After a heist goes wrong, four women are left to deal with the consequences of their husband’s actions whilst struggling to come to terms with the devastating grief and circumstances that follow. A debt is owed to aspiring and ruthless politician Jamal Manning and subsequently the ladies reluctantly team up to form an unlikely alliance and attempt an audacious robbery themselves before their month-long deadline expires.
Set in Chicago, politics provides the backdrop to the story with Colin Farrell’s wealthy Jack Mulligan seeking election to become an alderman facing off against Jamal who is the voice of the neglected, predominantly black community. Greed, corruption, racial segregation and gun control are some of the social issues explored by director Steve McQueen and writer Gillian Flynn and, together, the pair deliver an atmospheric and tense thriller. There are some breath-taking, and loud, action scenes including some clever all in one shots, particularly showcasing the opening theft and resulting car chase.
Featuring one of the most impressive ensemble casts of the year there isn’t a weak performance on the screen. Robert Duvall is still an acting powerhouse, Viola Davis leads from the front and channels her inner Blofeld (complete with white dog rather than white cat) as she stands up to those attempting to intimidate her and Daniel Kaluuya is dangerously deranged as enforcer Jatemme Manning, Jamal’s brother.
Played out to a haunting score by the mighty Hans Zimmer, Widows isn’t your typical heist film. Layered, witty and current it’s a brutally unflinching, impressive, if overlong, thriller. Steve McQueen’s most commercial film, so far, may just be his best.