Steve McQueen has for his thriller drama WIDOWS – DEADLY WIDOWS adapted the first season of an 80s television series. This is exactly what is unfortunately noticeable in the film, whose elegant production and strong cast are among the great advantages. We reveal more about this in our review.
The Plot Summary
In contemporary Chicago and a time of turmoil, tensions rise as Veronica (Viola Davis), Alice (Elizabeth Debicki) and Linda (Michelle Rodriguez) take their fate into their own hands. Their husbands, who died in an accident, have left them with a debt: two million dollars that they have to find to pay off this very debt. Otherwise they will fall into the clutches of the Chicago underworld from which there is no escape. Together with the hairdresser Belle (Cynthia Erivo), who proves to be an excellent getaway driver, they forge a plot to create a future according to their own ideas and wishes. This also includes a robbery in which they want to steal a lot of money. But they didn’t take into account the people who don’t want to wait that long and keep ambushing the women…
Movie explanation of the ending
At the age of 13, director Steve McQueen became involved (“12 Years a Slave”) for the first time with the TV series “Widows”. The twelve episodes of the Lynda La Plante-directed format, which aired on ITV in the early 1980s and were divided into two seasons, deal in the first season with the plans of three widows who, after the death of their gangster husbands, plan a robbery to get rid of their debts to pay off the debts left to them by their spouses. The second season is ultimately about the consequences and consequences for her and those around her. “Gone Girl” author Gillian Flynn saw the material in the first six episodes as having the potential to squeeze it into a two-hour film plot. She then handed her script over to McQueen, who now sticks to the original as much as possible; How it works when you suddenly only have 129 minutes instead of 289 and still want to pay just as much attention to the socio-political underpinnings of the heist, which is only dealt with in passing, unlike in the trailer, as in the series. Since McQueen is a very stylistically confident director, this works well to a large extent, but you still notice that the material is actually made to be told much more intensively and in more detail.
Linda (Michelle Rodriguez), Veronica (Viola Davis) and Alice (Elizabeth Debicki) discuss their plans in the sauna.
Such a (female) ensemble as in “Widows” (the USA subtitle is unfortunately misleading) has probably never been seen in mainstream cinema. Because unlike the female constellation from “Ocean’s 8,” which also appeared in 2018, or the all-female comedy troupe in the “Ghostbusters” remake, Viola Davis acts (“Fences”)Elizabeth Debicki (“Codename UNCLE”)Michelle Rodriguez (“Fast & Furious 8”) and Cynthia Erivo (“Bad Times at the El Royale”) This is not a femme fatale power quartet cast together for the greatest possible entertainment factor, but rather an association of fate-stricken widows who only stick together because they have to in order to achieve their goals. The mood among the actresses, all of whom perform excellently, is correspondingly tense. There is no room in “Widows” for little jokes, cool one-liners or encouraging sayings. The general mood of the film is set with the death of Liam Neeson (“The Communter”) given, whose wife, played by Davis, then becomes the focus of the story. You don’t get to see much of the married couple who are quickly torn apart, but not only is the interaction between the two so stunningly lifelike that you don’t even need to feel the chemistry between the two firsthand, but also the naturalness that The way in which the marriage of a white man and a black woman is depicted here is unparalleled.
While the script captures the emotional state of the four women very carefully and in keeping with Steve McQueen’s previous film choices (his stories always deal with the topic of pain on some level), he unfortunately doesn’t penetrate the Chicago underworld as intensively. He can’t do that in the cramped space of a two-hour film, because the many topics he touches on simply require a much more extensive consideration. The connection between the election campaign of the credibly unpleasant by Colin Farrell (“The Killing of a Sacred Deer”) embodied by Jack Mulligan, the machinations of the gangsters led by the unpredictable bill collector Jatemme (“Get Out” star Daniel Kaluuya) and the women’s heist preparations are evident throughout, but more than just the realization that the boundaries between political and criminal machinations blurred here, does not emerge from the events. It’s much more exciting to look at the motives of the women, because they ultimately represent an entire group of people who are condemned to watch in this society and can only make their voices heard through such a sensational action.
Mulligan (Colin Farrell) is campaigning for Chicago, even though he’s just as dirty as his city’s gangsters.
Although the trailer focuses so much on the four women’s spectacular heist that it gives the impression that we are dealing with a tough action thriller, the heist, which only takes place in the last third, and its resolution are almost like an understatement. Others, on the other hand, may even see this as a calculated deception – an adrenaline-charged film about a large-scale theft is simply much easier to market than a character drama with socially critical undertones. From a technical point of view, “Widows” is more likely to fulfill its promise. Cinematographer Sean Bobbitt’s visual language, which varies between edgy and elegant (“Stronger”) suits the decidedly dark film perfectly, as does Hans Zimmer (“Blade Runner 2049”) proves once again that sometimes it only takes a few concise chords to enhance a film setting and captivate the viewer even more. The author also tries to do this in the second half with an unfortunately very contrived twist. Here it would actually have been enough to simply let the story stand on its own and accept shorter lengths, instead of using narrative showmanship in the last few meters that simply doesn’t do justice to the otherwise restrained production.
Conclusion: With his unconventional thriller “Widows” director Steve McQueen takes on a great burden. His film combines a milieu study, a heist movie and a character drama. The original series produced six episodes. You can tell that in the film, which remains superficial here and there and doesn’t manage to reconcile all of its ambitions.
“Widows” can be seen in USA cinemas from December 6th.