Widows – TIFF 2018 Review

Can we all just admire how great a director Steve McQueen is? From Shame, to Hunger, all the way to his most popular film 12 Years A Slave, he always manages to detail an honest portrayal of struggle and pain from a specific minority’s point of view. What I feel like is missing from Widows, his most recent endeavor, is his visceral proactive voice. Widows is essentially an incredibly hollywoodized Steve McQueen flick, that has its moments of pure popcorn fun, but neither reaches the emotional heights of his previous work. Widows in some regard, is a disappointment.

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What could have been a potent and fully realized commentary on wage gaps and racial discrimination in Detroit, Widows relied on the all to familiar Hollywood formula that one would expect from the standard Michael Mann inspired crime flick, instead of focusing on the more hard-hitting observations to be told. Albeit it’s couple of impressive sequences, including the opening scene, which was beautifully fleshed out and fully realized, there isn’t much emotional depth here to latch on too. Most of these characters are border line cliche at points. Colin Farrell is a rich privilege white dude who comes from a long line of overly racist political focused ancestors. Robert Duvall plays the rich old politician who adores saying the N-word. Daniel Kaluuya plays the stern ruthless bodyguard/hitman with a death wish upon his actions. Sort of get what I mean?

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Even with this said, the plot is not all that engaging compared with McQueen’s other films. His previous work more relied on the psychological impact and struggle of his characters, rather than the physical. In Widows however, it barely touches the bare bones when dealing with the character’s internal struggle, and uses the occasional plot device and twist to redeem itself of its own lack of development. Don’t get me wrong, the film is impeccably directed and wickedly performed. I just think Gillian Flynn’s screenplay needed a bit more work before it went into production.

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While Widows may be a bit of disappointment, it certainly isn’t a bad film. It’s a film that needed a bit of re-working before going into production. It’s still an admirable effort from McQueen’s part, albeit his questionable decisions when dealing with the characters in the film. Solid flick, and is worth seeing. I mean, let’s all be honest here. A mediocre Steve McQueen movie, is better than most films that one can see at a Cineplex.

Widows Opens Nationwide On November 16

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