WIDOWS – A Review by John Strange

WIDOWS – A Review by John Strange
Widows is a crime story that doesn’t follow the standard formula.  Here, a gang of burglars led by Harry Rawlings (Liam Neeson) hit another gang’s money shipment.  The theft goes absolutely, disastrously wrong which results in all members of the gang dying in a hail of police bullets and a fiery explosion.
Rawlings’ widow, Veronica (Viola Davis), is threatened by the head of the offended gang, Jamal Manning (Brian Tyree Henry).  Her husband broke a truce between the two groups and now she must make restitution of the two million dollars taken (and which burned up with the thieves).
Veronica gathers the widows of the rest of the gang and plans a heist using her late husband’s planning book.  The heist should not only give them sufficient funds to pay Manning and his off-the-charts evil henchman little brother, Jatemme (Daniel Kaluuya), but to give each of the ladies a nest egg to help them get on with their lives.
While the ladies are solidifying their plans, Manning is busy running for Alderman against a family that has held the position for a couple of generations and is about to boast a third.  His opponent, Jack Mulligan (Colin Farrell) is “inheriting” the office from his father Tom (Robert Duvall).  The elder Mulligan is retiring for health reasons and is very much a part of the old guard of the Chicago political machine.  Jack is more modern.  Both are slimy.  Sadly for the voters, neither candidate will be good for them (in my opinion).
The widows are not good people but for the purposes of the story, and compared to the rest of the cast, they are the good guys.  Colin Farrell and Brian Tyree Henry bring great energy to their characters but nothing can compare to the slimy feeling you get watching Daniel Kaluuya bring Jatemme to life.  I have seen Daniel play bad guys before but never one this evil.
The only player I was a little disappointed with was Robert Duvall’s Tom Muligan.  I don’t think the writers truly gave Mr. Duvall the proper lines to needed properly portray the elder politician.  Each scene with the father and son felt off.  I never felt the chemistry I would have expected between two such excellent actors.
Widows is a decent crime film with plenty of action and several decent plot twists to make the story watchable.  I liked the ending but the story path to get there was where I felt we were pushed instead of skillfully led.  The best I can give Widows is a B.
Directed by:  Steve McQueen
Cast: Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Colin Farrell, Brian Tyree Henry, Daniel Kaluuya, Garret Dillahunt, Carrie Coon, Jacki Weaver, Jon Bernthal, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo with Robert Duvall, and Liam Neeson
MPAA Rating: R (for violence, language throughout, and some sexual content/nudity)
Selig Rating: B
Runtime: 129 Min.
The Selig Rating Scale:
A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
B – Good movie
C – OK movie
D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn't paid for it.
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