- Ruthless efficiency, the encapsulating trait of the fantastic performance given by Viola Davis in “Widows”, who here continues to bring her cold emotional ferocity to yet another role. Davis’ tormented grieving process is a nuanced one, as she must balance it with the completion of a heist. Davis’ quaking vulnerability and hardnose authority are focal weapons in this films arsenal and are used very well. Elizabeth Debicki nearly matches what Davis brings to the table as a woman with past problems with abusive partners who slowly emerges from her shell as the film goes along. While on the other side of the spectrum, Brian Tyree Henry and Daniel Kaluuya, both turn in strong performances with Kaluuya being the standout of the two. Kaluuya here twists his sly coolness to sociopathic menace, as he engrosses his character with long unsettling stares.
- Steve McQueen delivers a crackling heist thriller that is both a piece of mainstream entertainment, but also a film of much substance that unabashedly flourishes its characters inner-anxieties about race, class, gender, and privilege. This film seems to be both a departure and progression in McQueen’s filmography, who entering this film was on a hot-streak previously delivering “Hunger”, “Shame” and “12 Years a Slave”. But with “Widows” he continues his gliding camerawork (with much help from his cinematographer, Sean Bobbitt) and shows his great sense of location throughout. McQueen encapsulates this film socially through one eye-opening scene, where we see the camera attached to the hood of car as we listen to a conversation from Colin Farrell’s character “Jack Mulligan”. As the conversation rolls on we never see the heated conversation happening, we just hear it, as McQueen is focused on something else, the city. As the car is moving, we see the camera glide from one side of the car to the other, showing how in a mere two minute drive you can find yourself in a place of great poverty and social depravation to a place of manicured lawns and brick wall surrounded houses. It’s a scene that many could overlook, but its far and away the one with the most subtle of power.
- Though the screenplay from McQueen and Gillian Flynn contains multiple problems, it still delivers in many elements. First and foremost the screenplay takes what could be a contrived B-movie template and delivers a hard-boiled sinewy piece of social realism. Its commentary into the minefield of Chicago politics is one that carries an astute quality as it doesn’t take the sides of either politician character in the film, as both are crooked in their own right. But the screenplay also delivers a thoughtful interesting look at recovery when it pertains to Viola Davis’ character. As the pure concept alone of melding a grief recovery story with a heist film is something I admittedly haven’t seen before.
- The editing from Joe Walker is astounding. Walker continues his trademark of fluid edits here, but it’s the opening of this film that opens the eyes. Walker’s execution of smash cuts back and forth between domestic intimacy and a roaring heist is something that will jolt audiences right into the films grasps.
- There is one scene in the film that takes place with Michelle Rodriguez in a living room that feels completely out of place. It’s also a scene that could practically be cut as it never is referenced again.
- There are a couple of characters that are either underdeveloped or just one-dimensional.
- There is also a scene where our leading group of women lose there car then magically have another without any sort of explanation.