Rating (2.5 out of 5)
Widows has entertaining moments when the focus is on the heist, but those moments are offset by too many characters and slow pace, making for a Higglety Pigglety film. Widows is a film with a content for a mini-series squeezed into a movie.
Plot: Harry Rawlings (Liam Neeson) and his crew rob Jamal Manning (Brian Tyree Henry). Jamal wants his money back so he can fund his campaign against Jack Mulligan (Colin Farrell). Jamal demands Harry’s widow, Veronica (Viola Davis) get him the money in 4 weeks or die. Harry left his wife with a book containing plans his next heist. Veronica gathers the widows to steal the money to settle the debt and take care of themselves going forward.
What I Didn’t Like: Switching the sections around this post, because there are so many items I didn’t like versus ones I did.
There are too many scenes looking back at the love between Harry and Veronica. Heist films need only provide basic motivation for background. We understood Veronica loved Harry from the first scene where Harry engulfs Veronica with his kissing technique. All subsequent scenes slowed the movie down.
There are way too many characters and sub plots for a movie. There is the relationship between Jack Mulligan and his dad Tom Mulligan (Robert Duvall). The relationship between Alice and her boyfriend/John David (Lukas Haas). The relationship between Jack and Jamal, the relationship Veronica, Harry and their deceased son….there are so many characters and relationships diverting focus away from the women and their relationship with one another. The relationship between the women conducting the caper should have been the focus and their development.
After I walked away, I thought about the heist and the problems with how the heist transpired. The ladies executed the heist, but one widow was shot, a van crashed, 2 dead bodies, burnt cars, etc. The heist wasn’t a slick in and out, which is reasonable considering the widows experience level. All of the issues would have been clues for the police and would have led them to the women. As a heist film, Widows is sloppily written.
I am not a big believer on having multiple bad guys because you don’t like everyone, and since you can’t kill everyone on screen, the movie lacks resolution. For example, Alice’s boyfriend David is constructed as a bad guy. He is such a creep you want to see him punished in some way but the story line is suddenly dropped. The number of bad guys included is meant for a TV show, not a film.
Finally, Veronica is such a bitch, you really don’t feel for her. They only construct her character as being serious and she never seems to care the other widows and a person who really cared only about herself.
What I Liked: I enjoyed the film when the story concentrated on the heist. As an example, when the women had assignments outside of their comfort zone, such as Alice (Elizabeth Debicki) purchasing 3 guns and a van. Those were really enjoyable scenes, unfortunately the heist became only a minor part of the film.
There were some really cool shots. Two immediately come to mind. Jack gets into his car to drive home from a campaign event, and all you see is the front of the car driving down the street while he talks to his assistant. The other shot is at the end of the movie. Alice and Veronica are meeting friends the same cafe, and the camera is focused on Veronica sitting in one both but you see the reflection Alice in the mirror sitting at a separate table.
Conclusion: Widows is a slow jumble and when you leave you will wonder where the 2 hours and 9 minutes went. Then you will realize the movie wasted time on flashbacks and relationship between various bad guys instead of 3 widows coming together for a heist. Don’t be fooled, Widows is not a crime, action or romance movie….Widows is a drama and a rather slow and unfocused drama.