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Widows review

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Five years after his Academy Award winning film “12 Years a Slave” was released in theaters, director Steve McQueen has finally delivered his follow-up. Rather than making another small scale dramatic film, McQueen chose the path of making an accessible, entertaining and exciting thriller that is more likely to reach a wider audience.

The story follows a group of women who are left responsible for the $2 million lost by their criminal husbands, who died stealing it. The money belonged to crime boss Jamal Manning, who was planning to use it to finance his campaign for an upcoming election. Receiving threats on their lives by Manning, the women must find a way to pay him back. While some of the plot elements are slightly derivative, “Widows” is filled with enough twists, turns and pure acting talent to seam itself into your memory.

Make no mistake, “Widows” is not a dressed-up, fun heist movie in the vein of the “Ocean’s” franchise. Danger and deceit are present in every frame with how McQueen paints a portrait of the rampant crime and corruption found in the seedy underbelly of Chicago. While there are defined heroes and villains in the story, all the characters have human motivations and have to make questionable decisions.

Shallow is not a word that could be used to describe this film either. Without revealing too much, there is plenty of rich social subtext beneath the surface of the plot that adds a much appreciated layer of depth. The story is set in 2008 just before Barack Obama was elected president. Though in many of our minds, this was a hopeful time in which bigotry and racism were thought to be for the most part behind us, McQueen makes it clear that society had and has a long way to go.

The cast is unquestioningly impeccable. Viola Davis anchors the film with an emotionally complex and powerful performance that stands as the towering achievement in the film. No less excellent are Michelle Rodriguez, Liam Neeson, Daniel Kaluuya, Colin Farrell and Robert Duvall.

My one qualm with the film is that the ending leaves a few too many loose ends with the plot. Some elements are not well explained or are undeveloped, which bothered me, but not enough to taint my view of the film. “Widows” is excellent, and one of the best films I’ve seen all year.

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About the Writer
Carter Aakhus, staff writer

I am a senior, and this is my second (non-consecutive) year of pecking keys for The Eyrie. I am a decent writer who wastes a lot of time watching movies,...

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