Saturday, November 24, 2018

WIDOWS (2018)

Rated : R

STARS: Viola Davis, Colin Farrel, Elizabeth Debicki, Michelle Rodriguez, Liam Neeson, Cynthia Erivo, Robert Duvall
DIRECTOR: Steve McQueen
GENRE: Drama

Widows starts off with a bang, as four men fleeing from a cash heist they've pulled off get blown up in an explosive shootout with a swat team, and their wives are left behind holding the bag--trying to pick up the pieces of their lives. But there are too many pieces to this overly long puzzle and it seems like director Steve McQueen is trying to force them all together. It's not a good fit.

The widows, played by Viola Davis, Elizabeth Debicki, and Michelle Rodriguez, are being threatened by a local thug who is also a politician (now that IS a good fit) to come up with millions in ill-gotten loot that was stolen from him, or come to a bad end. The ladies (supposedly)  have no choice but to formulate a big heist plan of their own so they can pay him off and make a tidy profit for themselves in the process. 

There's a subplot about local Chicago politics that is supposed to make a statement about something, which might have made a decent film by itself, instead of being tacked onto a violent, mean-spirited, cynical, and totally unrealistic movie where there are no identifiable good guys that you can root for--suggesting that everyone is corrupt in some way, and that money and power are somehow worth risking your life over. But you go girls--no matter how crazy, misguided, or illegal your actions may be--because we live in the age of female empowerment! 


An impressive ensemble cast cannot pardon this Thanksgiving turkey.

Grade:  D

The only good thing about this 'turkey' is that I got to see it with Tim. (As most of you know, we now live in different states—me in California, Tim in Arizona.) I should have known something was fishy when right before the film started the director, with the same name as Steve McQueen only black, spoke on screen to the audience, saying how this particular movie has meant so much to him, how it had been his pet project for years, etc. (Was he begging me to like it before it even began?)

The opening sequence—fast edits between Liam Neeson and Viola Davis in bed trading steamy kisses, and Liam Neeson driving a getaway car; cut to other shady spouses kissing their wives goodbye and joining him—was enough to blow my mind. And not in a good way. I mumbled my confusion to Tim who was equally befuddled.

The only authentic moments came when one of my all time favorite actors, Robert Duvall, graced the screen with his fiery presence. He played a corrupt politician (what other kind is there?) who wanted his son—ably played by Colin Farrell—to follow in his smarmy footsteps. I had a helluva time trying to figure out what this secondary plot had to do with the first. And by the time I did, I didn't care.

This is the perfect film for people with ADHD. But if, like me, your a tad anally retentive avoid Widows at all costs.

Grade: D -

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