Popcorn entertainment at its very best
British film director Steve McQueen is undoubtedly best known for his 2013 hit film 12 Years a Slave. If you have not seen Widows, his follow-up, get on it as soon as you can.
12 Years a Slave was universally acclaimed, earning $187.7 million at the box office, and the first Academy Award for Best Picture directed or produced by a black man.
Despite this success, not many would be able to tell you the name of McQueen’s next project – Widows.
The 2018 release, starring Viola Davis, Colin Farrell and Liam Neeson, is a loud, fast-paced, and star-studded heist thriller with a twist.
Widows breathes new life into the modern heist movie
Widows is based on a screenplay from Gillian Flynn (Sharp Objects, Gone Girl).
It’s based on a British TV series from the 1980s by the same name in which four widows must finish the heist started by their deceased husbands.
Four wives from Chicago attempt to steal $5 million from a prominent local politician to pay back a crime boss from whom $2,000,000 was stolen by the women’s husbands before they were killed in a botched getaway attempt.
The film features a stellar ensemble cast which includes; Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Colin Farrell, Brian Tyree Henry, Daniel Kaluuya, Carrie Coon, and Liam Neeson to name but few.
McQueen’s female-led heist thriller wowed critics at the time
To this day Widows holds a highly impressive critics score of 91% on Rotten Tomatoes.
The general consensus amongst critics is that:
“[Widows] rounds up a stellar ensemble for a heist thriller that mixes popcorn entertainment with a message – and marks another artistic leap for director Steve McQueen.”
Despite this, the average audience score sits at just 61% with many pointing to the runtime of 2 hours and 8 minutes as a problem.
Furthermore it received plenty of nominations when it came to awards season, but won virtually nothing. To us, Eric Kohn’s take on the film is on the nose. He gave the film an A- on IndieWire, proclaiming:
“Widows works as well as it does due to the way McQueen juggles substance with entertainment value to such eager subversive ends. The movie engages with topics as complex as sexism, police brutality, and interracial marriage, but it still delivers on the car chases and gunplay. No superhero movie digs this deep.”
Overall it’s a heist movie with a gripping narrative, flawless neo-noir inspired execution, a brilliant ensemble cast, and should be ranked much higher amongst the best heist movies of the 21st century.
Movie fans in Ireland and the UK can only stream Widows on MUBI (you can try seven days of the streamer for free here). It is also possible to rent or buy on Apple TV, Google Play Movies, Sky Store and Rakuten TV. Those in the UK can also buy or rent through YouTube.
In the USA, one can stream Widows on fuboTV, FXNow, DIRECTV or for free with ads on Freevee.
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