“Widows”: A Heist Film With a Large Detour Thru Character Hell

In Widows the best heist occurs at the beginning of the film and it is fast, smoothly edited, filled with stunning action shots and crashes that flow by seamlessly in one take— and almost every criminal dies. The important one, carried out by the Widows of the first, is brief, choppily edited, has no chase scenes, one crash, some gun play, a few deaths, and is edited as a total mess— and every Widows lives. The first heist is a gem and the second is an afterthought.

The ending is designed to make the audience think of all the deep issues, corruption, the whole damn mess that is society. Instead it leaves everyone slightly disappointed in the payoff the director Steve McQueen spent three-quarters of the movie planning and building up to.

But then McQueen has always been a director that prefers implosions over explosions; the rendering of individual pain and anguish over universal human angst. There are explosions but they are all character driven.

McQueen drills down into the intimate nuts and bolts of things and beings, exploring everything and examining their causes and effects. Widows is a complete expression of grief, anger and rage as has been seen on cinema screens this year.

Viola Davis and the rest of the female cast emote it to their howling essence, allowing McQueen to twist those watching it all to experience fully these Widows trip through hell and the brief explosion of violence that is their revenge, justice, release and cure.

All photos and videos courtesy of 20th Century Fox Studios.

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