthal and Daniel Kaluuya. Their characters have absolutely no redeeming qualities, even those who might seem like they do in the beginning end up being dreadful. To their credit, they do unlikable very well, especially Kaluuya, whose character really lacks any soul.
Viola Davies, Elizabeth Debicki, Michelle Rodriguez and Cynthia Erivo’s characters are not represented as saints either but rather complex, strong, and unapologetic women who find themselves in a horrible situation thanks to their criminal spouses. In the end, you do want them to succeed and live happily ever after.
I can’t review Widows without mentioning the brilliant soundtrack by Hans Zimmer, featuring Nina Simone, Sade, Michael Jackson (though his song is not featured on the album) and many other wonderful talents. The music featured elevates the movie to a whole new level and guaranteed to make you take notice.
While Widows is described as a heist movie, don’t expect it to be jam-packed action from start to finish, in fact, there is very little fighting involved right until the last quarter of the story. Where it lacks in action, it certainly makes up in twists and turns. 7/10
Widows is in cinemas now.