Film review: Widows is an engrossing heist movie not to be missed

PUBLISHED: 14:04 29 November 2018 | UPDATED: 14:16 29 November 2018

Viola Davis stars in Widows Picture: PA WIRE

Viola Davis stars in Widows Picture: PA WIRE

PA Wire/PA Images

British director Steve McQueen returns with a tale of four women who take matters into their own hands after being left in debt by their husbands’ criminal activities.

With his stock high after winning 2014’s best picture Oscar for his film 12 Years a Slave, McQueen made the surprising choice to base his next project on a Lynda La Plante ITV series from the 1980s.

Based on this evidence it is clear the director is more than capable of turning his hand to any genre.

Co-written with Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn, McQueen relocates the action to contemporary Chicago, where amidst a period of social turmoil, four widows are left in debt to a criminal organisation when their respective husbands are killed during a robbery.

McQueen assembles a star-studded cast, which is anchored by a superb central performance from Viola Davis as the group’s leader Veronica.

When she’s threatened by criminal-turned-politician Jamal Manning (Brian Tyree Henry), Veronica turns to the rest of the recent widows for help.

Working from a notebook left by her late husband (Liam Neeson via flashback), the team plan a heist that will not only settle the £2million debt she’s been burdened with, but give all the women enough money to start over.

Casting of the remaining team members is spot on, with Michelle Rodriguez as dress shop owner and now struggling single mother Linda, Cynthia Ervio as streetwise getaway driver Belle and Elizabeth Debicki as Alice – the downtrodden abused wife, searching for independence.

Support comes in the form of Robert Duvall and Colin Farrell as sleazy father and son politicians and Daniel Kaluuya – who is absolutely terrifying as Manning’s ice cold enforcer Jatemme.

A corrupt political race for control of city adds another interesting dimension to an already multi-layered plot and sets this film apart from other run of the mill heist films.

McQueen is a confident and ambitious film maker at the height of his powers.

Not only is he capable of producing intelligent, thought provoking cinema, but on this evidence, able to combine it with explosively entertaining blockbusters.

A contemporary morality tale full of violent twists and betrayal, Widows is a late contender for film of the year.

An engrossing heist movie with a swathe of outstanding performances, not to be missed.

Widows is showing at Stowmarket Regal from December 10.

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