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As a heist movie, Widows takes its time setting up its characters and stakes, and comes out the better for it. There's enough proceduralism to make the crime crystal-clear, but the focus is really on the characters, not just the Widows, but the villains as well, and as a result, it's extremely emotional. It helps with the verisimilitude that Steve McQueen sets this in the world of racially-charged American politics, and pulls no punches on that account. There's a surprising ambivalence there - as there is in the husband-wife relationships - and I mean that in the best possible way. There's a complexity to the situations that asks us to think and feel with more nuance than we're used to in films of this genre. Widows looks great, its awesome cast is well-used, but what strikes me now, the more I think about it, is how it cleverly uses the heist's tropes as a metaphor for grief. The financial surprises, burying your head in work or vice, trying to give someone a legacy, the anxieties of replacing them (as a parent, perhaps), and ultimately, burying ghosts. Thing that at first seemed cliché take on new meaning in the film's specific context.
Personally, I found this film incredibly boring with moments that did not earn the emotion they wanted from the audience. Colin Farrell somehow fails to be attention-grabbing, Robert Duvall felt like someone’s grandpa they roped in, and Liam Neeson not actually being dead had surprisingly little consequence. I appreciate that they tackled the issues of black women living just above the poverty line and how politicians only add to the problem, but that topic deserved a better treatment. 30 minutes ought to have been chopped to tighten up the pacing, because I nearly fell asleep a few times.
The most gripping crime thriller I've seen in ages. For a movie of its length it was truly remarkable that it never got boring, I'm usually such a whinger after 2 hours. Great cast too!
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In 2 official lists
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This movie ranks #78 in Rotten Tomatoes's Top 100 Movies of All Time
This movie ranks #882 in TSPDT's 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films