Four women lose their husbands in a robbery gone spectacularly wrong. They find themselves in danger from the victim of the robbery, and the gang leader’s widow, Veronica, realises that the only way to put things right is to carry out the next job her husband had planned.
I was very excited to see Widows, both because I had fond but vague memories of Lynda LaPlante’s original series from (I think) the 1980s, and because of the amazing ensemble cast. The action has been moved from London to Chicago but the key elements, especially the fact that no-one would suspect these women as robbers, are very much in place.
It’s an impressive and gripping film, beautifully structured and with strong performances from everyone involved. The stand-outs for me were Viola Davis as Veronica, Elizabeth Debicki as Alice and Daniel Kaluuya as Jatemme, but to single these performances out is to do a disservice to everyone else in the film. All of the characters are ideally cast and excellently performed, from the members of Harry’s gang whom we see fleetingly at the beginning, to the politicians who are involved in this crime up to their necks.
I saw one critic (I think it was Mark Kermode) say that the writing was particularly strong in that none of the characters felt the need to explain the plot to each other; the audience is trusted to work things out on their own. I think he is absolutely right; the dialogue is so clear and realistic, as you would expect from Gillian Flynn who adapted this from the original series.
It’s less of a heist film than a character piece, but the final robbery is still exciting and heart stopping, and the film’s conclusion is very satisfying. I thought this was absolutely fabulous. My husband’s verdict? “All the men are shits!” And he isn’t wrong!
Directed by Steve McQueen, Widows is 129 minutes long and rated 15 for strong violence, sex and strong language.