Film Review: Widows

Mild spoilers ahead. 

Steve McQueen’s latest film is a strange hybrid of genres, it’s a heist thriller and a political drama all wrapped up into a neat little package. The result? A thoroughly entertaining film.

Widows kicks off in style, as a botched robbery leaves four criminals dead, leaving their wives to pick up the pieces. Veronica Rawlings, (Viola Davis) the wife of the leader of the gang, is threatened by the crime boss that her husband robbed, leaving her little choice but to raise the money herself, leading her to enlist the fellow widows to help her.

The political drama part of the film comes in the form of Jack Mulligan (Colin Farrell) who is running for mayor in the district. I won’t spoil too much, but his tale eventually becomes intertwined with the widows plan, creating a cohesive and powerful story.

Widows has quite a lengthy runtime, and sometimes it is at risk of being a bit dull, but for the most part McQueen keeps the story on track and he balances his stellar ensemble cast very well. The widows especially are excellent, despite the fact that they have nothing in common except their dead husbands, they have a good chemistry and I felt invested in all of their individual stories, none of them are superheroes and they all have real-life problems, which makes them very relatable. All are afforded a decent amount of screen time and I didn’t feel like any of them felt like excess baggage.

The film is beautifully shot and crafted, especially the heist sequences, which are an absolute delight to watch when paired with Hans Zimmer’s fantastic score. The biggest compliment I can give this film is that every aspect of it has been executed beautifully, so much so, that it’s hard to pinpoint an element that really stands out above the rest.

As well as being a strong, emotional thriller, there are plenty of deeper political messages about race, religion and American society in general. None of these feel forced or overbearing, because they are relevant and help to drive this story forward, while granting it some extra emotional weight that will leave audiences with more to think about after they’ve been wow’ed by the explosive set-pieces and sequences.

It has a stellar cast, a layered script with some excellent twists and turns, fantastic craftsmanship, powerful messages, but most importantly, it’s brilliantly entertaining. It’s hard to not recommend Widows, it’s one of the best heist films I’ve seen in a long time and I very much look forward to watching it again.

I give Widows an 8.5/10.

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