Verdict 5 Stars
Award-winning director Steve McQueen can do no wrong in my eyes. The filmmaker is an extraordinary storyteller whose kin attention to crucial details cannot go ignored (12 Years A Slave can attest to this fact). Viola Davis, on the other hand, is one heck of an actor, so you must understand my excitement when the official trailer for Widows dropped months back.
The movie makes good of its promise of giving its audience a remarkable heist story. Sadly, Widows is ultimately not a smooth flight as it makes a disappointing crash. How so? The excitement matched with the build-up to the climax left me and will most likely leave you wondering if McQueen and co-writer Gillian Flynn decided last minute that the movie had to fit into the recommended movie duration. However, If you can’t bear to miss a Viola Davis led blockbuster (especially one where she delivers another stellar performance), don’t lose hope just yet!
From the trailer, we can already prepare ourselves for an all-female heist but interestingly, the heist is just an umbrella picture of what this movie actually explores. We are jolted out of our blissful knowing with a number of themes (as expected with McQueen). For one there’s Police brutality against Blacks, there’s racism, the hypocrisy of the church, domestic violence, White supremacy in America. You also can’t miss the strong feminist voice in this story which makes it all the more exciting.
Our lead star, Viola Davis plays freshly widowed Veronica who learns she must pay back $2 million which her deceased husband Harry (Liam Neeson) stole from Criminal turned political aspirant Jamal Manning (Bryan Tyree Henry). McQueen and Flynn show us various forms of Veronica (probably in a bid to convince us that she is just as real as the typical black woman). Veronica is strong yet vulnerable. She has experienced a number of losses including the brutal murder of her son by an overzealous white Policeman. But, she conceals it long enough to gather the widows of her husband’s gang mates.
There’s Alice (Elizabeth Debicki) who you’ll nearly have to scream “Man the F*** Up” till she finally does. Debicki’s character is easily a favorite especially for me. Alice is the most realistic representation of what it means to be female in a largely patriarchal society. Manning up for Alice isn’t by accident but a clear choice which she opts for. I don’t see any louder feminist move! In Widows, the heist is influenced by the need for the women to take charge and rewrite their narrative.
For the duration of the movie which lasts 2 hours 9 minutes, the story forces you to follow each prep, tear, conflict with the tingling promise of a satisfactory climax. The climax eventually comes but it’s nothing like the build-up promised.
** Another successful SPOILER free Review!
Photo Credit: @widowsmovie/ Instagram