Widows proves to be one of the most satisfying crime dramas in years. Director Steve McQueen follows up his Oscar-winning “12 Years a Slave” by giving us a great heist movie with enough intensity on its plot and focuses on its female-centric characters to rival the likes of “Heat” or “The Town.”
When you have actors like Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell and Robert Duvall in one movie acting at their A-game, it’s movie dynamite on screen.
Davis plays a teaching union delegate in Chicago whose husband (Liam Neeson) was a professional bank robber and he and his crew were killed during a botched robbery. Now, a local crime boss (Brian Tyree Henry) comes to Davis wanting the $2 million her husband should’ve delivered.
Soon Davis enlists her own crew for the job including Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki (“The Great Gatsby”), and Cynthia Ervio. Their mission is simply to find the location of the money and give it to the crime boss and once it’s in his hands, he can use it to sway an upcoming election away from a politician (Colin Farrell). Farrell’s father is Robert Duvall, a prominent power broker.
Another key player on the stakes is the boss’ younger brother (Daniel Kaluuya from “Get Out” and “Black Panther”). He plays his role like a 21st century version of Joe Pesci’s Tommy from “Goodfellas.” Don’t ever start rapping in his presence.
With this being a heist movie, you would expect there to be a series of intense car chases and shootouts, but the movie likes to show restraint instead by focusing more on its characters and their motivations and they’re all palpable. Every threat from the crime boss holds water. Every bit of information on a character’s background feels authentic, especially Davis’ romance with Neeson told in flashbacks. Every single actor represents a different point on the morality scale.
As a heist thriller, it’s gripping and riveting. As a drama with solid writing, tight direction, and effective performances, it’s a satisfying experience.
(Rated R for violence, language throughout, and some sexual content/nudity.)