Starring: Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki
Director: Steve McQueen
Running Time: 130 mins
Widows is an American film about a group of women who, after the death of their husbands, find themselves being chased up for a major debt left behind by their spouses, leading them to come together to find a way to resolve an increasingly dangerous situation.
With an intriguing plot complemented by an immense cast filled with great performances, Widows proves an entertaining crime thriller throughout, furthered by slick action sequences and strong characters across the board. The whole 130 minutes fly by very quickly, and although the film isn’t ever able to go one better and really get you on your seat, it proves an entertaining and thoroughly engaging watch from beginning to end.
The most notable thing about Widows has to be its huge ensemble cast, featuring Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Cynthia Erivo, Liam Neeson, Daniel Kaluuya, Colin Farrell, Robert Duvall and many others, something that I expected to be a problem for the film, in trying to keep all these A-listers’ individual stories together under one coherent umbrella.
Now, I can’t say that Widows achieves this perfectly, and particularly in the first act, things meander a little too much between various characters’ arcs, but as the story builds and builds throughout, things begin to come together in a satisfying and intruiging manner, with every character playing an important role in the development of events without things ever becoming too crowded.
Big A-list ensemble movies often struggle to pull this off, and although Widows isn’t quite one hundred percent perfect either, it does a far better job than most productions. What’s more is that the quality of all of the performances is even better, something that allows you to genuinely connect with a handful of characters in a way that you rarely see on the big screen.
Director Steve McQueen does a great job to pull all these characters together, but the real grit and intensity of the movie comes in the form of some of its stand-out performances, in particular from the rock-hard Viola Davis, the enthralling Elizabeth Debicki, and the deeply unnerving Daniel Kaluuya.
All of the performances are great here, and lend a good gravitas to a crime story that occasionally feels a little run-of-the-mill, which meant that I was thoroughly engrossed in all of the characters throughout, something that hugely impressed me.
On the flipside, while the movie does a great job with those characters, it doesn’t quite manage to provide edge-of-your-seat thrills or tension with its crime story. As a drama, Widows is pretty good, but in tandem with its slick and exciting action, I didn’t feel enough unpredictability or sense of threat in the crime/heist side of the story, with the only real fear coming from Daniel Kaluuya’s rather terrifying occasional appearances on screen.
As a result, Widows doesn’t stand out in my mind as a great crime thriller, and although it undoubtedly surpasses many other genre films thanks to its intrigue and character depth, it’s not always quite the exhilarating experience it often wants to be, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.6 overall.