LFF 2018 – Widows Review

Director: Steve McQueen
Starring: 
Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Daniel Kaluuya, Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell, Brian Tyree Henry

The Overview
Set in contemporary Chicago, amidst a time of turmoil, four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands’ criminal activities, take fate into their own hands, and conspire to forge a future on their own terms. (Source: IMDb)

The Review
There’s a moment, very early in to Widows that’ll make you exclaim “oh it’s going to be that kind of film”, and with the reassurance that you’re in the safest pair of hands possible with Director Steve McQueen, you can settle in.

Simultaneously managing to be a crowd-pleaser, and a film which will no doubt garner awards attention, Widows really is the film that can do it all. The cast list is the stuff that dreams are made of, with even the smaller parts played by some of the finest actors out there. Viola Davis is front and centre, and fresh off of her incredible (and Oscar winning) performance in Fences, she is pretty much a lock-in for a Best Actress nomination based on this. It would be unfair to just single her out however as Widows is very much an ensemble piece, and one which has no weak links whatsoever.

The aforementioned moment that occurs early into the film comes with a brutal jump cut and a sudden change in sound that will truly take your breath away. The pacing, and indeed the editing of this film, are one of the real strong points, and it would be a safe bet that it will see some recognition in these areas come awards season.

Steve McQueen continues to be a force to be reckoned with and this is perhaps his most accomplished work to date. It’s an action, heist thriller, but it is shot in such a way that this aspect of it almost becomes secondary. Frequently shooting his characters through windows or mirrors, McQueen succeeds in making the film an introspective look at grief, and really this is a character-driven film more so than an action thriller. There are powerful subtleties to his film-making that means the political and race messages at its core are expertly interwoven into the rest of the story.

And then we come to Daniel Kaluuya. It is hard to remember the last time a screen villain had this much presence, to the point where every time he is on the screen, you will find yourself sinking into your seat with that knowing sense of dread that this arrival prompts. He is quite simply mesmerising in this film, and there is a scene in which McQueen’s camera circles around him that is truly astounding.

The Verdict
I saw this movie and you should too. This film is cinema at its finest. Exceptional direction, fantastic performances across the board, and one which astounds, and surprises from the opening moments to the close. Widows is simply unmissable.

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