You know the one way to determine whether or not their will be a second/third act twist that’ll require a lot of explaining to do? Who plays a minor character that dies early on. Liam Neeson’s death in the beginning of Widows sets off a chain of reactions but throughout you can’t help but think that somehow, someway, he’ll matter into the film’s ending because you don’t just hire Liam Neeson in a throwaway part.
Widows is a simple heist thriller: Neeson’s group of thieves dies early, owing big money to a gangster. When they come at the widows of the four men (Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Cynthia Erivo and Elizabeth Debicki) for the money, they take Neeson’s book of immaculate crime setups to pull off a heist. Shenanigans ensue involving political corruption and an election for a South Side Chicago ward that’s long since stopped being home for a politician (Colin Farrell) who’s in the family business of politics and corruption.
It’s a genuinely good and engaging film; we get to see a bunch of ill-equipped women trying to pull off a job they can’t and the script doesn’t turn them into Mary Sues. It’s what keeps the film from turning into a farce; Veronica (Davis) finding out just how deep the rabbit hole is, and what her husband actually did for a living, is a charming piece of narrative. The film, like many heist films, suffers from massive plot holes but McQueen is a strong enough director to keep them hidden on first glance.
Widows is a great one time viewing; it’s got a great look, it’s shot well and there’s strong acting across the board. Once you hit that second viewing the film’s big gaps become pretty apparent quickly. It’s a very enjoyable first viewing, one in which a proper rental would be well worth it.
A handful of extras about the cast and about the city of Chicago don’t add much.
20th Century Fox presents Widows. Directed by Steven McQueen. Written by McQueen and Gillian Flynn. Starring Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Liam Neeson. Run Time: 129 minutes Rated R. Released on DVD: 2.5.19
Tags: Cynthia Erivo, Elizabeth Debicki, Liam Neeson, Michelle Rodriguez, Steve McQueen, Viola Davis, Widows