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Arts and Entertainment Monday, Nov. 19, 2018 1 year ago

Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen misses the mark with 'Widows'

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The script of the new action film is mediocre and the director's attempt at political commentary is overkill.

Star power and a director extraordinaire cannot save "Widows" from what it might have been. Suffering from an aimless, mediocre script, this action chick flick with a twist misses its mark.

The film opens with a hell of a bang and one very sexy kiss. When a robbery goes terribly wrong, killing all of the perpetrators, one of the wives left widowed, Veronica (Viola Davis), discovers that her husband (Liam Neeson) stole two million dollars from a political campaign. She now has one month to return it or face a certain and grizzly death. And her husband left her penniless.

 

After finding a secret notebook kept meticulously by her spouse, she comes upon his plans for his next heist. It would amount to a five million dollar score. In desperation, Veronica decides to recruit widows from her husband's team to assist her in carrying out the risky robbery. Alice (Elizabeth Debicki), Linda (Michelle Rodriguez) and Belle (Cynthia Erivo) aren't interest until Veronica makes it clear that they, too, will be murdered. Reluctantly, they're on board. It's do or die.

Corrupt politicians (Colin Farrell) and (Brian Tyree Henry) make matters worse for the four women. Against the backdrop of Chicago's South Side, police shootings, race relations and class warfare play out as the gals get closer to their goal. 

Photo courtesy The Hollywood Reporter

Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen ("12 Years A Slave"), who also co-scripts the screenplay, throws a lot of balls out there for his audience to juggle. At times, new characters are thrown into the mix with, seemingly, no relevance to the main story being told. To keep us from wondering what the heck was that all about, he throws in some unexpected twists which provoke forehead slapping. There's a great deal of throwing going on in this sprawling film.

But not all is lost given the calibre of actors participating in "Widows." Davis and Farrell deliver standout performances. And almost cameo-like appearances by Robert Duvall (A Trumpy, grumpy, over-the-hill dirty politician) and Carrie Coon (a widow with a dark secret) are refreshingly welcome but beg more screen time. 

Mr. McQueen strives to hit every political button in "Widows" but it's overkill. To his credit, we can applaud his vision in proving that strong willed women of different colors can brilliantly pull off a heist film. It's invigorating. And as Viola Davis observes, "He acknowledges it without acknowledging it."  

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