Sunday, September 9, 2018


It’s a little corny to compare Widows to Ocean’s 8 (can you believe critics actually get paid to do this?). You might as well compare Widows to Sugar & Spice or even Set It Off. We get it - female heist movies. They’re all the same. Although in all fairness, Widows & Set It Off would make a helluva double feature as both movies are partially about women forced in to a life of crime because their backs are against the wall.

To give my friend John Cribbs of The Pink Smoke some credit, Widows should really be compared to something like The Wire as it’s not only about a big score, but it also touches on corrupt politics, racial profiling and issues concerning poverty & crime in impoverished neighborhoods (in Widows it’s Chicago instead of Baltimore).

There are some fair comparison to Heat however. I certainly don’t think Widows is as good as Michael Mann’s crime masterpiece but it does deserve to be mentioned in the same discussion. From the beautiful cinematography & robbery masks to the way they acquire one of the members of their crew (reminiscent to how Deniro picks up Dennis Haysbert as the last-minute driver), Widows is from the school of Mann’s Heat.

Heat / Widows

Heat / Widows

And like Heat - there are a couple of minor plot holes and other various elements that could have been ironed out more. But most folks don’t give Heat that much flack so we shouldn’t do it to Widows (seriously, I don’t understand how Val Kilmer got away so easily at the end of Heat. Can someone please explain that part of the movie to me?). And having a couple of former Michael Mann collaborators in the form of Colin Farrell & Viola Davis makes the Mann connection a little more valid...

Widows is the kind of movie that might end up in my top 10 of the year under the “frustrating but rewarding category”. Besides some of the questionable decisions made by a few of the characters, the movie could have been longer or, like John Cribbs said, a mini-series. The source material is based on a series from the 80’s so I give Steve McQueen credit for compressing the story down to an enjoyable two hour movie.
Daniel Kaluya does an excellent job as the film’s villain and Robert Duvall steals the few scenes he’s in. Of the main characters, Viola Davis shines (Cynthia Erivo does go toe to toe with Davis in any scenes they share).

This one is a little different from Hunger or 12 Years A Slave. While Widows certainly lets its beliefs & politics be known, they aren’t forced down the audiences throat (and Steve McQueen manages to make a few poignant statements about race in America in two quick moments better than certain specific entire films have done so far in 2018). The cinematography in Widows almost acts as a form of social commentary in some parts. But this isn't a "message movie". If you don't put too much in to this and take it as an entertaining heist movie you'll be satisfied. Widows deserves all the hype it’s getting. But it also deserves more than lazy comparisons to Ocean’s 8 or The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (???).


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