[Header Image: Viola Davis as Veronica | 20th Century Fox]
“Now the best thing we have going for us, is being who we are […] because no one thinks we have the balls to pull this off.”
Widows primarily follows three women who, after their husbands are killed in an armed robbery gone wrong, have to pull off their own heist in order to pay back a debt and take control of their futures. Now, it would have been so easy for this movie to go so wrong and become just a generic crime/thriller heist movie and really, under the surface that is exactly what this movie is. However, there are a few key things that really help Widows to go beyond and be an incredibly entertaining and surprisingly fresh experience. That’s not to say it’s perfect — it’s not — but those little imperfections are so easy to overlook in the wider context of the full movie.
There was a point where I realised how close the movie was to the end and I was admittedly a little concerned that it wouldn’t wrap up satisfyingly enough but I was proven wrong as the third act was probably the best part of the Widows and really pulled it out of the bag. I was genuinely surprised by just how much better it got and the ability within the writing and the direction to keep things on task and make the most of every moment really helped Widows to avoid the aforementioned possibility of just being another generic crime/thriller heist movie.
Another thing that helped a lot with avoiding that is the cast. It’s a pretty impressive list right off the bat and the talent is undeniable in a lot of cases. The three leading ladies who play the titular widows are Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, and Elizabeth Debicki who all do such a fantastic job at making this movie work. While their characters collectively have a debt they have to pay, they’re all very different and on top of that debt, they have other motives that are more specific to their individual lives. They’re all different from one another and the fact that they don’t know each other prior to the armed robbery makes their interaction even better.
Another notable woman is Cynthia Erivo’s character. I can’t say too much about her without giving away spoilers but we get just as much depth with her as the three widows and she becomes an integral part of the story. Her role in everything as well as how she’s slowly introduced to the audience is incredibly well done and it never feels like she’s suddenly shoehorned in.
I really don’t think I can stress to you enough how amazing these women are in this movie. Their characters are all fully realised and it never feels like one is just a carbon copy of another. There’s things you’ll love about them and things you might not which makes them even better and more enjoyable to watch. They’re just regular women involved in this bizarre thing and watching them make these difficult choices and try to navigate their way through the story is such much fun to watch and how the actors bring them to life only amplifies these characters.
Now, while the cast as a whole is very good, there’s one more person I want to specifically mention and that’s Daniel Kaluuya. He’s given some pretty incredible performances and Widows is definitely one of the best. The way he demands attention in a scene and makes it impossible for you to look away is incredible. His line delivery is always on point and even when there’s nothing for him to say, his body language always conveys so much. Between his acting choices, the direction, and the writing, every choice seems deliberate and well thought out.
Generally, the cast brings such a great shine to Widows and really helps to drive everything home. With writing that manages to keep things on track and add depth and twists in all the right places as well as the way everything tightly formed, this movie has all the right parts to turn a generic crime/thriller heist movie into something much more entertaining. It also helps that none of the action ever seems overused or pointless, it always comes at just the right moment and Widows also relies a lot on intimate forms of violence instead of constantly going for over-the-top sequences. Throughout the movie, the action (and/or violence) is filtered through these slower, more drawn out moments meaning that the story is always moving forward but never feels like it’s in too much of a rush. Something that, as I said earlier, had me concerned that things wouldn’t wrap up satisfyingly enough but again, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
In the end, Widows is a movie that appears very basic on the surface but once you dive deeper, it’s a wonderfully entertaining ride that both in front of and behind the camera, has some fantastic choices that make it a great experience and one that could be easily rewatched again and again.
Rating: ★★★★ /5