2 hr. 8 min. | Rated R16 | Contains violence, offensive language and sex scenes
Starring: Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Colin Farrell, Brian Tyree Henry, Daniel Kaluuya, Garret Dillahunt, Carrie Coon, Jacki Weaver
Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen swerves into the fast lane with an expertly plotted crime movie.
Widows, a supercharged, Chicago-set caper of consummate skill, zooms along in a way that feels peppier than usual, McQueen brewing the action and ominous municipal intrigue like he was trying to outdo The Fugitive.
Three women dominate the story, giving it a survivor’s poise that Ocean’s 8, a high-collared pretender, could only dream of. They’re the recent widows of a deceased gang of high-stakes criminals, men who barely get any screen time. In their absence, Veronica (Viola Davis) floats around her white-walled penthouse like a ghost, Linda (Michelle Rodriguez) gets her thrift store sold from under her, and Alice, an abused blonde trophy wife (Elizabeth Debicki, who goes from fragile to fierce and runs away with the movie), is urged by her own mother to become an escort. As if economic freefall and grief weren’t enough, their husbands’ unfinished business shows up on their doorsteps, in the form of thugs demanding payment.
To watch the women coalesce into a hard-nosed crew of heisters is the year’s most purely pleasurable piece of transformation. McQueen, adapting a 1983 British TV miniseries with Gone Girl screenwriter Gillian Flynn, spikes the brew with unusual flavours, mainly involving a vicious, unpredictable enforcer (Get Out’s Daniel Kaluuya) and – this being Chicago – the stench of dynastic political corruption, embodied by Colin Farrell’s up-and-coming alderman and his even worse father (Robert Duvall, explosive like he used to be). Cynthia Erivo brings much-needed warmth as a can-do hairdresser turned getaway driver. It’s a lot of plot for one sitting, but Widows will remind you how massively entertaining crime movies can be, especially when they’re animated by the spirit of cool-headed capability, onscreen and off.
Time Out London