I liked the new Steve McQueen directed film, Widows.  I wanted to love it.  Unfortunately, I just could not get to that level.

Widows was fine, but I went in with high expectations and the film was not what I expected it to be.

When her thief husband (Liam Neeson) and his crew are killed in a robbery gone bad, Veronica (Viola Davis) gets stuck between her grief and loss and the people whose money was taken.  Veronica organized the wives of the crew to help her pull another job to get the money needed.

First of all, Viola Davis is the bomb.  She has a moment at the beginning of this movie after her husband is killed that might have guaranteed her another Oscar nomination.  She let loose a cry of anguish, only to pull it back insider her.  Viola Davis was absolutely tremendous in this movie and deserves all the credit.

In fact, the entire cast was very strong.  I really liked Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Colin Farrell, Daniel Kaluuya, Cynthia Erivo, and Brian Tyree Henry.  There were also great cameos from Robert Duvall and Jacki Weaver.  Acting here was top notch.

Fact is that Widows was considerably more of a slow build than I expected or than what this film sold itself as in its promotional material.  It turned out much slower than I thought it was going to be.  That is not necessarily a bad thing, but I got a little bored early as there were so many characters to set up and introduce.

The other problem was there was a twist that I won’t spoil, but I saw coming a mile away.  Anytime that happens, the film takes a hit in my eyes.

The subplot of the political race between Jack Mulligan (Colin Farrell) and Jamal (Brian Tyree Henry) felt forced and out of place here.  I’m still not sure how it really fit into the narrative and seemed too convoluted for what it was worth.  Colin Farrell’s character was all over the place in motivation and was not filled with common sense.

I really liked the tension and the higher stakes than your typical heist movies.  Usually, a heist movie is just a fun time in the robbery, but this was ugly and nasty.  It felt much more realistic than most heist films and I appreciated that fact.  Thing was though that the heist does not appear in the film until the very end of the movie.

I wish the film’s material and script could have brought it as much as Viola Davis did.  She was just awe inspiring with her performance, bringing pain and grief as well as anyone.  The performance elevated the material.

3.5 stars    

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