Regrettably we lost our Editor leaving a wife and two children who now spend long days without a husband and father. They describe these times as the happiest days ever because even more regrettably it’s during those long days that the AnyGoodFilms writers have to put up with him crashing into the office half cut from another session of cheap scotch at The Nag’s Head. Temporarily his wife is one of widows who is having the time of her life until he crashes through their front door having failed to open it first.
Widows on the other hand cross cuts between women and their partners, some blissfully happy like Viola Davies and Liam Neeson, some suppressed (Elizabeth Debicki) but unable to break away from their violent controlling husbands. It cuts back and for between their domestic lives and the immediate aftermath of a robbery that goes tragically wrong and the results is a solitary title card that reads, ‘Widows’
It’s a brilliant opening to Oscar winning director Steve McQueen’s film adapted from the early eighties Lynda LaPlante TV series. But McQueen who co-writes with Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl) has changed the locale relocating the film from the UK to Flynn’s home town Chicago and ramping up various aspects of the characters background from their class roots and affluence , racial issues and it all plays against a back ground of an imminent local election whose lead candidate Jack Mulligan’s (Colin Farrell) campaign is orchestrated by his father (Robert Duvall). It’s his father who has been the winning candidate for decades but an up and coming black community candidate Jamal Manning (Brian Tyree Henry) with a psychotically violent and villainous associate (Daniel Kaluuya) are in danger of ending all that.
Manning’s nipping at the heels of success but his campaign has been hit by the fact that $2m was stolen by Veronica’s husband in the robbery and destroyed in a fatal explosion. So it’s Manning who comes knocking at Veronica’s door holding her responsible for the loss of his money and which he now holds her accountable for insisting that it’s repaid within the month before his gangster son comes for her. Manning’s visit to her funded by crime penthouse flat is one that simmers with impending violence as he walks round it holding her beloved dog.
This unwanted debt which she now finds herself responsible for repaying is information that she passes on to two of the other widows who now, like Veronica, also find themselves without money. Michelle Rodriquez dress shop is repossessed by a lone shark and Alice (Elizabeth Debicki), brutalized by her late husband, finds herself penniless with an over bearing mother who wants her to work as an escort for sugar daddies. So it’s only when Veronica comes across her husband’s big book of bank robberies along with a floor plan that she realises that he was planning a big job that spurs them on out of necessity to carry out the job themselves before the murderous Manning comes after them.
Much like the novels of Gillian Flynn, Widows plays with structure frequently using flashbacks which are crucial to the development of where this is going with everything interacting and building to a satisfying climax. At just over 2 hours this is a tautly constructed thriller taking in a range of issues all relevant to each characters private lives as it is to the plot. Viola Davis, already with an Oscar under her belt for ‘Fences’ heads a uniformly good cast and Colin Farrell continues to get back to taking decent roles in good films as a slippery politician feeling obliged that this is his unwanted destiny and battling as much against his father as he is against the opposing candidate.
A blistering barnstorming film that’s beautifully shot, well directed with a superb ensemble cast, Widows is undoubtedly one of the year’s best films.
Here’s the trailer for Widows…….