Talk Film Society - Seal of Approval: Widows
The Talk Film Society - Seal of Approval is awarded to those films the staff here deem worthy of your attention.
This week, we highlight the new film from director Steve McQueen, Widows. Based on a British series from the ‘80s, the film stars Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Colin Farrell, Robert Duvall, and Liam Neeson. The story follows the widows of career thieves, banding together to perform their own heist in order to pay off a crime boss/politician whose money was stolen in the inciting botched robbery.
Coming off of his Oscar win for Best Picture for 12 Years a Slave, McQueen making a heist thriller might seem an odd choice. It begs the question, even with that cast and all the talent behind the camera — ranging from Gone Girl’s Gillian Flynn co-writing the script, Hans Zimmer writing the pulse-pounding score, and the talented Sean Bobbitt as director of photography — does the film rise above the typical heist film tropes? We’re here to say a definite ‘yes’.
And, please, do take our word for it; here are some of our writers on Widows:
“Director Steve McQueen knocks it out of the park again with Widows. Its violent story is often brutal but consistently effective, as is the emotional connection to these women. Come for the heist, stay for the incredibly nuanced politics and gender dynamics.” - Callie Smith
“Widows, at first glance, is far removed from Steve McQueen’s previous work (Hunger, Shame, 12 Years a Slave). It’s a heist film, yet it’s densely layered and speaks to past trauma and the limits to which one will go to grapple with that trauma, connecting it to his oeuvre, so far. Add to that, it’s a tightly-wound thriller with standout performances from all involved.” - Marcelo Pico
“Widows is a crackling heist movie, stripped down to reveal angst and trauma. Viola Davis leads a finely-tuned ensemble with standout supporting performances from Elizabeth Debicki, Colin Farrell, and Daniel Kaluuya. Director Steve McQueen executes his and Gillian Flynn’s biting script with such elegant filmmaking, with a roving camera, sharp editing, and an pulsing score.” - Manish Mathur
“Where Michael Mann's Heat focuses on the surprise of watching a clockwork-precise heist executed for an audience's eyes, Widows focuses on the build up to the crime, and how the anxieties of the women who execute their own grand smash and grab come to the fore in that atmosphere. All of the women in the pieced-together crew, but especially Davis and Debicki, get time to show dimension and depth to their characters' personalities and lives that other heist films might not trouble themselves with.” - Sean Beattie
Widows is now in theaters.