Combustible Celluloid
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With: Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Colin Farrell, Brian Tyree Henry, Daniel Kaluuya, Jacki Weaver, Carrie Coon, Robert Duvall, Liam Neeson, Garret Dillahunt, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Jon Bernthal, Coburn Goss, Molly Kunz, Lukas Haas, Kevin J. O'Connor, Michael Harney, Matt Walsh, Josiah Sheffie, Adepero Oduye, Ann Mitchell, Chuck Inglish, Sir Michael Rocks
Written by: Gillian Flynn, Steve McQueen, based on a TV series by Lynda La Plante
Directed by: Steve McQueen
MPAA Rating: R for violence, language throughout, and some sexual content/nudity
Running Time: 129
Date: 11/16/2018

Widows (2018)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Shady Ladies

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The idea of the ultra highbrow arthouse award-winner Steve McQueen relaxing a bit and directing a crime-pulp story — co-written by Gillian Flynn no less — is wonderfully appealing. But the result is less satisfying that one might have hoped. McQueen seems unable to lighten up, and his rigorous direction never lets the material come to life; there's little fun to be had. He has assembled an impressive cast, but, if memory serves, not one of them ever cracks even the tiniest smile. So when the widows of the title are suddenly expected to step up and do cool things like analyze blueprints and arrange for getaway vehicles, there's no joy in their new power, or in their embracing of the freedom of a life of crime. They're just as somber as they were when they were married. Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, and Elizabeth Debicki are the widows; their husbands were killed in a heist and now they owe $2 million to a shady politician and his murderous crew, and Cynthia Erivo joins them later. Colin Farrell and Brian Tyree Henry are politicians, Daniel Kaluuya is magnetic and terrifying as a thug, and with Garret Dillahunt, Carrie Coon, Jacki Weaver, Robert Duvall, Liam Neeson, Jon Bernthal, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Lukas Haas, and many more.

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