Author Topic: Widows (2018)  (Read 370 times)

Offline westendboy

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Widows (2018)
« on: December 07, 2018, 14:25 »

I fricking love heist movies. Crack team, high stakes, over-the-top plot twists, double crosses, triple crosses, diabolical nemesis, anti-heroes beating the impossible odds and evading capture. Who doesn’t love a solid heist movie? It’s escapism at its best. However it is a genre at times too reliant on its tropes. It is when the storyteller is able to subvert the expectations that it is able to blaze a different identity. Widows is Ocean’s Eight with all the kitsch removed; it is not only hard-driven, it is heart-driven.

Widows is the story of four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands’ criminal activities. Set in contemporary Chicago, amid a time of turmoil, tensions build when Veronica (Viola Davis), Alice (Elizabeth Debicki), Linda (Michelle Rodriguez) and Belle (Cynthia Erivo) take their fate into their own hands and conspire to forge a future on their own terms.

There is a scene of Michelle Rodriguez’s Linda trying to extract information from a safe-room designer and she is outted. A tense and uneasy situation turns into an unexpectedly poignant scene. It is a scene that shows her vulnerability and I am sure she will soon learn she can weaponise it. Such is the manic attention to realistic details in the screenplay by Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl) and Steve McQueen.

The widows are not whip-smart, possess no thieving prowess and have everything to lose. They are not looking for comeuppance for the deaths of their significant others; it is sheer survival that make them want to pull off the heist. The script digs into them like knife through butter and makes no concession to morality. It is single-minded and extracts all its killer grooves from allusions to and echoes of other heist movies.

The ensemble cast all vibrate with authenticity and each actor is given scenes to illuminate, while the rest of the film’s cast amply fill out the scenery. Viola Davis stands out and most of the story is told from her point of view. Not many actors can convey so much with just a look and she has that mesmerising quality. Elizabeth Debicki is another revelation and her arc from a doormat to a confident woman who finally knows what she want is very satisfying. Most of it is conveyed in a subtle and nuanced manner; just watched her posture and gait as the story progresses. And I have not even touched on the male characters which are all memorably portrayed.

Hans Zimmer composed the score and his usual bombastic signposts to call attention to the music is hugely missing. In fact, McQueen hardly used any score in the first two acts, allowing the story and characters to unfold without handholding us with music, but once it hits the heist sequence the music hits its groove.

The editing is also stellar; watch how the scenes fleet to the past effortlessly to let us see different perspectives of four families. None of the scenes overstay their welcome.

I have enjoyed Steve McQueen’s outstanding output, but his films remained for me excellent films that I can only sit through once. Widows, on the other hand, is his first foray into mainstream cinema and I can easily sit through this again and again. His arthouse stylings are still evident but this time round it is a solid marriage between hard-hitting themes and popcorn entertainment. Thankfully, Widows refuses to exploit the widows’ plight for fun or cheap entertainment and in so doing it will leave you pondering about the world we are living in, a world ruled by nepotism, racism and sexism.

4/ 5

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« Last Edit: December 08, 2018, 12:23 by westendboy »
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