Tom’s Rating: 4/10 – Lucy’s Rating: 5/10.

I had seen the trailer for Widows several times and, in all fairness, it looked decent. A modern take that saw the widows of criminals take up their dead husbands' mantles. Not quite ingenious, but a new perspective on the heist drama nonetheless. Unfortunately, the film itself was poorly executed: the storyline was mundane, predictable, and overly long.

Viola Davis plays the widow of a criminal gang’s chief. She is a great actor, but her talent cannot make up for the lazy scripting of Widows. In short, she plays almost exactly the same role as that in How to Get Away with Murder, which is a real shame. I wanted to see something new, but it never came. Her flashbacks to married life with Liam Neeson jarred with the eventual plot twist, but this resolution (without givnig too much away) felt cheap. Collin Farrell, too, an actor I normally enjoy watching, plays such a one-dimensional character (as the entitled, hereditary politician) that I am not sure why he accepted the role in the first place.

I also found the few snippets of on-screen violence in this film a little gratuitous. Not to be prudish, but Widows was not gritty enough in its style to really justify the violent intimidation it showed. When a wheelchair-bound man ends up being repeatedly stabbed in the legs, I just felt uncomfortable. The story was too mainstream, too run-of-the-mill, to really warrant that kind of scene.

The only redeeming feature of the film was its (albeit fleeting) focus on some of the particular baggage that comes with being a female criminal. I liked that the film did not skim over the fact that these women had to find childcare as they planned their heist - it made it feel more real, more sensitive to reality. But even here, it was not enough just to let these issues be what they are. Instead, the babysitter herself later becomes the getaway driver - far too convenient a plot device for my liking.

In all, this film was not that enjoyable, certainly as it stretched to over two hours. It was neither a punchy Hollywood thriller, or a gritty and unpolished gangster film. It just sat awkwardly between these two poles, and made little lasting impact as a result. Definitely not one to remember, by any means.

Thomas Robinson
Thomas Robinson
Assistant Professor in Quantitative Comparative Politics

I am a political scientist studying representation, experimental methods and computational social science.