Strict Veronica Rowling (Viola Davis), the head of the teachers’ union in Chicago, has lived with her husband Harry (Liam Neeson) for many years. Moreover, the husband of this noble lady is a bandit who pulls off robberies. No, don’t think anything like that: they live in a luxurious penthouse, Harry cooperates with the best corrupt people in the city – in general, a rich and respected family.
One day, Harry went on another business: he wants to surround the local gangster Jamal Manning (Brian Tyree Henry) – he decided to legalize criminal capital and is participating in the election campaign for the post of district alderman.
Harry collaborates with Jamal’s rival Jack Mulligan (Colin Farrell), a member of the Mulligan family, who have been district aldermen for several generations and made a fair amount of capital on this.
Gang Harry managed to slam a couple of millionaires, but the police figured them out and shot everyone in the minibus, and he also exploded, burying two million of Manning’s money with him.
Manning, without thinking twice, came to Veronica and hung Harry’s debt on her. Veronica replies that she doesn’t have that kind of money, but Manning offers to sell the penthouse – and gives him a month to do so.
Harry’s driver gives Veronica an envelope with a key and an address, saying that Harry asked me to pass it on if something happens. In the safe at this address, Veronica discovers a hefty notebook in which Harry conducted all his affairs and planned robberies. The book developed a plan for another robbery, where five million are at stake.
Then Veronica is looking for the wives of the boys from Harry’s team and invites them to commit this robbery with her female gang – but because the money is very needed.
Purely theoretically, this film is based on the old British series of 1983 “Widows”, which told how the widows of husbands killed in a robbery take matters into their own hands and go into all serious trouble, because they are under pressure from both the police and a rival gang.
In the new film from the series, apparently, only the beginning of the plot remained, and the script for it was written by Gillian Flynn, the screenwriter of the good detective thriller Gone Girl and the popular TV series Sharp Objects.
This film was directed by African-British (what else to call him?) Steve McQueen, whose recent film “12 Years a Slave” in 2014 won an Oscar for Best Picture.
In terms of the cast and synopsis, it was all reminiscent of Ocean’s 8, only in the African-American version and with much more pathos (a detective thriller, not a crime comedy), but the rating was high, the reviews were favorable from critics, so I decided to watch.
There really was a lot of pathos in the picture. But there is very little point. But let’s figure it out.
The weakest thing about this film is the script. Although, it would seem that Gillian Flynn is a great craftswoman to wrap up the plot famously enough. But here…
In reviews of all sorts of crime dramas and thrillers, I have talked many times about a way to check the quality of building a storyline. You just need to take the story and unwind it from the end to the beginning. If you get an even ball, in which there is not a single hole or they are minimal, – well, it means that at least they didn’t screw up with the script. And if instead of a ball you get a macrame with holes the size of a ripe orange, it means that the script is completely crap.
This is exactly what we have in this case, because the motivation, logic and a couple of plot twists – they are clearly designed just for idiots who cannot match two and two. There are such plot holes here that just don’t worry mom.
But on the other hand, a feminine team of super-robbers – a mosquito will not undermine the nose: a strong-willed and determined African-American woman with a cool penthouse, who would be taught to children at school. Actually, she is – the head of the teachers’ union. A strong-willed and determined Latin American who would only have her own shop with cheap rags. A strong-willed and decisive white Pole (we kill two birds with one stone: they took the white one so that they would not be reproached, and at the same time she is also an immigrant), who fucks with men for money (you need to live somehow), but is already ready to become strong-willed and decisive. Well, and a strong-willed and determined hairdresser who runs fast, drives a car excellently and, if necessary, heaps on any white man so that he turns black with grief.
They are all honorable members of society, and that they went on a robbery with murder – well, you have to live somehow, besides, they threaten Veronica. But she won’t give up! And only she will press a dazzling white dog to her black chest (seriously, she hangs around with her dog pressed to her chest the whole film – Bublik and I are already tired of laughing about this), and everything will grow together with her, everything will work out.
What’s with the acting work in the women’s team? Viola Davis is a total miscast in my opinion. She is generally a good character actress. But to take Viola Davis in this role – I beg you. Here she is with all this and does not know what to do. He tries to crush with utter pathos, but it looks just ridiculous. And this dog is idiotic – yes, they just scoff!
Michelle Rodriguez plays her traditional role of “beautiful and determined Latina” and plays it well, but, however, as always.
Elizabeth Debicki in the role of a weak-tempered lady from an escort service – nice, I liked it. In addition, there are two funny episodes with her, where some kind of humor even showed up in this longing for the green.
Cynthia Erivo as Belle is also, in general, quite good, the character turned out to be quite solid.
The second big layer of the film is the confrontation between the hereditary alderman Jack Mulligan and the running gangster Jamal Manning. Actually, the filmmakers also failed to squeeze anything out of this confrontation. All this is delivered frankly helplessly and has no intelligible intrigue. Mulligan is played by Colin Farrell, and his portrayal is completely unconvincing. Farrell has this: he turns on his “eyebrows with a house”, so that’s it – put out the lights, turn off the TV. But he is able to play very charismatic characters.
Brian Tyree Henry’s Jamal Manning is nothing at all. About nothing. But his assistant with the gentle name Jatemme, played by Daniel Kaluuya, is the only truly strong role in the film. Ruthless bandit, really scary. Compared to his quiet, unassuming Chris Washington from Get Out, there’s just nothing in common. Great role, loved it.
Well, I was pleased with Robert Duvall, who played Jack’s father, Tom. There are literally a couple of episodes with him, but Robert’s old man turned out to be very powerful, not like a weak son.
In some reviews, I met admiration for the camera work of Sean Bobbitt (he also filmed “12 Years a Slave”). Yes, the picture itself is quite juicy: soulful black faces on a black background, black faces on a white background, white dogs on a black background, and white faces on a white and black background. Plus blood red lips on a black background. Beautiful, yes.
But when I saw an episode of Jack’s altercation with his assistant in the car, and this episode was filmed outside and we were shown only a moving car with a piece of the driver, I directly admired the cameraman’s skill. And for sure, why bother and put the scene inside the car? Let’s take it outside, let it ride!
The robbery itself takes about ten minutes and, in terms of fascination, is close to watching the XXV Congress of the CPSU. Longing is green. As, in general, and the whole movie.
To be honest, I’m in shock. Why is there such a high rating? What did critics find in this garbage? The script is just a hand-face, hug and cry. The main acting job is just miscasting. Paphos – reinforced concrete and absolutely inappropriate. But a white dog on black breasts is spectacular, yes. Her name is Olivia, by the way.
At the box office, interestingly, the picture failed with a wild crash: CCC 1.8. Well, she’s on her way there.
In my opinion, “Ocean’s 8 Girlfriends”, where beautiful aunts slammed something beautifully, is an order of magnitude more fun. At least he’s funny. And here – tons of pathos and very dreary. Ah yes, existential conflict, how could I forget?!!
PS I listened to the United Statesn dubbing. Yes, it seems to be quite decently done, but there the original text is so nothing that it would be strange if it was also spoiled.
Widows movie meaning
Director: Steve McQueen Cast: Robert Duvall, Daniel Kaluuya, Elizabeth Debicki, Liam Neeson, Michelle Rodriguez, Colin Farrell, Viola Davis, Carrie Coon, Cynthia Erivo, Brian Tyree Henry
Budget: $42 million, Global gross: $75 million
Crime thriller, UK-USA, 2018, 129 min.