by | Nov 17, 2018 | 0 comments

A Sluggish Pace and Abundant Sub-Plots Drag Down a Good Premise and Impressive Cast

The marketing of a film is a crucial aspect of filmmaking that is usually glossed over. The expectations for any upcoming release are all thanks to the way posters and trailers are created. Thus when you’re marketed a dark heist movie and you’re only given five minutes of it disappointment is due to emanate.

Widows is director/writer Steve McQueen’s follow up film to his Best Picture Oscar winner 12 Years a Slave. The story follows a set of women (Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo), three of whom have their husbands murdered in a heist gone wrong. They find the plans of the following heist their loved ones where planning, and under threat of a gang wanting to collect their husbands’ debt, the women decide to pull off the robbery themselves.

The film was adapted from a 1983 British television series of the same name, and the amount of story and subplots is indicative of that. The film’s main problem is that there is too much going on for a single movie. There are too many subplots that bog down the pace of the story, which had already been slow enough given McQueen’s style. The film at points forgets of the heist story it’s trying to tell, becoming obsessed with a political corruption race starring Colin Farrell and Brian Tyree Henry. In fact, we don’t get to see any of the women’s heist set up at all, while the actual act takes less than five minutes. Not even the final act’s twists and revelations do enough to jolt life into the film, by that time the audience has already been marinating sleep.

This frequent jumping between plots also doesn’t allow McQueen to dig below the surface of each of his characters, so that the only sense of attachment the audience has to the stakes of the film is due to the likeability of certain actresses and actors. The cast is truly magnificent and may be one of the few reasons you keep watching and not doze off. The bare bones of the story would seem to be intriguing given the premise and collaborators, but the subsequent arrangement and execution leave one wanting so much more.

McQueen is able to infuse unique cinematic vision that only a skilled director could have done and his co-writer Gillian Flynn helps add a noir-esque spin to his dark tale. That in and of itself is enough to elevate this film above its companions in the genre. However, the crowded plots and sluggish pace detract from a film that will already be disappointing those who saw the film’s marketing campaign. 







Plot Twist

What is your favorite Viola Davis performance? Let me know in the comments section.

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