WIDOWS is just a delight to watch from beginning to end. This is the exact opposite from Steve McQueen’s last film 12 Years A Slave, which was a chore to sit through. This is no Ocean’s 8, this is a hard edged crime/heist thriller with commanding performances from all those involved, especially from our lead, played by Viola Davis. There are twists and turns, there are some real nail biters, there are some laughs, it’s never boring, it’s really everything you could want in a movie. Movies either need to be masterpieces of art, or they need to be masterpieces in entertainment. Anything in between, is not really a movie to me. It might still be a movie, but it’s a forgettable one. This film reminded me of films such as Heat, or Casino, or L.A. Confidential, or Scarface, classics ya’ll (that’s right, I just slipped in a Spring Breakers reference). Widows also has to be one of my favorite films of the year. The movie is over 2 hrs and I felt like I was only in the theater for an hour.
Though it does have a couple of awkward moments, which include awkward make out scene right at the beginning and then about right in the middle of the film, everything else shines so brightly, it’s almost near perfect. The film is about a woman, played by Viola Davis, whose husband, played by Liam Neeson, gets killed along with his crime cohorts in a robbery/heist attempt gone wrong. Neeson’s character had apparently stolen $2 million from a would be politician, but the money was incinerated in the fire that killed all of them. That would be politician, who is really just a gang lord in disguise, gives Viola Davis a month to get him his money back. In her late husband’s safe deposit box, she finds his notebook that details all of his previous jobs, plus most of the one that he was going to do after the one where he ends up getting killed. He contacts the other wives, widows, of Neeson’s crime cohorts, and basically forces them to pull this job with her, so she can pay off the gang lord politician and have a little bit of chunk change for her to keep on living the good life. The movie moves at a rapid fire pace, with an all star cast that includes Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Cynthia Enviro, Elizabeth Debicki, Brian Tyree Henry, Robert Duvall, Colin Ferrell, Jacki Weaver, Jon Berenthal, Carrie Coon, Garret Dillihunt, and recent Oscar nominee Daniel Kaluuya. All get pretty good screentime (ok, techinically not true, I don’t want to spoil anything, but you know what I mean) and they all act their pants off, so performance wise Widows is very strong.
The film doesn’t go overload on the action either. It is in the parts where it needed to be. The tension is fantastic in the parts where it needed to be. The twists and turns are set up and paid off well and the film thankfully doesn’t have 20 different endings to show where all of these characters ended up in the end. And a lot of it is showing the audience, not just telling us (something The Crimes of Grindelwald really failed at this weekend for me). A couple of tiny characters are left either hanging and we are meant to assume in our own minds what happens of them or short pieces of well placed dialogue fill in the gaps. I loved how this movie didn’t need everything tied up in one big bow and the only dialogue heavy explanation parts are with Colin Farrell talking about his political strides, which is necessary to the film since political jargin can get really complicated on screen if not relayed to the audience correctly.
The only one problem I had in the film is this moment in the middle of the film where these two characters, that just met literally a minute earlier, start making out a little after grief. I thought it was a play by one of them for something to pay off later in the film, but no, it was just a little character moment where everything was very overwhelming so they needed a little emotional release. I’d like to watch the entire movie in that context again to see if the scene works better, but I almost uttered a WTF. Thankfully the scene doesn’t last long and shortly ends after that so it didn’t take me out of the movie as much as I thought it was going to do at first. A couple more awkward moments happen when characters slap each other and there is some awkward silence afterward, but that is a minor nitpick.
Some people (men mostly) are telling me they might not want to see the movie because it looks like a feminist film. It really isn’t one and even if it were, who cares? Go see it. Feminists deserve their films too. However, I don’t think it is that feminist because A. There is a message about power with both sexes in the film, and everything is treated quite evenly. B. This movie isn’t a “all men are bad” type of thing at all (even though at parts it may feel like it, there are some good men in the film, and there are even some shady women). And C. I don’t think a totally feminist film would have any nudity in it at all. One of the main Widows goes nude for nearly 2 minutes with a guy that’s paying her for sex and companionship. But maybe it would still be considered a feminist film because of that message that comes out of that? I don’t know. But again, who cares if you think it’s a feminist film. The point is it’s a great film, don’t be biased on that shit, makes you seem a little odd.
There is really nothing else to say other than if you like crime movies, if you like any of the actors you have read that are in it, seen in the trailer, or read on the poster, if you like heist movies, if you like entertaining movies, if you want to be on the edge of your seat with nail biting tension, then go see Widows. It definitely won’t bore you, unlike another movie that came out today that involves fucking wizards and magic. You’d think it would be the opposite, right?