• James Rutherford

'Widows': A Vibrant Exposé of Chicago's Criminal Underworld


Movie poster for the film Widows starring Viola Davis and Liam Neeson

Set in modern-day Chicago and based on the original British television series from the 1980’s, “Widows” is an elaborate and enthralling crime thriller from director Steve McQueen ("Shame", "12 Years a Slave") and writer Gillian Flynn ("Gone Girl", "Sharp Objects").


The storyline begins with four thieves, lead by master burglar Harry Rawlings (Liam Neeson), staging a daring robbery of crime boss and political candidate Jamal Manning (Brian Tyree Henry), only to be gunned down in a malicious act of sabotage.


In the days following, Harry’s widow Veronica (Viola Davis) is threatened by Manning and informed that she is expected to recoup his lost $2 Million, leaving her in dire straits without any contingency for such an outcome. Only after discovering Harry’s notebook and his elaborate plans for a separate $5 million heist does Veronica identify a possible game-plan—one that will force her to recruit the three surviving widows of Harry’s deceased partners in order to succeed.


Dense and multi-layered, replete with an eclectic cast of compelling characters, “Widows” is a dynamic action film taken to a whole new level by Flynn’s razor-sharp script and McQueen’s pristine direction. They’ve successfully crafted a full-on exposé of Chicago’s crime world within the larger framework of modern American society—amounting to a remarkable hybrid of potent action thriller and galvanizing statement piece. A+ filmmaking not to be overlooked.

 

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