Steve McQueen (Shame, 12 Years a Slave) brings Lynda La Plante’s novel to the screen. Widows is about a woman who rallies the girlfriends and wives of her deceased husband’s gang of robbers, all of whom died in a botched robbery with her husband, to execute plans for what would have been their next heist. They all need to do this because their dead lovers owed money to really bad people who expect the women to deliver. This is not a cute all-girl bonding movie like Set It Off. It’s handled more realistically than that. But the less you know about the movie, the more you’ll get wrapped up in it.
I love McQueen’s previous films, but this is perhaps my least favorite from him. It’s an ambitious movie with a lot of characters and sub-plots, so much so that I feel Viola Davis’ leading character gets a tad short-shrifted. It’s also not as exciting as the trailers would have you believe, but I did appreciate the dramatic structure, the way important character details were withheld and revealed. The female ensemble are terrific. Viola Davis is Oscar-worthy in the lead role, and Michelle Rodriguez and Elizabeth Debicki are equally up to the task. The cast also includes Liam Neeson as Davis’ dead lover, Colin Farrell as a shady politician, and Robert Duvall as Farrell’s disapproving father.
Widows is good — certainly worth a look if you’re jonesing for a good drama. But if you want an urban crime drama that aims high and hits the mark, try Heat instead.