Starring Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell, Cynthia Erivo, Brian Tyree Henry, Daniel Kaluuya, Robert Duvall, Jon Bernthal, Garret Dillahunt, Carrie Coon, Lukas Haas, Kevin J. O’Connor
Polished. Sprawling. Unsatisfying.
Three women-Veronica (Davis), Linda (Rodriguez), Alice (Debicki)-lose their criminal husbands and owe crime boss, Jamal Manning (Henry), a couple million dollars. To pay him, the three devise a heist based on a plan drawn by Veronica’s late husband, Harry Rawlings (Neeson), and add a fourth member, Belle (Erivo), a getaway driver once they get closer to the heist. Anyone who’s seen Widows will know that the film is about so much more than what I just described, but for me, that’s part of the problem. There’s much too much going on. Politics, social commentary, a scene touching on police shootings, and about 4 or 5 characters too many. Even interesting characters, Belle and Robert Duvall’s Tom Mulligan, weren’t necessary. Widows has many great aspects though. Beautifully filmed and acted, the story, despite being unfocused in my eyes, does draw you in. I do think, however, that here is a rare case where a bastardized version of this plot would have been better. The film is so elegantly shot that the heist needed to be more clever. The film’s final act dedicates maybe 10 minutes to the actual heist and it’s a trainwreck. That would be fine in a grittier crime film, but this one sets up its heist and characters for too long for that haphazard ending to be satisfying.
-Walter Tyrone Howard-