A lot of heist movies tend to be the same thing recycled over and over. Each time you watch one, you’re not really getting anything new. It’s just more of the same. So it’s refreshing when there is a heist movie that is well-written, has good performances, exceptional cinematography, and goes against stereotypes without drawing attention to that fact at all.
Widows is one of these movies.
When their criminal husbands are all killed in a job gone wrong, the widows of these criminals are set with the task of paying back two million dollars that their husbands stole. Led by Viola Davis’ character, these women are thrust into a world they knew nothing about in the middle of an election in Chicago.
It is Davis’ performance as Veronica that anchors this movie and gives it its purpose. Her husband was the leader of these criminals, which leaves her with the responsibility of putting everything back together. She takes on this new responsibility with unabated strength and gathers the rest of the women she needs for this job.
What makes this movie stand out is the fact that it doesn’t stand out. Three out of the four main female leads are minorities, but it never tries to draw attention to this fact. It doesn’t market itself as an all-female Ghostbusters or Oceans movie. Instead of saying, “This is so subversive,” it just says, “This is how it is,” and doesn’t linger on this idea at all. And the movie is better off for it, because it allows the viewer to just sit back and enjoy the film.
But the women aren’t the only ones who are stealing the show. Daniel Kaluuya, having officially asserted himself into the mainstream with Get Out and Black Panther, delivers what is possibly his best performance yet. He is all bad, and he doesn’t let the audience forget it. His evil and threatening presence is immediately felt each time he is onscreen.
Beyond this, the movie is just well-made in general. It has one of the best shots of the year: a one-take of a car driving from a poor neighborhood in Chicago to a rich one in less than two minutes. All the camera does is slowly pan from left to right until you notice the big change in the surroundings.
At face value, Widows is just another heist movie. But on a deeper level, it is so much more. There are so many layers to it as it brings commentary on social, political, and racial issues. More movies should be made like this.