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[tab title="Movie Review"]

Widows - Movie Review

In film, mass audience appeal and brains rarely ever go together. Just ask Paul Blart. Yet, with his heist thriller Widows, filmmaker Steve McQueen proves that it is actually possible to make an intelligent film that is also appealing to a wide audience.

Countless times have otherwise smart films been ruined by a director who fails to walk that fine line between carrying out a vision and satisfying the studio whose main interests lie in box office totals. Sure, McQueen’s latest, which he co-writes along with Gillian Flynn – from Lynda La Plante’s British television series, creaks and groans at times from the strains of its commercial fittings, but you’d be hard pressed to find anything, of late, that so successfully manages to have it both ways. Widows is smart and unpredictable with a dark, sardonic wit that courses through its veins, while at the same time remaining extremely violent and content with blowing stuff up.

"There are a lot of balls to keep in the air, but McQueen never bobbles a single one."

McQueen smartly takes La Plante’s source material and updates it with a topical resonance by changing its setting from 1980’s London to modern-day Chicago. In actuality, it could be any American city, but that city’s current political, societal, and economic turmoil is as good a place as any to set his film that crackles with energy from greed, corruption, and inequality run amok. The city of Chicago is a major character in the film that features women who are forced to risk everything in a male-dominated world.

As the film opens, scenes of a crew performing a dangerous heist are juxtaposed against domestic scenes of the crew’s wives. Veronica (Viola Davis, Fences) is married to career criminal Harry Rawlins (Liam Neeson, Star Wars: The Clone Wars). Linda (Michelle Rodriguez, Fast and Furious) is raising her three small children while running a dress shop. Polish immigrant Alice (Elizabeth Debicki, Guardians of the Galaxy) is an abused wife and a kept woman. The women don’t know one another, but are soon forced into a reluctant bond when they learn that their husbands were killed when police blew up the van in which they were fleeing a burglary.

If things weren’t already bad enough for the women, they are about to get much worse when the widows discover that their husbands were stealing from career-criminal-turned-politician Jamal Manning (Brian Tyree Henry, Atlanta) who wants his $2 million back in one month, or else. Keeping pressure on the women and ensuring that they stick to the deadline is Manning’s enforcer, Jatemme (Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out). {Googleads}

Of course, they don’t have the money. But rather than give up, the widows – strangers to one another and now with literally nothing to their names – decide to carry on by finishing the heist that their husbands were supposed to commit. Problem is, they know nothing about crime, heists, guns, or how to do bad things. But a notebook left behind by her husband gives Veronica the whereabouts of a stash of cash worth $5 million. It is up to the women who come from different racial, social, economic, and financial backgrounds to come together to achieve their goal. Though underdogs, Veronica reminds us of their advantage when she tells the others, “no one thinks we have the balls to pull it off.”

There are several side plots and twists that complicate their plan, however. The reason Jamal is so intent on getting his money back is that he wants to use it to fund his campaign for alderman in a Chicago district that is now predominantly African-American but has long been ruled by an Irish-American family headed by Tom Mulligan (Robert Duvall, The Judge). Mulligan has retired and hopes that his son Jack (Colin Farrell, The Lobster) can keep control of the seat from Manning.

Action, suspense, intrigue, and danger follow as McQueen’s story plays out in a tumbling cascade of twists that foil our heroines’ plan at every turn.

Widows - Movie Review

There are very few directors working today who could pull off the feat that McQueen does with Widows. Before we know it, his story masterfully evolves from one of intense action and political suspense tinged with sexism and racism into one of female empowerment and independence as the women overcome their obstacles. There are a lot of balls to keep in the air, but McQueen never bobbles a single one.

And who knew that Viola Davis was up to the task of taking such a departure from the roles she typically plays. Her Veronica is the heart and soul of the story and we totally buy in to everything she is selling. We have never seen this from her but she is totally dominant in her role as reluctant badass. The remainder of the cast is nearly perfect as well, including Kaluuya, whose enforcer character is quite the intimidating force.

McQueen’s biggest accomplishment with Widows is that he knows he’s making a somewhat farcical action thriller and peppers it with plenty of violence, bullets, blood, and fire. All the things that action lovers want. Yet he also has lots of important things to say about the world in which we live today. And his film is more than triumphant at getting those points across. From this point forward, there will be few excuses for a film that doesn’t manage to stimulate the brain while also entertaining the masses.

5 stars


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Widows - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: R for violence, language throughout, and some sexual content/nudity.
129 mins
: Steve McQueen
Steve McQueen; Gillian Flynn
Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki
: Action | Suspense
Left with nothing. Capable of anything.
Memorable Movie Quote: "No one believes we have the balls to pull it off."
Theatrical Distributor:
Twentieth Century Fox
Official Site: www.facebook.com/WidowsMovie
Release Date:
November 16, 2018
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available.
Synopsis: Set in contemporary Chicago, amid a time of turmoil, four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands' criminal activities, take fate into their own hands, and conspire to forge a future on their own terms.



[tab title="Blu-ray Review"]

Widows - Movie Review


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Available on Blu-ray
- February 5, 2019
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
: English SDH, French, Spanish
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD-50, 1 DVD); Digital copy; Movies Anywhere; DVD copy
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Filmed in 35mm and finished thanks to a 4K processing, the textures throughout Widows is killer.  The fine folks over at 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment have a very fine-looking release on their hands.  The 1080p/AVC- encoded transfer is an impressive display of Chicago, both the good and the bad parts of that fabulous city.  Fine detailed is practically overwhelming with the grains in the city and fibers in the clothing being abundant.  Flesh tones are warm and visually full of detail.  The contrast is edged-up a bit (which is a good thing) and there are definite breaks in the colors and impressive shadows that are completely at play throughout the feature. With an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 2.39:1 and a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix, Widows looks AND sounds absolutely stunning and crisp, even in its darkest of moments. 



  • None

Special Features:

There aren’t a lot included with the release.  We get a loaded featurette, with multiple parts, that looks at the making of the movie and its BBC inspiration.  Cast and crew are interviewed and we get behind the scenes looks at the movie.  A gallery follows that.  A theatrical trailer rounds out the release.  A digital and DVD copy of the movie is included with the release.

  • Widows Unmasked: A Chicago Story (52 min)
  • Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer



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Widows - Movie Review