Mon | May 20, 2019

'Widows' a film to die for

Published:Monday | November 26, 2018 | 12:00 AMDamian Levy/Gleaner Writer
Academy Award winner Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, and Cynthia Erivo in 'Widows'.

We've all seen our fair share of crime films. They're violent, full of flawed characters, and infinitely captivating. They can also be painfully repetitive. A crime film can be great, but it still falls under the same trappings as all the rest. It always goes the same way - the heroes go to pull off the biggest job of their lives, usually dying in a blaze of glory right before the credits roll. It's a way for the movie to make sense of everything that happened before. Sure, they lived life on their own terms, but in the end, they had to pay for it.

Something that's never been explored is 'what comes after that?' Enter, Widows - a film that shows just what happens to the people those criminals left behind.

Widows starts just as every crime movie ends. You're quickly introduced to a gang in the middle of a heist gone wrong. The movie follows what happens in the wake of their absence. Particularly, through the life of Veronica Rawlings (played by Viola), whose husband, Harry Rawlings (played by Liam Neeson), was the fallen gang's ringleader. Unfortunately, her husband's deeds don't die with him, and when a wronged rival comes looking for what he's owed, she's left having to find a way to pay an impossible debt.

What's brilliant about Widows is how easily it makes you empathise with the characters. Each of the women in the film are undergoing tremendous grief, without any time to process it. The magic of any crime film is to give the audience a reason to root for people who would willingly do something heinous. Not only does Widows accomplish this, but it does it while making it look easy, with engaging dialogue and some of the best performances this year.

If I had anything bad to say about Widows, I'd say it's excellent up until a certain point. After that point, it just becomes very, very good. There's a moment in the third act that takes away from the overall film. It's a shame to see a movie that was riding so high take such a hit, but there's more than enough great material here to warrant your careful attention.

Director Steve McQueen and director of photography Sean Bobbitt once again show their mastery behind the camera delivering stunning shots that are way beyond expectations.

Rating: Big Screen Watch